It’s memorial day weekend. The unofficial start of the lazy days of summer. Except for most of us, those “lazy days” get busier than ever.
My oldest is finishing up Kindergarten.
My sister is getting married in Pennsylvania.
Weekend trips to New Hampshire.
Week long vacations in Maine.
An extra large vegetable garden needs tending.
Nine chickens, two children and a husband all expect to be fed every damn day.
These are all good things but it somehow means that downtime goes out the window. And with it, my reading life.
I’ve gotten pretty good at creatively fitting it in where I can and last summer I managed an average of 8 books a month. Not my best, but respectable all the same. Here are a few tips to find the time, even in your busiest seasons.
1. Audio. Audiobooks account for about 40% of the books I read. Sometimes a little more (summer) sometimes a little less (January) but it’s definitely a significant chunk. Most (if not all) libraries have a digital catalog that allows you to access titles straight from your smartphone. I am able to listen to my book while weeding the garden, doing the dishes, and driving my kids around and it has made a huge difference for me.
Note: be careful what you’re listening to with your kids in the car. Especially if you have kids that repeat everything they hear. I can tell you from experience that it can make for some… interesting conversations.
2. You may not like this one…turn off the TV. Around this time last year we instituted a “no TV during the week” policy and it has made such a difference. Not just in my reading life. The kids know not to ask on schools nights, eliminating the “can I watch somethinggggggg” whine that was the norm. My husband and I are both more productive during the evening and enjoy spending time together that isn’t just sitting next to each other on the couch. Plus, ya know, reading.
3. Have a dedicated reading space that you love. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Mine is an old recliner in the corner of the shared playroom/office. It has good lighting, a place for a coffee mug, it’s comfortable, and it’s near a window (fresh air is my favorite thing and I like to have an open window near me whenever possible). It doesn’t have to be the only place you read (I read outside when the weather is good), but you should try to make it the only thing you do there.
As an aside, it will help your reading life immensely if you truly read for pleasure and not pressure. Things like Goodreads challenges, long library hold lists, and receiving advanced copies of books are all things that have caused me to feel pressured into reading and I just end up resenting it. It’s much easier and more fun to read whatever YOU feel like reading. You can always check out that library book again. The Goodreads police isn’t going to scold you for not meeting you 100 books a year goal. Just go where your reading heart takes you. That’s a thing right?
I’ve been putting together a short list of books that I’m excited to get my hands on this summer. Leaving plenty of room for my reading heart to lead me, but these are one’s I’m really excited about.
- Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
- Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood
- Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
- With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
It’s a pretty diverse grouping which is exactly what I like. Jumping from genre to genre is one of the ways I combat reading slumps. There are so many more that I’m excited about but these are the few that I know I’ll prioritize.
What are you looking forward to reading these”lazy” days of summer? Drop a comment below!