My nightstand has a stack of seven books that I’ve been meaning to get to. The table next to my favorite reading chair has two more. The bookshelves have dozens more. And the Kindle app on my iPad has several more. The cue of books to read is long, and time is short.
Making time for reading has become a bigger priority for me. That starts with weaning myself off of the damn iPhone; the ultimate time sucking device. And I’m doing the same with television and browsing on the computer. Time is all we have, and way too much of it has been consumed by electronic media. Being present in the world is a great start to finding more time.
Reading page-turning fiction is one thing. I can blow through a spy novel or mystery in no time at all. The same can be said of masterful non-fiction page-turners like The Boys in the Boat or Unbroken. Heavier reading like Ulysses or Cultural Amnesia are a different story. And powerlifting reads like Antifragile are harder still. I find that I start a lot of books and set them aside when they stop inspiring me to press on. Frankly not every book you start should be finished anyway.
Perhaps speed-reading will solve the book stack for me. Or more audio books to “read” as I drive around the northeast. Moving to a cabin in the woods with all of my unread books for a sabbatical is out of the question for the time being. There’s too many things I’d be trading off. Best to use my time more wisely in day-to-day, moment-to-moment activities. We all have the same amount of time. The question is how we use it. With 2019 around the corner, I’m thinking more about exercise and disciplined work and home improvement and travel… and reducing the stack of unread books in my life.