Book sipper or gulper?

On my morning walk to work today I was listening to the most recent Books on the Nightstand podcast, and hosts Ann and Michael discussed the topic of reading in sips or in gulps. Loved the topic.

From their blog:

blog post at Tor.com debates reading books in big gulps or small sips. Jo Walton, the author of the post, says she reads all the time (“…if I’m [at a restaurant] with you, I’ll get my book out for the two minutes while you’re in the bathroom.”), and doesn’t need to read for long stretches to fully enjoy a book.

They discussed the merits of reading in long chunks vs. in little pieces. It got me thinking about my own reading style. The sad reality is that by default – that is, LIFE with a toddler and working full time and owning a house with a yard – I’ve become a book sipper:

  • on the living room couch while Le petit is playing
  • at the table during snacktime (we read our newspapers and ebooks on our laptops, but no computers are allowed during meals, unless we’re watching Ted talks)
  • in the bathroom
  • while travelling by plane or by bus
  • for as long as Le petit naps
  • audiobooks for me while I walk to work
  • at night before sleeping

Sad, because I am MOST satisfied when I get to read in a long uninterrupted chunk, and able to really get into a book, its setting, mood, characters, the sense of place and people – and usually, it takes a little bit of time to get to that place where I am absorbed in the writing and flow and place that the writer have created. For the most part, I rarely can read for longer than 15 minutes at a time these days, the exception being when Le petit goes to sleep at 8pm and I have until 11 or midnight to indulge (if I’m not blogging, catching up on episodes, or cleaning….).

I mentioned this before, but for the past 2 years after Le petit was born, my reading list has consisted of mostly: mass market thrillers and SF/fantasy reads, magazines, articles on the web, and a whole lot of browsing Lucky and Japanese fashion magazines. There’s nothing wrong with this list, but there hasn’t been much time for, for example, tomes like Middlemarch or even smaller books that I know whose sentences and details will need more time and attention to get through.

So, to sum up, I am a gulper by nature who has become a sipper by circumstances.

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