How to Make Time to Read


How much are you reading these days?

Thanks to an adventurous daughter who volunteered for the Peace Corps, our family gathered this month in a place where Internet is pretty much not available.

Ambae, one of 82 islands that make up the nation of Vanuatu

We hiked, swam, visited, tried kava, attended a kastom (custom, or traditional) wedding, ate fresh, organic, locally grown food …

Island dad Kevin plucks, while our daughter Grace and fellow volunteer Kathleen “scratch” coconuts

… learned about bush cooking and spear fishing, went caving, went to bed early and—there was still lots of free time.

Bianca giving me pointers on how to draw

What did we do with that free time?

I read three novels, three issues of Atlantic magazine cover-to-cover, made a dent in a backlog of articles I’d saved by favorite writers like Tom Engelhardt.

Made me realize how much time is spent flitting aimlessly on the Internet, and how much I miss deep, uninterrupted reading. I vowed to make more time to read.

Back home less than a week, and already backsliding! Caught myself this morning watching a video of Taylor Swift dancing with her beau-of-the-month.

For help, I turned to a post by Jeri Walker of Word Bank Writing and Editing, one of my go-to sources for writing tips.


In January she featured terrific suggestions for fitting more reading into our lives. Hop on over and see what she has to say.

How do you make time to read?


  • Oh boy, I really know this self-inflicted problem well. I recently had an internet outage for twelve whole days and it was just fantastic reading free of distractions and pandering to my neurotic compulsions to respond to non-urgent emails. Screens are so hopelessly addictive, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I want a scan to show what lights up in my brain when I run across “ten steps to—” Then maybe ask to have that part incised? It probably didn’t feel lucky to have the Internet off for twelve days, but really, it was. What did you read?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ian McEwan’s ‘Saturday’, which was quite fantastic, but then I always love McEwan’s writing. You might be interested actually, Julie, as it’s a day in the life of a London neurosurgeon. McEwan spent two years (on and off) with a real London neurosurgeon so as to get a feel for the work and an understanding of the brain. Anyway, I also read some Thomas Merton and a rather dated Irving Goffman work on The Self from a sociological perspective. But it was the McEwan book that reminded me of what art in writing looks like. What bit of my brain would I have incised? Probably the cake and pizza-loving bit. 😉


  • What an amazing adventure! Took my son to the library to sign up for summer reading and suddenly remembered how much time I used to spend reading cookbooks. I came home with four and am making my way through them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is nothing like a cookbook, and yet—I find myself turning more and more to the Internet for recipes. Great idea to check out real books, handled by others who love cooking, too. I hope there are notes in the margins.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Hannah. Well-written, good story. But I’ve been so imbued in the Nazi regime since writing my last one that it was a bit much. Perhaps if I hadn’t just recently finished researching Nazi atrocities in vivid detail it would have been a less stimulating read. That said, it’s an international phenomenon with a vast following, best seller. I recommend it. Have you read it? If so, what’d you think?

        Liked by 2 people

  • A most wonderful post – you created amazing memories that will remind you to live in a perpetual state of gratitude. I know exactly what you mean about reading… We seem to focus or urgent rather than important things. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Sad to say I get more reading done when on road trips than I do at home. Plus summer is tough, I get more reading done in the winter.

    Liked by 2 people

  • It looks like you had a fabulous trip! And with your toes painted, no less. What a wonderful experience. Truly an amazing place, so tranquil and inspiring. So glad you had a chance to spend time with your daughter. And getting acquainted with your books. Lovely! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vanuatu – a peaceful place, by all accounts. I force myself to read a non-electronic book when I get into bed. It’s too easy to waste the time on nothing much in particular otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  • It looks like you had an incredible adventure! The photos are gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous and your advice on reading more has sung to this member of the choir. I am doing my best to read more and I too am sucked right into the vortex of the internet, but I’m trying.
    Kudos to Grace for participating in making this world a better place!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a pretty cool trip. The farther we went into the bush, the smaller my toiletry kit got. Imagine. No one looks in mirrors because no one has them. Makeup? No one wears it. Shoes: flip flops, everyone, everywhere, even to weddings. Moisturizer? With 80% humidity? We are more proud of our daughter, now that we’ve experienced the raw data.

      Here, here to the next generation. It seems to me your daughter fought an heroic fight to get her degree?

      Hope you are all well.


  • Where in the world is Vanuatu? It looks and sounds glorious.

    I cannot remember the last time I actually read a novel cover to cover. When I am in one place for any length of time, which is not often, I usually read 4-5 books at the same time. Well not literally. Its a bit ADD I know. But I do love real books …holding them and turning the books, well its just not the same experience.

    Nice to find your blog.



    • West of Fiji and northwest of Australia. I’d never heard of it before our daughter Grace was assigned there as a volunteer. it’s popular with Australian and New Zealanders on holiday, though many of the 82 islands are not very developed.

      Four or five books at a time sounds pretty ambitious, but I get it. When there’s time, best to just dive in. Favorite book of the year?


      • As of now…. Am reading ” The Medical Medium” fascinating, but certainly not a novel and ” Light on Life” by Iyengar, also not a novel. Haven’t read a novel in ages…..

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga.” Haven’t read it cover-to-cover, but it’s well thumbed. Medical Medium—great title. We could all use one. A medium, I mean.


  • I try to address this by carrying a book around with me so I can read it while waiting in line, at the dentist’s office, waiting for my kid(s) to finish/show up for something, etc.–instead of being tempted to hop on my phone and thumb through Twitter. And every night, without fail, I read myself to sleep using an honest-to-god paper book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This of course is the best solution. The honeymoon with the smart phone has got to end. No more “2048” game-playing in the dentist’s office for me.


    • Kava might be a good topic for a future blog post. Short version: I liked the effects of traditionally prepared kava, but had trouble sleeping afterward.

      Happy dancing. What are you reading?


      • At present On Gold Mountain by Lisa See, a literal Chinese-American (who looks American but has felt very Chinese!), a 100+-yr odyssey of her family from China to CA, starting with her great-great grandfather who first came in 1867. Fascinating history of American immigration. Before that, Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life by Finnegan, a long-time New Yorker writer/journalist. Read him bc he was a Pulitzer and I am constantly seeking to hone my craft. Before that, two novels by See. Before that, another Pulitzer.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I See you like to study one Worthy, in depth. I loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and Shanghai Girls. Thanks for the tips!


        • Ha ha, niiice! I thought Snow Flower was well done. See does a great job in all the bks I’ve gotten to of bringing to stage the helplessness of women mired in the forces of cultural tradition, economics, and politics. Powerful bc it’s based on research fact. As much as the romantic in me appreciated Lily’s husband, I expected a different response when he got her back from the mountains – for the resistance she had put up against his refusal to allow her to go to Snow Flower at that time. Expected some literary tension so I found the smooth reunion not really credible and flat. Stacy Schiff (Pulitzer) blows See out of the water as a writer. Schiff’s diction is incredible. Cleopatra was fascinating (birthed my old post) and I really wanted to read her Witches but it had a queue of 26 readers on the wait list at the library!!


  • I am glad I clicked. I am certain the notification of this post popped in my inbox, but I missed it and didn’t click until this morning. It sounds and reads like an amazing vacation. I don’t read as much as I’d like, too often saving my reading for bedtime when I am exhausted or distracted by what’s on the web instead of what’s in the pages. Thank you for the reminder. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

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