Reading at Work

/ Books /

I recently decided that I’m not getting in enough reading time per day and I’ve been trying to figure out how I can rectify that. Unfortunately, I really have a hard time finding more time at home and I’m pretty much confined to reading in bed, sometime after 11:00. Sometimes I can get in a good hour or so, but if I’m really tired, I might only manage to read a few pages before I pass out.

In the past I’ve tried reading during my lunch break at work, but it has never been all that satisfying. First, I only have a 30 minute lunch break and, second, I can only concentrate on a book so well while I am trying to cram food in my mouth. I would only ever end up reading five or six pages and it just seemed like it was more trouble that it was worth, trying to juggle between the book and a sandwich. However, I think I have found a couple of ways to improve the situation.

#1 – eBooks

I have never been a huge fan of reading on my computer, but for short periods of time, it’s not really an issue. Because the text is on my computer monitor, I don’t need to spare a hand for a book. That means, I can enjoy my lunch without diverting too much attention from the book.

#2 – Shorter Novels or Short Stories

Let’s face it, I’m not really a fast reader and it’s hard to make a ton of progress in 30 minutes. If I’m reading a 500 page novel, reading five pages isn’t really all that encouraging. However, if I’m reading a 200 page novel, all of a sudden, those five pages go a lot further towards completing the book and may actually be enough to propel the story significantly.

Test #1 – Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

My first test was Doctorow’s first novel, which he offers for free download on his web site in a vast multitude of formats. I had heard good things about the novel via the Sword and Laser podcast (which is awesome by the way) and I knew I could get a free copy so I grabbed a PDF and decided to give it a run.

The novel satisfied both of my conditions; I had my PDF copy and it was only 72 pages digitally (208 in paperback). The first test went really well. I was able to make major advances on the story during my short lunch break and check another book of my enormous “to read” list.

I just started my second test, which is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I expect it to go well and I’m excited about squeezing in a bit more productive reading time. FTW.