Exactly how much do you read?

In the midst of my totally unstressful move yesterday during which everything went exactly as planned and I came nowhere near having a nervous breakdown two to three times, I plopped down on the floor to start unpacking the first of five double stacked bookshelves that have now taken up residence in my new apartment. The man who was painting the ceiling (and I definitely recommend having your ceiling painted AS you move in to a place) looked down at me and said, “ Wow. So…how many hours a week do you read?” As I thought about it, I realized it’s a difficult thing to count up. There’s the reading I do on my commute, at least a little bit of reading in the office every day, between one and five hours after I get home at night, and then a wildly variable number of hours on the weekend. Realizing I was taking a long time to respond (and that the ceiling painter was really just making conversation and didn’t actually care), I settled on 20 to 30 hours. I have no idea if that’s true, but now I really want to know. And because I’m slightly OCD, but only about insanely stupid things, I’m thinking about keeping an eye on the clock when I start and stop reading this week to get a real estimate. So far I’m at about 30 minutes, but hey, it’s early. Does anyone out there want to venture a guess to how much they read and then see how that bears out in action? Or suggest a better way to spend my time than counting reading hours? And if anyone says unpacking, I will punch them.

8 Responses to Exactly how much do you read?

  1. It’s so hard for me to calculate because I don’t know what counts! Right now I don’t have as much time for leisure reading as I usually do, but some of that time has become dedicated to reading news, professional literature, work-related things, etc. It’s a lot of hours overall, and I’d still like to do more.

    Don’t stress about unpacking. If you read a lot, at least your books will get naturally unpacked that way!

  2. Joelle says:

    I think I’d rather read than take the time to keep track. Have fun, though.

  3. Laura Rueckert says:

    I agree it’s hard to set the limits. In addition to leisure reading, when composing communication at the office or working on a critique, part of the time is reading. My best guess is my consolidated reading time is easily almost 30 hours a week.

    If I’m really into a book, my reading hours will peak at something unspeakable. Once engrossed in a novel, I tend to hide out in the kitchen with my Kindle. My family thinks I’m cooking. Slowly.

    I think the interesting aspect isn’t whether you could be doing something better than counting reading hours, but how you’ll feel when you know how many hours you spend on it. Is a high number an accomplishment? Or disappointing because of all the other experiences you could have been having? Or is it just another classification for a percentage of life? Eat. Sleep. Work. Read?

  4. Kellie Lovegrove says:

    I have actually been asked this question on more than one occasion and still don’t have a definite answer. It all depends on how may books I’m reading at the time (which can range from one to five) and how much I am having to read for work. I would guess that I am right there with you at about 30 hours, but it could be more. Especially when I get so involved in a novel that I end up hearing my morning alarm go off and the dogs proceed to try to wake up the empty spot in my bed so they can eat. But I also have off weeks where I just don’t have time to read as much as I would like.

    As far as better things to do with your time, I agree with Ms. Ruechert. I all depends on how you feel about it. The only thing I can think of is spending time with family and friends.

    Best of luck in getting a more accurate count of your reading hours and unpacking.

  5. 42 hours.
    No, I was just trying to be facetious. I don’t know how much I read in a typical week because there is not typical week. If I count only what I read for pleasure and disregard reading stuff online, I’d say that 30 hours a week is about ballpark.

  6. Oh, and speaking of reading, I just finished State of Wonder, a book you suggested for me when you did that book-recommendation thing a while back. Good choice. Still thinking about it.

  7. D. C. DaCosta says:

    I’d rather write than read.

  8. Anu Kalgudi says:

    I moved recently too and didn’t have a nervous breakdown either. It’s definitely not annoying at all to be stuck between what used to be and what will be or to find your favorite pair of shoes broken.

    To answer the question, my rough calculation is a modest 10 hours. The rest of the time it’s just writing…and rewriting and obsessing over grammar. And did I mention rewriting?

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