Take the Stairs: The Reading Version

Twice in the past week, people have told me that they haven’t read one book this year.

Quite frankly this astounds me. What are people even doing with their time?

But also, we all know that reading is good for us. Science tells us so. Reading can protect your brain against Alzheimers disease, combat stress levels, make you a more empathetic person and more likely to vote.

Why then doesn’t everyone make more of an effort to read? We know that exercising regularly makes our bodies healthier so we make an effort to take the stairs, to park further away, to walk at lunch time, lift weights while we watch TV – all these little things that hopefully add up to big changes. I know that I make an effort to drink 75oz of water in a work day and it makes me feel physically so much better.

But making reading a priority doesn’t seem to carry the same weight.

Maybe it’s because sitting down and reading a book seems time consuming and not doable when the rest of our crazy lives are factored in. So here I offer you the “take the stairs” version of squeezing reading time in.

This could be you reading.

This could be you reading.

  1. Read things that you like. You don’t have to pretend to like Dickens if he’s not your jam. Reading is a personal thing – you only have to read Dickens when he’s assigned in school. Read comics. Graphic novels are totally legit reading material. If you only like Harlequin romance novels, have at ‘er. Read them all. Reading is reading.
  2. Bring your books/comics/magazines with you. If you have it with you, you will read it when you’re spending your time waiting. And you’d be amazed how much of your day is spent waiting. I’m early for everything (I hate being late but I’m also really bad at estimating how long it takes me to get somewhere. Result: at least 15 minutes early for everything) but it never bothers me because I always have a book with me. Spending 15 minutes reading is much better than spending 15 minutes looking at my phone, annoyed that I’m waiting.
  3. Read how you like. There are people that swear by e-readers and there are the purists that prefer paper and ink. It doesn’t actually matter how you read. Just read. E-reader, paperbacks, napkins, on your phone; just read.
  4. Take more baths. Who doesn’t like taking a bath? So relaxing. What’s better than a relaxing bath? Reading a great story in a relaxing bath.
  5. Join a book club. This may seem like a hardcore reader thing to do but it’s not. Rare are the book clubs that don’t devolve into a friendly group of peeps getting together to talk about all things. A book will be discussed and the pressure not to be the one that didn’t read the book will get you to start and finish at least one book. But there’s usually wine.


See? Not hard.

What are the little things that you do that make sure you get reading?

23 thoughts on “Take the Stairs: The Reading Version

  1. I like your title! Maybe people feel so guilty about not exercising enough, that they can’t even imagine sitting down to read a book, which would seem like the opposite of exercising. I can’t quite believe the no-reading thing either. How can they stand it?

    Taking a bath would be my suggestion. When I’m having trouble focusing (because there are distractions all around me; dirty dishes that need to be done, the computer calling my name, pets that want attention now that the kids are in bed), I take a bath. It works every time! Also, if you have kids that take lessons, read a book in the car while you wait for them, rather than coming home in between to get housework done. Admittedly, your house won’t be as clean, but who cares? 🙂

  2. ” I’m early for everything (I hate being late but I’m also really bad at estimating how long it takes me to get somewhere. Result: at least 15 minutes early for everything) but it never bothers me because I always have a book with me.”

    I thought I was the only person like this!

    Love this post. It’s amazing how many people don’t read (I can’t even imagine this). I agree wholeheartedly with #1. Reading for pleasure should be fun – no reason to saddle yourself with something that doesn’t do it for you!

    • And I thought I was the only one too! Glad to know there’s at least one more out there.

      I think #1 is probably the biggest reading secret: it can be fun. And once you realize it’s fun, there will be no stopping you.

  3. I have to admit, I sometimes am early on purpose, just so I have time to read for a bit. 🙂 It is a bit sad to think that with so many books so readily available, there are still lots of people who would never think to pick one up.

  4. I just can’t even imagine. Cannot fathom not reading, I think the kindle app is changing reading for a lot of people too-being able to just pick up on a phone would be lovely (if you’re not like me who doens’t want to read on a tiny screen)

    I love the bath suggestion!

  5. I love this post! I am trying to think of something else to go with the ‘take the stairs’ analogy. Maybe: Set your own pace. You don’t have to compete with anyone else for reading the most or the fastest.

  6. I think that in today’s visually dependent society people struggle to dedicate their time to books, because it means making a little more effort to focus on sentences and plot lines while in a movie you just stare at a screen which already presents you with an interpretation. I see it in my younger brothers, they both grew up with books. When they were younger my mom always took them to the library. But then it became a chore in school and there they were forced to maybe read things that didn’t appeal to them so they lost interest. It’s sad, but a lot of people are like that. I also find that now that I work full time I come home and I feel like doing nothing because I’m just too exhausted. My bf is the same, he would much rather play on his x-box to relax than pick up a book. Great topic idea!

  7. Love this idea — and hey, with audiobooks, people can read WHILE working out. That’s the only way I can ever make myself get on the treadmill 😛

    • I just downloaded some podcasts. I thought I could listen to them and work, but I can’t. I think that I may have to climb onto a treadmill to listen to them. I might have just discovered the secret to my successfully working out.

  8. Great title and great post! I know a lot of people who don’t read and it always shocks me. I still always think non-readers just need to read a picture book called Miss Brooks Loves Books by Barbara Bottner to realize that they just haven’t found the type of book they like yet, but when they do, they’ll start “taking the stairs” all the time. -Tania

    • Reading very much depends on having found things you like to read. Once you find that “gateway” book, you will want more like it and eventually you will be a habitual reader. I just wish more emphasis was put on reading being good for your health!

  9. Pingback: Struggling to Read More Non-Fiction? I Can Help! | The Paperback Princess

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