How to Read More Books

Book-on-grass

What do you get from a glut of TV
A pain in the neck and an IQ of three
Why don’t you try simply reading a book
Or could you just not bear to look

A good friend asked me recently how I find time to read books. Mind you, I’m not some sort of super reader. I’m good for a couple handfuls of completed books a year (humble brag: last year 15), and more partially read. But after talking about something I was currently reading, she told me she was unable to find time in her schedule to read.

Honestly, I’ve been there. A bunch of times. So I knew the first question to ask: “Do you watch TV?”

Of course the answer was yes. My response: “Stop.”

“Seriously…But how?”

Just do it. Don’t turn on the TV when you sit down for dinner. If you need entertainment, turn on music. Open the Kindle app on your computer. Talk to a friend. I don’t care. But don’t turn on the TV. You’ll never turn it off.

Or if you can’t quit cold turkey, give yourself a watching limit every day. Apologies to Netflix, but bingeing on 30 Rock isn’t going to help you get anything else done, reading or otherwise.

This isn’t to put down television. I enjoy watching TV, which is why I have to make myself stop. It’s the same reason I don’t own a Playstation or the latest Xbox thing – I’d spend way too much time playing them.

But when I watch, I stop creating. I stop showing myself to the world. I stop doing my part to make it more beautiful.

My point is this: If you want to do something, stop doing other things. Especially the things that take up the most time. If it’s actually a priority, do it. And stop doing things that aren’t a priority. For most of us, watching TV probably fits into that category. We don’t mean to do it all the time, but we do it all the time.

So just stop. And pick up a book. You might learn something.

h/t to Roald Dahl/Gene Wilder’s Oompa-Loompas for teaching me (via my television) the value of reading.