Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Would You Give Up to Keep Reading?

Kathleen, over at Boarding in My Forties, asks an interesting question today.

"What would you give up to keep reading?"

Like Kathleen, I've been a reader as long as I can remember, always carrying a spare book around for those unexpected moments when I can sneak in a few extra minutes of reading time. I've come to the point that I actually see long lines and traffic jams as little bonus reading opportunities - and I'm willing to bet that's worked wonders on my stress level and blood pressure.

So what would I give up to keep reading? Well, that's a no-brainer for me. I would give up any hobby that intrudes on my daily reading - but that's not as easy as it sounds because I'm already so conscious of time wasting activities that I have very little fat left to cut. For instance, I found a way of compressing even my limited television watching hours by recording almost every single program I watch and then zipping through the commercials. Since every 60 minutes of television programming includes more than 20 minutes of commercials, this really saves a lot of time I can devote to reading.

But I am an avid fan of Houston sports teams - and can't bring myself to record football or baseball games - so I lose a few hours a week to television commercials that way. And, even though I've been a baseball fan almost as long as I've been a reader, if it came down to a choice between giving up reading or giving up my beloved Astros, it would be sorry, boys, but you can play ball without me. That might not impress non-sports fans, but I suspect some of you know how serious a reader that means I am.

What about you guys? What would you give up to keep reading?


  1. I would give up anything except for my family to keep reading. If I could afford it, I wouldn't even work. For me, reading is more essential than eating or breathing.

  2. Sheesh. Now you've terrified me with the choice between reading and baseball. Gulp. I guess I would give up the Cardinals to keep reading. But I hope I never have to do it.

    The rest? I'd give up pretty much everything else in the way of activities to read.

  3. Hi Sam, thanks for stopping by my blog tday. I'd give up chocolate,red wine, and TV for books and reading but only if I had to!

  4. This questions scares me. I don't think giving up work to keep reading would be much of a sacrifice these days. I don't watch much television so giving that up wouldn't be much of a sacrifice. In fact I'm thinking of cancelling Netflix so I can have more reading time at the end of the month.

    I have this feeling that I'd rather keep my hobbies if I had to choose. Actually making something, whether it's art or another building for the model train layout should get priority. And I wouldn't want to give up any of the pets or people in my life either.

    But, like you, I've been reading as long as I can remember. If there comes a time when I can't actually read anymore, I've left instructions for the plug to be pulled.

  5. I use the TiVo to great effect as well. I don't watch anything "live" anymore.

    But I could pare down what I still watch.

  6. I've given up a lot of things in order to read. I'm a fulltime student gaining my Masters degree. I have a fulltime job. I'm married and have a 17 year old son and a little dog. If it wasn't too too difficult I'd give up all of that just to be able to keep reading...if it comes down to it, boy it's going to be hard to decide. ;-)

    Despite a heavy workload in my Masters program (4500 word papers to write weekly) I cannot and have not given up reading. Things I have given up to keep reading:

    1. having a clean house
    2. television
    3. working overtime
    4. family gatherings (especially the long boring ones!)

    This entry also made me want to share something with you. My 89 yr old grandfather reads the newspaper from front to back every single day. Now of course he's reading a smalltown paper, but still! Every word! (even the classifieds and the dog lost ad's...all of it, he knows all the town news!) He then spends the majority of his day's reading books. He can go through about 3 a day sometimes. He watches 1 hour of the news on TV every single day at noon. Then it's back to reading. So his day goes "newspaper, read, news, read read read, sleep".

    He's almost completely deaf in his old age and screams and yells in order to communicate. My grandmother begs him to get a hearing aid. NO GO he says. He does not want to "look" old. (smirk)

    However, a few years ago his eyesight started to go wonky and he immediately visited an eye doctor and scheduled in cataract surgery asap, within a week both eyes were done. When asked why he won't get a hearing aid but he's willing to allow doctors to cut his eyes, he replied with his typical scream:

    "Because damn it I need to see to read and if I can't read I don't care what anyone has to say!"

    My grandfather is my hero.


  7. Pretty serious stuff, Abby. There's a line none of us would cross to keep reading, of course, but I'm not at all surprised that so many of us are willing to give up so much other stuff to squeeze in the reading we love so strongly.

  8. Mary, that's why I chose baseball for my example. I've been a baseball fan just about as long as I've been able to read...remember watching those black and white broadcasts with Dizzy Dean and PeeWee Reese with my dad when I was about six or seven. It would hurt, but if it came down to choosing only one, books would win.

    I love the rivalry between the Astros and the Cards...maybe we'll be able to compete with them again one day.

  9. Kathleen, thanks for the question. That's a great topic in that it makes people understand just how much they love books and how difficult it would be for them to live without them.

  10. Great thoughts, C.B. I like the concept of turning the final page, in the final book, seconds before the plug is pulled. That's what you call a "lifetime reader." :-)

  11. Do you get good cable TV in Korea, Bybee? It was pretty bleak in Algeria even with the limited satellite coverage the government there allowed us.

  12. Thomas, I hear you. Lately, I seem to be drifting in the other direction. I'm watching whole runs of some of the sitcoms I missed watching in their prime, like "The Office" and "3rd Rock." I think I appreciate them more by watching several a week (without the commercials) than I would have by watching one a week when they were new.

  13. Kristy, I think I'm going to give you the prize for most serious reader in this thread. I love the fact that you seem to be so much like your beloved grandfather when it comes to reading (maybe that's because I have a granddaughter who seems to be following me along that same path).

    I absolutely love hearing about your grandfather, so thanks for sharing that with us here.

    And, BTW, your grandfather is my hero, too. :-)