This past week I decided to try something different. I decided to spend all of my free time reading and doing nothing else. I didn’t think I had a lot of free time, since I work full-time Monday to Friday and have quite a long commute. Here is my experience doing nothing but reading for 7 days… for science:thi
Sunday: First day! Keeping in the spirit of a Lazy Sunday, I woke up, made breakfast, and settled in at the table with my almost-read copy of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I left the dishes in the sink (sorry mom), grabbed my giant fleece throw, and camped out on the couch. When I finished The Rosie Project, I showered, got ready for the day, and picked up North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person. I decided to really change things up and sit in my favourite reading chair (obviously a recliner). This is a very intense emotional book, so when I felt I needed to take a break, I ran some errands and did some chores. I finished North of Normal and called it a night (though I stayed up for hours thinking about it).
Monday: Back to work. As usual, I read during my ride on the subway. Today I started Nearly Normal, the sequel to Cea Sunrise Person’s first novel. This is a very hard book to read in a public area, because it’s full of sadness and heartache, and I have trouble keeping a pokerface. I continued the book on my lunch break (pizza), and I was so into it that I was a bit late coming back. On the subway after work, I picked up where I left off in Nearly Normal and stopped with about 100 pages left. After making dinner, lunch for Tuesday, and getting ready for bed, I kept reading well past my bedtime.
Tuesday: I finished Nearly Normal on the subway which was bittersweet. The “free time” I had until I got to work gave me a minute to process what I had read, but I found myself very distracted thinking about the book and I almost missed my stop. On my lunch break, I started The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman. Unfortunately I had to take a short lunch, so I didn’t read past the first chapter. My commute home gave me lots of time to delve into my new book, but it hardly seemed long at all. When I got home, I was very tempted to watch Netflix in my pajamas, but I reluctantly stuck to my mission: read, read, and read some more.
Wednesday: My halfway point! The Maximum Security Book Club is a relatively short book, which I again finished on the subway. Thankfully I had learned my lesson the day before, so I had an extra book with me (and a bulging purse from carrying it all). I went right into The Lost Girls by Heather Young, and it was very hard to put it down and start working. I couldn’t wait for my lunch so I could get back to it, and I didn’t move from my chair for a full hour. When it was over, I sadly put my book away and got back to work. I had errands to run on my way home, so I didn’t get a whole lot of reading done. By the time I had eaten dinner and gotten ready for Thursday, I could only justify 15 minutes of reading before going to sleep waaay too late at 11:30.
Thursday: Very long commute. The subway was held one stop away from mine (naturally), so I had an extra 25 minutes to keep reading The Lost Girls. I made it to work with 2 minutes to spare and tried not to think about what the heck happened to Emily all those years ago. My commute home was much nicer and I continued reading after I got home, stopping only to stir my pasta and add some spices. I finished eating with 80 pages to go and decided to have a relaxing bath… and brought my book. The water eventually turned cold and I had to get out – but I only had 5 pages left! I quickly put pajamas on and dried my hair, then settled into bed to finish reading.
Friday: TGIF. I finished The Lost Girls the night before and started Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright on my way to work. It was nice out so I decided to get off the subway 2 stops early and walk the rest of the way. Reading and walking usually comes naturally to me, but downtown at rush hour, it was not so easy (and definitely not very safe). I cursed myself for wasting my reading time and buckled down to work. I ripped through the book on my lunch, and by the time I was on the subway again I could only think about going home for a nice nap. When I got home, I psyched myself up for reading instead (“I made a commitment and I’m sticking to it!”). After getting ready for an early bedtime (9:30 on a Friday?!), I read until I fell asleep.
Saturday: #WeMadeIt!!! I slept in and read Nocturnal Animals while I ate my cereal. I had lots to do – errands to run, laundry to do, meal prep for the week – but I slipped in a few pages wherever I could. By 7:00 I was totally wiped out from running around all day, so I took a 20-minute power nap. When I woke up, I cuddled up with a hot chocolate and some reading socks and finished Nocturnal Animals just after midnight. And then I realized: I had done it!
Spending an entire week reading sounds like a Savvy Reader’s dream, but it was actually a lot of work! No TV, no social media, no hanging out with friends. Who am I kidding? I would and I will definitely do this again. I didn’t realize how much “free” time I truly had, and how much of it I was wasting scrolling through Twitter and watching reruns of shows I’d seen a million times. 5 books in one week is a personal best for me, and I couldn’t be happier to have done this experiment. While I won’t be banishing social media and Netflix forever, it was certainly nice to unplug and detach for a while. I felt much more relaxed by the end of the week, and I think it was because I felt I had done something useful with my time.
Have you ever filled all of your free time with words? Want to? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader.
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