As the owner of a to-be-read list that will keep me busy until 2034 or so, I’m always up for suggestions on how to squeeze in more reading time without impinging on normal life (or my precious alone time).
I’ve had great success with a few strategies to read more, like embracing five-minute intervals, keeping several books going at once, and adding more audiobooks to the mix.
I’ve been listening to more audiobooks this year, and I’ve crossed a dozen or so books off my list that I enjoyed while doing dishes, making dinner, or folding laundry.
I even surprised myself by giving up my peppy music in favor of audiobooks (or podcasts) for my morning run. Listening to the spoken word never sounded appealing to me—until I realized that if I listened to books while running, I could read more books.
Recently, I’ve heard several fellow book-lovers gush about how much “reading” they’re able to get done while they’re grocery shopping.
I was a little surprised. And more than a little jealous.
I hate grocery shopping. (Unless it’s at Trader Joe’s. I’ve made my peace with Trader Joe’s.)
When I’m at the grocery—or more poignantly, Costco—I envy those who have their earbuds in, redeeming the time. I always imagine they’re listening to something amazing.
But I can’t help but wonder what my grandmother would think. I heard her rail about how the Walkman was an assault on civility back in 1988, and I apparently never got over it, because I’m still not comfortable wearing headphones in that kind of public setting.
I’m in my thirties, in the Upper South, in a Top 20 city often described as a “big small town.” All are significant factors.
In a bona fide big city like NYC or LA, I wouldn’t think twice about popping my earbuds in to shop. But if I was in a bona fide small town, I wouldn’t dream of attempting it.
I doubt I’d hesitate to multi-task if I was 17, instead of occupying the strange middle ground between Gen X and Gen Y. I expect most Boomers deem the earbuds impolite, and my grandmother—of the Greatest Generation—would say your earbuds signal your obvious (and obviously hostile) desire to shut out your fellow human beings/grocery shoppers.
I’d love to listen to audiobooks at Costco. But I don’t want to anger/disillusion/alienate my grandmother’s generation, either.
Until I can figure out a way to avoid the grocery store, I’ll be pondering my options.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear what this looks like for you in your life, from your age, and in your specific town.