Janelle's Blog

Save Time by Reading a Book

Time Pressures

With the growing pressures of life, time seems to be our most precious commodity. Time slips out of our fingers daily as we try to hurry and get things done. Reading should not be a luxury, but rather a pleasurable island of escape in our busy schedules.

If reading can time-travel you to worlds in which you do not live and short-cut your learning process over multiple fields of interest, then you might say reading saves you time.

Which Way to the Nearest Bookstore?

While my airline flight was laid over in Boston a few weeks ago, I shopped at one of my favorite stores, Levengers, that sells writing supplies. Levengers has every high-quality writer’s aid you can imagine. As I slowly walked the aisles of the store, I picked up a book called The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
by Steve Leveen. At last, a book on how to read a book! What a great idea. Or it could have been titled, A Book on How to Get You to Buy Another Book. I was drawn to it like the moth to the flame.

How Many Ways Are There to Read a Book, Anyway?

My method for reading is to never turn a page without a highlighter in hand. In fact, I can go into near panic if I am on a trip and lose my highlighter. It happened one time on a flight to Los Angeles. I must have dozed off for a few minutes and woke up to resume reading when the unthinkable had happened. My highlighter was gone. I searched under the seat, unzipped every compartment of my two overstuffed bags, woke up my husband, Neal, and desperately choked out, “It’s gone.”

“What’s gone?”

“My highlighter has disappeared. I can’t read without the highlighter. You know I can’t.”

I summoned the flight attendant who thought we were looking for a rare piece of jewelry. A nearby passenger held up the highlighter that had rolled under his seat and all was well with the world.

You may think that is a little eccentric, but I’d like you to know that one day at an airport I saw actor George Hamilton sitting in a remote section by himself. Out of curiosity I had to walk past him. The closer I got, I noticed two glaring things about him. He does have a tan and he was highlighting in his book. Way to go, George!

After reading The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, it was crystal clear that I was not reading like the experts suggested. I thought every word was worthy of my full attention and that it was rude to skip any of them. One of the experts, philosopher Mortimer Adler actually wrote a book called, How to Read a Book, in which he suggested touring the book by starting first with looking at the book’s index, then the bibliography, and the expertise of the author. He suggested reading a couple of introductory and concluding paragraphs from each chapter to have an overview of the book and to understand what the author is trying to convey. His idea was that if you start with the opening sentence and plow all the way through to the end of the book, you risk putting too much energy in the wrong place.

Can New Habits Make You a Better Reader?

It may seem that this method of previewing a book is too time-consuming, but how many times have you bought a book because you liked the title and later found out the book was not what you thought it was? I have even gone so far as to buy a book, then get home to find it already on my bookshelf.

We are learning how to live life, aren’t we? When you faced breast cancer you had a pause in life, an examination of life itself. Life moves on and the depth of living it is up to you. Reading can be such a fulfilling way to draw from life those things that you miss or wish you could have.

Finding the Time to Read

Time slots for reading are like nuggets of gold that you cherish and make way for so that you can live life with more understanding, more joy, more fullness of life. My most enjoyable time to read is before I go to bed every evening. It is so much a habit now that I can’t break it. Really, I don’t want to. It closes out the day with a final word, a thought, an idea. Add some pleasant music, and you have completed the day with the thought that tomorrow will be a better day.

Thought for Today:

“To be able to turn at will, in a book of your own, to those passages which count for you, is to have your wealth at instant command.” – John Livingston Lowes

Live Life,


Reader's Comments

One Response to Save Time by Reading a Book
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