Pleasure Reading vs. Academic Reading: A Personal Struggle

The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction (Academic) or Seafire (Pleasure). Decisions, decisions, decisions…

The decision between academic reading and pleasure reading, for me, comes down to time management.

I have made it to my final semester in my undergraduate studies. Yay!! However, finding time to read for pleasure has been a struggle. I’m a full-time student, a part-time business office employee for a small community college, and a single (in every sense of the word) mother. Managing a household, a small child, work, and school leaves no time for pleasure reading.

Yet, I still manage to work it in. With all I have to do, a mental break comes in the form of books. To be SuperMom, I have to take care of me first, then everything else.

My love for books can sometimes be overshadowed by my “to-do” list. As a “responsible” adult/student, I have realized that in order for me to achieve my “Belle-like” library I have to have money. How do I get money? I get a job. How do I get a job that is sufficient enough to support my reading addiction? I get a college degree.

Well, what does that have to do with time management? Letting you into my life and giving a brief description of what the majority of my time goes to will help you understand how I find time to pleasure read.

School is the biggest consumer of my time. As a full-time English student, I am constantly reading and writing for academic purposes. Works from Socrates, Irving, Poe, Shelley, and the plethora of textbooks that occupy my shelves are far from what I consider pleasure reading. Now, do not get me wrong, I have taken a lot of interesting classes that have introduced me to genres I had never considered reading before.

Still, I am stuck in my ways and I know what I like. So now to the time management. Making a timeline might seem pretentious and boring, but it has been a great tool to utilize. I found that if I plan out my entire day, I end up with free time. WHAT?! I know right shocker! Granted this free time is not in a large 4 hour block, it is still free time.

When I complete my daily schedule, I find that when I section my academic reading into 3-hour blocks I get into a rhythm and read faster than if I do it in short sections. Now, this is subjective and depends on the amount of reading I have, but on average 3 to 3 1/2 hours of focused reading and note-taking a day leaves me with a good hour/ hour and a half of pleasure reading time.

I will adjust as needed, but the logistics of the system I have made for myself stays the same. I know my priorities, and I work around them.

I realized when I became a mother the time I allowed for reading would shorten drastically, adding work and school to that made it almost nonexistent. It took some planning and deep reflection to find a method that worked best for me.

Audiobooks have become great tools as well. I do not normally listen to audiobooks for my pleasure reading, but I do utilize them more often for my academic reading. Even if I can not devote all of my attention to the audiobook, I listen while I am at work, then go back and reread. It makes the process a lot faster and easier. It also helps me to retain the information.

What works for me might not work for you and vice versa, but I hope you are able to take into consideration my methods and find ways to keep reading. If you love books and reading as much as I do, then I have faith you will always make sure to find time to do what you love.

Whether that be reading, painting, woodwork, or whatever. Life is too short. (I know cliché, but its true!) Our time is precious and I would rather spend it doing what I love.

How do you find time in your busy days to pleasure read? Let me know below. I love to hear from y’all.

As always,

Keep Reading Together.

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