How much time do you spend on reading books _for pleasure_?
November 23, 2005 9:51 AM   Subscribe

How much time do you spend on reading books _for pleasure_?

I've developed a big list of books I'd like to read in the next year or so, and as I sort out what my schedule will be like and how much reading time I will have (PS: I'm not as anal as that makes me sound!), it made me wonder how others prioritize their reading. So, how much time do you spend reading per day? ...or per week/month if you don't necessarily do it daily.
posted by apple scruff to Society & Culture (54 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Never enough.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:52 AM on November 23, 2005

In a month, probably about 10 hours.
posted by tristeza at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2005

About 1-2 hours per day, assuming my commute allows for it. A lot of people who use public transit in my town seem to regard looking downward into an open book as the non-verbal eqivalent of shouting "Start a conversation with me!", so most days when I wish I were reading I'm actually trapped in some one-sided discourse with a random commuter. I try to read at home, but the offerings of television are so ripe and delicious this season!
posted by chudmonkey at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2005

I typically read at least an hour or two every night before I go to bed. When I'm not in school I have been known to read double that.
posted by Kimberly at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2005

At least an hour. Especially when I get busy, I reserve time on the cardio equipment at the gym as "free-reading time" because sometimes it's all I get. Supplemented with time commuting, waiting in line, or over lunch/breakfast, and right before sleeping. When I have to travel I read a lot more, because reading is about the best thing to do in an airplane, airport, or train. Buses not so much.
posted by whatzit at 10:00 AM on November 23, 2005

It's cyclical: currently 45 minutes to 2 hours a day. Some weeks almost none (watching a lot of movies, get a new PC game and play it obsessively, etc.); some weeks more like 2-3 hours a day (though that's become a bit rarer in the last few years). Call it an average of an hour a day, which falls squarely under the heading of "never enough" for me too.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2005

1 to 2 hours every day. I've read 8-10 hours straight before. Usually when I've been sick.
posted by lyam at 10:02 AM on November 23, 2005

All reading I do is for pleasure in a sense. When I was at St. John's College, where the average reading load is about 150 pages of difficult reading a night, I still found time to read popular novels. I just read a lot.

Left completely alone with no schedule, I do tend to go in bursts of 14 hours a day which for me is around a book a day, and I'll do that for about a week or so. This explains why I like large books or series. They last longer. Anyway, after a binge, I'll usually do something else for a week or so.

I know a good number of people who read more than I do, but within my demographic—which is probably pretty close to the MeFi demographic—I'm somewhat above average but not an outlier and extreme. And so if you do the calculation about total number of books read in lifetime so far, it's smaller than you—well, I—might expect. Low thousands is all.

I cannot comprehend that #1 Amazon reviewer, Harriet somethingorother. She claims to read five or more books a day, I think. I can't really understand that.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2005

I spend about two hours a day reading, but I'd like to fit in more. My unread books have spilled out of their designated shelf and are beginning to pile up.
posted by frykitty at 10:06 AM on November 23, 2005

I read about half an hour before I go to bed- more if I'm not tired, less if I am.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:08 AM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

I tend to read every night before I go to sleep, and the amount of time varies according to how tired I am/how caught up I am in the book. I have been known to stay up till 3 or 4am reading a novel that I just can't put down, but with things that grab me less I tend to just read a chapter or two each night.
posted by Lotto at 10:08 AM on November 23, 2005

Less than I'd like since moving to a more rural place. When I lived in DC, I read a novel a month just by reading on the Metro. Now that the colder weather is coming I expect to get back into the habit. Not having TV helps me too :)
posted by terrapin at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2005

Typically 1-2 hours, sometimes more, especially if it's a quiet weekend. I got rid of the telly because it was wasting too much time and reading pleasantly fills a chunk of the time that freed up (with more satisfaction).
YMMV but I'd be a little careful about sticking too tightly to a fixed book list, you can get just as much booky goodness by being flexible and going with whatever takes your fancy without boring yourself by forcing down something you're not in the mood for. Don't let getting through stuff become a chore! Sometimes I find myself in the mood for some right old crap and find it's best to go for that, my appetite for good stuff returns eventually.
posted by biffa at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2005

I read for at least an hour or two a day, frequently a lot more than that.
posted by box at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2005

A minimum of an hour a day; when it's that minimum, it'll be before bed. I find that it also really helps give more restful sleep, as a wind-down time from looking at glowy screens, be they television or computer. So it's win-win!
posted by Drastic at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2005

1-2 hours, sometimes much more. I read before going to bed every day. By the way, I simply can't read for pleasure when I have books scheduled. I just don't read the books - I'm never in the mood for them when I'm "supposed" to read them. I also find literature-type books almost impossible to read for pleasure on a regular basis, because they are too mentally taxing and involving (I spend enough of my time doing mentally taxing and involving things). This even holds for things that I really like. Like biffa said (on preview), they become a chore.
posted by advil at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2005

Daily, not much, but I try to go on a binge every few weeks where I read for 12-16 hours straight.
posted by cmonkey at 10:24 AM on November 23, 2005

Thanks to the Internet - a lot less than I used to. I find myself mindlessly clicking around and then (three hours later), realizing I could have made a lot of progress on that novel on the bed stand. I actually think about this a lot and am plotting a more balanced analog-digital lifestyle.

posted by Independent Scholarship at 10:25 AM on November 23, 2005

About 2 hours per day. 1.5 hours on the commute and another half hour before bed. It's never enough.
posted by gaspode at 10:27 AM on November 23, 2005

2-3 Long Island Iced Teas worth of reading at the saloon down the street, 5 days a week...Thanks to Tivo, I never read at home anymore =\
posted by nomisxid at 10:39 AM on November 23, 2005

posted by rxrfrx at 10:39 AM on November 23, 2005

1-2hours a weekday; I also listen to audio books on my commute.2-4 hours a day on the weekend/days off. Then again it all depends on the book, how excitng it is or how dense it is. I feel pretty lost without a book!
posted by TheLibrarian at 10:43 AM on November 23, 2005

About an hour a day on weekdays (before bed), about 3 hours a day on weekends.
posted by base_16 at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2005

Normal day, 20 mins at low end to more than an hour if I'm lucky. When SWMBO is away, hours.

I've also begun listening to audiobooks while running, which tacks on an additional 20-40 mins. every few days. Is that reading, though?
posted by everichon at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2005

I read a novel probably 1-2 hours a day before I go to bed; my husband reads much more. But then most of my online reading is also for pleasure.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2005

Probably 4-5 hours a day. If I really get into a book, I'll read much more than that -- pretty much until I'm finished with it.
posted by sugarfish at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2005

While I'm at home, I probably average four to five hours per week. When I'm travelling, it's usually closer to ten hours per week, plus I generally read in the airport and on the plane.

If you count audiobooks, that's another three or four hours/week.
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:51 AM on November 23, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses, everyone! As for my book list, I don't consider it as much of a list as merely a reservoir of great potential reads I can choose from. I just add books I find interesting to my Reader2 profile, and once I finish one book, I browse through and find something that looks good and pick it up from the library. Definitely better than my old system of scribbling book titles on a piece of paper.
posted by apple scruff at 10:53 AM on November 23, 2005

About an hour a day, more on weekends, of course. I think that in terms of planning reading time, before bed is not a good time to choose as my alertness is compromised and I end up feeling too tired to read more even if I want to.
posted by OmieWise at 10:55 AM on November 23, 2005

1 - 2 hours a day at least: every night for about an hour before bed, probably another hour somewhere in there, and then sometimes in spurts of all day, 6 - 10 hours or more, especially when I'm sick, or, yes, hungover. And if I'm traveling, then the whole time, but I never travel anymore.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2005

Most days I can get home from work, do my unwinding rituals, watch a little TV, and then read for an hour or two, and he'll be doing his own thing. Sometimes, though, my boyfriend willl really want to hang out. Other times I'll feel compelled to bake something or engage in a strange craft project or something. On those nights I don't read at all.

I'd say I average about 5-10 hours a week of fun book reading.

In the mornings, I read two daily newspapers, a weekly magazine, two monthly magazines, and two or three every-other-month magazines. Usually I have between one and three hours of reading time per day for these pursuits -- probably 15 hours per week.

And then there's the web sites I read. Probably another 10 to 15 hours per week.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2005

It really varies for me. On average, it would probably be 1 hour a night, but it takes the form of spells where I will read for 5 hours or more in a day to times when I won't pick up a book for months. I do tons of reading on the internet, mostly news, blogs and articles, but I go through periods where I would consume 4 books a week.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2005

Apple scruff, you might want to ask yourself how you read, even with pleasure reading. How you think about reading and how you approach the books you read will make a difference in terms of how much you read as part of your time set aside for entertainment as opposed to learning, for example.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:04 AM on November 23, 2005

I once tracked my reading for a couple of years. I averaged exactly one book per week. I'm sure this is still my pace, but now I've added an extra book via audio, so that I'm essentially getting two books per week. Also, I read a couple graphic novels/comic compilations each week. And lots of magazines and newspapers. And web sites.
posted by jdroth at 11:31 AM on November 23, 2005

Three to four hours a day M-F, anywhere from one to 10 S-S, depending on what's going on. And probably about two to three on the web during the week, but that's a different sort of reading for me.

What Mr. Bligh said is important. I read at least two books at once, generally something heavy or difficult and something light, since learning new things and being challenged by my reading is very important to me, and because reading is also a way I relax my mind and distract myself. I've learned that neglecting either will make me unhappy with my reading (which doesn't necessarily mean I have to read two books at once, since the best will meet all of my needs, but in practice that's how it generally works out).

Make sure you're getting the correct quality in addition to the correct quantity.
posted by fidelity at 11:41 AM on November 23, 2005

I'm a grad student in literature, so my job is to read--I'd say I read 6-10 hours a day, depending. I'm not sure if it's 'for work' or 'for fun'--really it's both!

Anyway, if you want more time to read, I think the solution is having a reading spot: a coffee shop, a part of your house, a place you can stop off and chill out without the internet etc. That's what's helped me get more reading done.
posted by josh at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2005

Since I no longer live in a city where I could commute via public transportation (which allowed me to read for at least an hour or more each day), I never have enough time to read. I set aside at least 20-30 mins. a night before bed (less only if I'm totally exhausted and literally can't keep my eyes open), and usually get in a few more hours on the weekends.
posted by scody at 11:57 AM on November 23, 2005

If the book I am reading is good, then an hour or so each night. But it can vary between nothing at all and three or four hours if I just can't put the book down.

I now read novels on my Palm Pilot (actually a Sony Clie - the thumbwheel and extra tall screen makes a great ebook viewer) and am churning through books pretty fast.
posted by schwa at 12:37 PM on November 23, 2005

how much reading time I will have

prioritize their reading

Reading comes first. I make time for the other stuff. Most people, if you call them on the phone they say, "Oh, I'm not busy--I was just reading." Me, I say, "I'm busy--I was reading."
posted by scratch at 12:45 PM on November 23, 2005

1-2 hours daily on my weekday subway commute. Ah, the pleasures of public transportation. I used to read newspapers and magazines during this time, but I've given that up for fiction and nonfiction. I'm on book 44 for the year right now, The Secret Life of Plants.

I don't read much in the evenings or weekends. Tend to favor shared entertainment like DVDs.
posted by timnyc at 1:13 PM on November 23, 2005

An hour or so every day, usually at least over lunch. If I had the time, I'd read 2 or 3 hours per day.

I simply cannot have a meal by myself without something to read.
posted by cptnrandy at 1:13 PM on November 23, 2005

I used to read at least an hour before bed and for hours on weekend afternoons. Then I discovered Metafilter and have barely picked up a book since. Or watched TV.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:57 PM on November 23, 2005

at least one hour a day.
posted by Substrata at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2005

The people who are posting are (pretty much by definition) readers. Internet, books, whatever.

Only about 55% of Americans will read even one book this year...
posted by jellicle at 2:50 PM on November 23, 2005

jellicle, where'd you get that stat from? I've seen similar numbers elsewhere, but never remember to note the source.
posted by everichon at 3:26 PM on November 23, 2005

30 - 90 hours a month. In bed.
posted by The Monkey at 5:44 PM on November 23, 2005

1-3 hours a day on bus, subway, cafe. I never read at home.

I also go through stretches where I'll read 4-5 hrs/day and dead periods where I don't read anything but hte newspaper.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:14 PM on November 23, 2005

Like most of you here, an hour or two in bed juts before sleep.
posted by lorbus at 10:00 PM on November 23, 2005

At least 3-4 hours a day, most times more. But then I don't have a television, so pretty much the only competition is MetaFilter the computer.
posted by trip and a half at 10:10 PM on November 23, 2005

15 minutes.
posted by sirsteven at 11:27 PM on November 23, 2005

Here's a study on how much adult Americans read (or don't read, as the case may be).
posted by jellicle at 2:53 PM on November 25, 2005

I'm still wondering how Ethereal Bligh finds the time to go on 14-hour reading binges when, by his own account, he spends at least ten hours a day on the Internet. Does he never sleep? Perhaps, like Hermione in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he has a magical Time-Turner which he can use to add extra hours to his day.
posted by verstegan at 2:31 PM on November 27, 2005

Those are different days.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:06 AM on November 28, 2005

I was only kidding, EB, but thank you for replying.
posted by verstegan at 3:16 AM on December 2, 2005

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