150811_em_kindleKids these days, right?

That seems to be the tack taken by Maaesha Nuzhat Nazmul in a column on The Daily Star as she bemoans the lack of interest in reading for pleasure displayed by the current generation. “Most of the children today are into consoles and movies and every time I think about it, I realise how different my childhood was,” she writes. The problem doesn’t seem to afflict just children, either, but even adults find no time for pleasure reading anymore. Even the Kindle doesn’t seem to be enough to rescue reading, she complains, because “I need to be able to hold the book and carry it around.”

She has a few other uncomplimentary things to say about young adult novels and movies, but that seems to be the gist.  Isn’t it funny how everyone thinks that their own personal experience is universal?

That being said, I don’t find as much time to read for pleasure myself anymore—which you would think I ought to, as many e-readable devices as I have (and unlike Ms. Nazmul, I’m just fine with e-readers as opposed to paper books). So I can sympathize with that part of it, anyway. I have a sneaking suspicion that I might be the one to blame for that, though—because when a new book comes out I really want to read, like the latest Liaden Universe novel, or an intriguing-looking “fantasy” series, I can always find the time to cram it in. So maybe it’s a matter of wanting to read somehow.

But what’s the solution to that? “Gamifying” reading with a site like Habitica to “reward” yourself for reading a book? I’m not so sure that would work for me—reading ought to be its own reward. Nonetheless, I’m open to suggestions.

Do you have any good ideas for finding more time or desire to read for pleasure?


  1. For most people that time for reading is there, but something else will probably have to be sacrificed. I usually have an hour or two every night for reading, but I rarely watch TV or go to the movies. I don’t abibe to the “must see tv” adage. By choice I have never seen The Game of Thrones – I read instead.

    It doesn’t have to be tv or movies on the chopping block. For some people it might be going to the pub or the gym or browsing the internet. Or something else.

    Audiobooks are a way to “read” while doing other things. Commuting, walking the dog, household chores, or whatnot. Most months I have 40 to 60 hours for audiobooks. But that means less time for music. Again, the choices I make can give or take away time.

  2. I get it Chris. When I was a kid, and could read chapter books on my own, my parents set a new rule. I can’t remember the exact times, but it went something like this: you can watch TV until 8 pm then go to bed or you can go to your room and read from 7:30 to 8:30.pm. It has I stilled a life long habit.

    Of course, I didn’t have a TV in my room and video games hadn’t been invented yet. I actually think this is a good argument for kids and adults to have both inexpensive tablets and ereaders. I have both a Fire and a Paperwhite. After 8pm I put my Fire away for the day.

    I understand everyone is different, and this is what works best for me.

  3. I’m with Ellen on this one. I am really trying to accustom myself to not reading on my tablet anymore. I am training myself to read only on the Kindle. That way, I can put the iPad away for the night and tuck in with a book. The psychological difference seems to be helping me. The iPad is for YouTube and Internet stuff. The Kindle is for reading.

    • @Joanna: I’m wondering about airplane mode for the Kindle and iPad (links go to how-tos for readers unfamiliar with the mode). It’ll block out e-mail, instant messages and other online distractions. That said, I’m all in favor of your doing whatever is best for you. I’m just curious what happened when you did try airplane mode. That said, there are other issues such as the blue light/sleep issue, so I’ll understand if you still want to read yourself to sleep with your Paperwhite.

  4. I actually have more time for reading than I used to, since we’re now empty nesters. However, I’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle for the past 3 years so would rather be out hiking, birding, or walking than curled up in a chair. As part of that, I also need to try and get adequate sleep and, like bookworms everywhere, if I’m reading a novel at bedtime, I am most likely to stay up far later than I should.

    So I read all the time, and even before bed, but not always books. I try to stick to magazines where I can read a few articles, then put my Fire away.

    I don’t watch TV much and we rarely go to the movies. I find I don’t like sitting still for that length of time. We have established a habit of watching something while we eat dinner most nights so my TV time is generally an hour or less.

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