New Job + Christmas = Not So Much Reading

Actually that is an understatement, in the last week I have read pretty much nothing and the same this weekend which has gone by in a whirl of Christmas shopping meaning – yes I am one of those people who leave it that late. I have to admit this was partly as I thought that my Christmas shopping would be easy. In the Savidge Family we only buy for the kids, two of whom I buy whatever I would have really wanted aged 5, my brother being so specific it is a no brainer and the other three all loving vouchers. Then Beard’s family are doing secret Santa, so only one present to buy for and my future sister in law was very specific but it has proven a weekends-worth-of-returning-and-shopping-nightmare it is sorted though, phew! But the big news of this week is that I started my new job and so on Monday packed my (new smart) bag with all my bits and bobs (I am very specific about stationery) and most importantly a book…

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Now my commute is a bit of a nightmare as it involves twenty minutes walking and ten minutes on the train, leaving very little time for reading so I think am having to rethink my reading habits. Not only as gone are the days of fitting in a few hours here and there between my freelance stuff meaning time is more limited in general, it is not like London where I had a 30+ minute commute on the tube to get lost in a good book before and after work. I have been thinking and I think the way forward will be to have a book I get completely involved with for big stints at home and something more serialised books, like the Maupin above which I still haven’t read more than a quarter of, diaries and/or short stories for the commute? Sound a plan? Actually, that said, I am not going to have to put this into practice properly until the beginning of January as I have a few days in next week and then over a week of – bingo! I am planning some comfort wind down reads over the Christmas period though.

Oh, you might like to know what my new job is I guess? Ha, I missed that out in favour of my bookish woes. I am working on Liverpool’s (and indeed Britain’s) first International Business Festival coming in summer 2014. Hot off working on Liverpool’s first literary and music festivals this year it looks like I am going into the marketing and events industry which I couldn’t be more excited about – and I am back in the office with all the friendly faces I was so sad to leave a few months ago, only now on a different team, I keep waiting for them to ask for my leaving presents back.

Anyway, that is my little catch up post, thought I would let you know what is going on and why things may be quieter on the blog next year – gulp! More on that in due course though, in the meantime I wondered if you read different books at home than you do if you commute? If so how do you differentiate or do you just stick to one book and read as much as you can when you can? Also, are you gearing up for comfort reading over Christmas or carrying on as normal? Do any of you leave Christmas shopping as late as I do? What else is new with all of you?

15 Comments

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15 responses to “New Job + Christmas = Not So Much Reading

  1. Yes, I decided not to go East to visit family (a 6-7 hour flight) and was hoping to have a quiet time at home in San Francisco reading more of my 2013 TBR challenge books. Instead, I was promoted to lead editor on a major project (hooray!), but that means spending much of my holidays getting up to speed on the project (boo!).

    Good luck on the new gig. Happy Christmas and New Year to you and the Beard!

  2. Good luck with new job simon hope your reading time increases at some point

  3. I tend to read hardbacks at home and then take a paperback with me when I go out, just for ease of carrying.
    Wanted to let you know I finished The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring which I read after reading about it here – I loved it. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once they went to Borley I was hooked! So absorbing.
    Good luck with the new job!

  4. Hope the new job goes well, Simon. I used to have a 20 minute train commute which was good for a bit of reading – I think you will definitely need something short and light for the train and longer for home. It ought to be reasonably easy to differentiate if you stick to very different stuff (though I managed to read all of Virginia Woolf’s Letters *and* diaries when communting in those 20 minute chunks!)

  5. Good luck with the new job! I am facing a similar dilemma now that we have moved closer to work. The boy and I used to have an hour and fifteen minute drive one way to listen to audio books. Now we only have a fifteen minute commute. Hoping the cut down on driving will mean more reading time at home.
    aba

  6. Leonie clark

    Always leave everything too late at xmas especially shopping!
    Always read different books at home. Listen to books wilst driving its about a thirty minutes.
    So wrapped as just discovered your podcasts and blog better late than never so excited am mad book person also work in a library have too many books on shelf ,borrow lots buy lots and download but agree with you about devils device xx cheers Leonie from Melbourne Australia xx

  7. Without audio books on my daily drive my book consumption would decrease significantly; shorter books during the working week (if I have any energy left) and chunkier titles generally have to wait until a long weekend or holiday.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  8. Hannah

    My reading habits have changed with commuting. I seem to be reading more thrillers and similar because I read in 20 minute chunks on the trains so it needs to be something you can get into quickly and stop at any point. I don’t tend to read different books at home/commuting unless I want to read a hardback or other giant book I just won’t carry day to day (not kindle-d). Then I will make sure they are very different to each other so I’m less confused.

  9. David

    Firstly, congratulations on the new job!

    Given your lack of time for reading, short stories may be a good solution: from reading very few at one time I’ve become thoroughly addicted to the form and have read 90 collections in the past two years, and have found them often to be more memorable and adventurous (in terms of literary risk-taking) than many novels I’ve read in the same period. Short-shorts/flash fiction/prose poems (call them what you will) take only minutes to read but can be stunning – Sam Shepard’s ‘Great Dream of Heaven’ and Pete Orner’s ‘Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge’ are both excellent examples.

    I’ve done all my Christmas shopping and am trying to resist any last minute panic-buying! I’m going to be wrapping and dressing everything today, one of my favourite tasks.

    My reading over Christmas? I think I might read something Christmassy – haven’t read ‘A Christmas Carol’ for a few years, but I also have a copy of Alice Thomas Ellis’s ‘The Birds of the Air’ which I believe has a festive setting (plus it is nice and short). Other than that, I have a book cover to be working on over Christmas for a rather fabulous debut YA novel that is due out next autumn, so that should keep me out of mischief (and away from the sales!).

    Hope you have a great Christmas🙂

  10. My commuting days are over thankfully. My advice would be to take each book as it comes and suck it and see… good non-advice that eh! All the best for the new job though. I’m one of those who start Christmas shopping in the summer – only trouble with that is you can forget you’ve already bought something for someone, but if I left it as late as you, I’d panic and it’d have to be tokens for everyone.

  11. Merry Christmas, Simon. Hope you and The Beard have a lovely time.

    I commute by bus, so unlike a lovely smooth train journey I can read on, I get travel sick at the sight of words. The few times I have commuted by train I’ve not swapped between home reading and travel reading, but the journeys were long ones.

    Your job sounds fantastic, and excellent news that you are back with old faces that you’ve enjoyed working with before.

  12. Ann Fuller

    A book of short stories works for me when I am riding – maybe it will for you too?

  13. There is nothing like a nice long train commute for reading, but those days are over for me too. My commute now is a 20-minute walk and then about a 25-minute bus ride. Just like Alice above, I can’t read on the bus without getting sick. Between that and the long walk my commute reading now is all on audiobooks. (And yes, that is still considered reading!) It took me a while to get used to audio, but now I love it. I subscribe to audible.com and download the books to my phone. Good luck with your commute and your new job!

  14. Good luck! The work/life reading balance is really tough but I’m sure you’ll find that, although there may be a bit of bookish panic at first, you’ll hit the stride with the commute. I must admit, I’ve only ever been a one book at a time kind of girl, and the commute to work just helps me to dig a bit deeper.🙂

  15. I have a 15 minute walk followed by a 35 minute tube journey and a 20 minute walk at the other end. On the tube I sometimes talk to people I know (shock!) and sometimes I read (often work related books) but quite often I either think or look out of the window at the world (I am above ground on my journey). Clearly if you need reading time then your new mode of travel isn’t likely to be very helpful. My advice (not likely to meet with approval from many “bookish” folk I suspect) is to enjoy the walk and to think for the 10 minutes of your train journey. So many people seem to feel the need to fill in every waking hour with activity; so few appear to value periods of concentrated thought.

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