“I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.”
— Stephen King
When I first picked up On Writing I wasn’t expecting to find that I had a handful of things in common with Stephen King. He seems to approach writing in the same way I do as well, but more on that at a later date, perhaps.
I can’t say when I first started carrying a book around with me wherever I went. It’s been years, though. I mentioned in my post about books being ”a uniquely portable magic” (another Stephen King quote) that the majority of the reason why I haul around such a big purse is for the sake of fitting a book inside it; also, that On Writing was published before e-readers were invented. That, obviously, makes this all the easier to do.
It’s the latter part of this quote that I want to focus on here. It does require a bit of training on your part to be able to read in those “small sips”; when you’re in a particularly long line at the store, in a waiting room (they were made for those who bring books everywhere!)…anywhere, really. Though I wouldn’t recommend reading while driving (that’s what audio-books are for) or while eating dinner with someone.
Does this mean it’s easy to read a page or two and then put down a book? No! Does this mean that you’ll be perfectly willing to put the book away and get on with your life? Ha! I can hear the scoffing now, “Books are my life!”
I’ve found it somewhat helpful to bring a book along that’s specifically for reading in those few spare moments, not the five you have next to your bed that you dive into daily. If you know you’re not going to be able to curl up and ignore the world for quite some time with the book you’ve brought along, it should be a bit easier to put it back away.
This in no way means that the book you bring with you has to be boring. It just gets to be the special book you bring with you when you leave your home. Obviously you’re not going to finish the book as quickly, but if you find yourself wanting to read that book when you’re at home, there’s nothing keeping you from doing so! Read to your heart’s content and have another book ready to stow away in your bag.
Reading in this way isn’t as intimate, but it’s still reading! Find a book to carry with you—you won’t regret it.