Reading 8 or 9 hours a day

George Lamming also said something quite amazing in his speech, and I forgot to mention it in my last post. He mentioned that he reads for 8 or 9 hours a day, and has done throughout his life. If he doesn’t read that much, he feels – I forget the word he used, but basically unsatisfied, hungry for more.

After the speech, I said how wonderful it would be to read so much – you’d have such an encyclopaedic knowledge of world literature and presumably a lot of other topics. But my wife disagreed – she said that reading so much wouldn’t leave you any time for other things, like travelling, learning a language, spending time with family, going for walks, etc etc. She said you’d live in a world of books, not in the real world.

I suppose because I’ve always been busy in my life and never felt as if I had enough time to read as much as I wanted to, the idea of reading 8 or 9 hours a day was enticing. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw the value in my wife’s counter-argument. Time spent reading is time not spent doing other very valuable things.

What do you think? In an ideal world, where your lifestyle allowed you to read 8 or 9 hours a day, would you do it? If not, what would be the right amount for you? How does that compare with how much you read right now?

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There are 10 comments

  1. I also love the thought of reading 8 to 9 hours a day, but your wife is right; that’s like existing in an other world and missing life! Right now I probably read about 2 to 3 hrs a day (including blogs); sometimes less or none at all, and sometimes more (on days when all chores are done). You?

  2. Hi Claire

    During the week I read about 1 hour a day, mostly in snatches on trains and buses, etc. At the weekend I usually have more time, although of course it depends on what I have planned – on a quiet weekend I might read 3 or 4 hours a day, but other weekends less, or not at all. I’d like to read about 4 hours every day if I had time.

    Interesting that you include blogs – I was thinking just of books, but I guess that’s very old-fashioned of me 🙂

  3. I read for 9 hours a day of pure science fiction and classic literature every day. That’s over 60 hours of reading per weak. I love it. You are right, you get submersed into fictitious worlds and stray from reality. I love reading and writing, it’s my passion so I can do it :).

    I have nothing else to do. I’m very bashful around people so I don’t have my friends but very few. It’s a lonely world, but books take me on frigates to other lands and parallel universes, it’s my escape, my cure for solitude and isolation.

    1. Hi Geo

      Good to hear from you. I love the way you put it – frigates to other lands. That’s how reading always felt for me too. As I mentioned in the post, I’ve never read as much as 9 hours a day, but I can imagine that with that amount of time, you’d really get immersed in fictional worlds. And there’s so much good literature out there that you’ll never run out of things to read!

  4. It seems that, with focus, one could accomplish an objective. Thomas Jefferson read about 15 hours a day for some 5 years, then backed off. He later counseled a student who asked advice not to read or study too much for too many years, as it could harm his health.
    I agree.” Sitting is the new Syphilis,” to quote a contemporary health author of the book, “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.” Being sedentary ruins the body. Studies now show that to be healthy we must stand up 32 times/8 hour period, or once every 15 minutes. Try it and see for yourself how you feel after just one day. Each time one stands, they reset their balance mechanism, blood pressure becomes regulated, and a few other things happen.

    1. Very interesting, Hunter! I didn’t know that about Thomas Jefferson. And I’m certainly guilty of being too sedentary. My work involves sitting at a computer, and much of my leisure time involves sitting too, either at a computer or reading a book. I certainly find that regular breaks help me to feel better, but I was thinking of it more in terms of resting my brain and my eyes. It’s interesting to hear that research about the benefits of simply standing up. Thanks very much for commenting!

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