One Minute and Ten Seconds

Last night, before I was in bed, I attempted to calculate how many hours a day exactly I spend reading. I looked at it from several angels and known of them were correct. I let a big unknown unknown hang over it without even thinking about it and then I simplified things far to simply to discover the actual solution.

The first problem was I used the average reading speed of the average person. The average person takes right about two minutes to read a page. Last night, after I was in bed, I decided to time my reading. I started the stop watch at the top of the page and stopped it at the bottom. This morning I repeated the experiment with a different book and both times I got one minute and ten seconds.

I think you can see how going from two minutes to one minute and ten seconds changes things. The other major issues I let sneak in was I was calculating by total books read. This included the physical books I had read at home as well as the audio books I had listened to in my car or at the gym. I wasn’t trying to find the total time I spent reading a day. I was trying to find the total time I spend reading at home.

What I am really seeking is absolution. You see my wife and mother and law both work under the impression that all I do is read all day. I ignore my children, my wife, and all my household duties. My belief is I do not. That I actually don’t read nearly as much as they think, and that I am very present during the day.

Here is what my math tells me. The average length of a book I have read this year is 398 pages. It was 416 pages last year and the average average book is right around 400 pages so 398 is as good a number to use as any. If we eliminate all the audio books then I have read 69 books this year and today is the 311th day of the year. If you do all that math then the number comes out to roughly one and a half hours of reading a day.

That makes sense to me. I read for about 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes sometime in the middle of the day, and 30 minutes before cooking dinner. Recently I have begun reading right before bed and sometimes, if I can’t sleep, when I wake up at some ungodly hour of the morning.

It also makes sense because the kids are quiet for perhaps 10 seconds at a time, and while I might be attempting to read for an hour or two in one reading session the time actually spent reading is much closer to 30 minutes because every 10 seconds I’m running over to help with the children.

Also recently the children have begun to behave a little better at times during the day and I am able to be in the same room as them and read in semi-peace. Even more so if my wife isn’t at home. This morning, while my wife was out, I brought my book into the room and one of my boys brought it to me and said, “Read, read,” and I did. He did climb on my lap and look at the pages with me and I told him that there were words upon them, but he wasn’t upset about the lack of pictures. It is somewhat a mystery as to why he wanted me to read, but it was nice of him.

Being a parent is not a day filled with peace and quiet. An hour and half of total relaxation time is about all one can hope for, and I choose to spend mine reading. Sometimes I wish there were time for more, but it is hard to find and we make the best of what we have.

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