Dear Literary Lady,
Ever since I got into a serious relationship, I’ve been reading less and doing more “couple stuff” like watching TV, going for walks, gazing into each other’s eyes, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in love, but do you have any advice on how I can carve out some time to read?
–S.D., Madison, WI
It sounds like you’re in the honeymoon phase of your new, serious relationship—you know, that infamous phase when you’re attached at the hip and do everything together and start every sentence with “We…”
Have no fear; as your relationship matures, the honeymoon phase relaxes its passionate grip and the need to constantly do “couple stuff” wanes. You’ll both realize you can, in fact, live without each other for a couple of hours, and you’ll once again have time to settle down with a good book.
Until then, however, finding time to read can be difficult, because it’s often seen as a solitary activity (gasp!). If you’re itching for a dose of literature but your schedule is jam-packed with cuddles and canoodles, a little subterfuge just might help. Here are some sneaky ways to squeeze in a few pages of a book, while still playing it off like you’re the greatest girlfriend or boyfriend ever:
1. Ask your significant other to pick a movie for the evening. Tell them, “It’s your turn to choose! Surprise me!” They’ll get so lost in the Netflix/iTunes rabbithole you can read until they finally make a decision an hour later.
2. Get your significant other hooked on a show you don’t particularly like, or one you’ve already watched and highly recommend. Read while they bingewatch every episode.
3. Encourage your significant other to go for a night out with their friends. You’ll score points with them and their friends, and you get to stay home and read.
4. Offer to go get takeout from a favorite restaurant. Leave early, and read at the restaurant while your food is being prepared. If you’re reading a really good book, be sure to order something complicated to buy yourself more time.
5. Win them over by offering to do your laundry and theirs. Read between wash cycles.
6. Don’t sleep. Just stop sleeping. Read while they’re sleeping.
7. Offer to cook them dinner while they sit back and relax. Shoo them out of the kitchen, then prepare something that takes forever to bake, broil, or roast in the oven. Delve into your novel while you simmer something on low heat for 90 minutes.
8. Did they forget to pick up something at the store? Offer to go for them. Choose the longest checkout line. Read in line.
9. Whenever you’re both waiting in line somewhere, offer to do the waiting on your own while they go off and entertain themselves. They’ll be grateful not to be waiting in line and dying of boredom, while you can whip out your book and read.
10. Encourage them to call their parents more often. That’ll buy you at least 40 minutes of reading time each week while your significant other defends his or her life choices and apologizes for holding out on giving them grandkids.
In short, where there’s a will, there’s a way! You just have to be a little bit creative, a little bit crafty, and a very fast reader to balance your love interest with your love of literature.
Love and paperbacks,