From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reading Habits

Check out Matt Zimmerman's really interesting post on his reading habits. I started responding in his comment's section, and then realized I had written 5 paragraphs. So I popped out of there, and over here in my blog for a response.

I've tried both, and I strongly prefer reading for 4-6 hour blocks at a time, rather than 45 minutes a night. I find my retention and enjoyment is far better once I get into a groove. My startup/shutdown time when reading a few chapters per night seems to put a significant dent in my retention and comprehension. Also, my books don't run out of batteries (ie, I don't use a Kindle etc. yet). And I don't have to shut them down for the first and last 30 minutes of a flight. So most of the book reading I do tends to be in airports and on airplanes. Fortunately, I fly more than the average person. But unfortunately, I don't spend much other time reading these days.

Also, for the past 10 years, I have religiously followed a tradition of always alternating between fiction and non-fiction. Previously, I found myself stuck in a rut, reading a dozen Neal Stephenson, or Steven Levy books in a row. Alternating seems to be healthier for me and rounds out my knowledge a bit better.

As for my daily workflow, I usually start by reading my personal email (Gmail) -- maybe 10 minutes over coffee. I follow that by checking any lingering IRC messages -- 5 minutes or so. And then 15-30 minutes of work email (Canonical/Evolution). And then I tackle a few hundred various filtered emails and mailing lists -- this can take another 10-60+ minutes. I tend to check my newsreader (Liferea) twice a day, once over lunch, and again just before bed -- I can easily spend 60+ minutes reading blogs and newsfeeds. I don't really use Buzz/Twitter/Identica/Facebook, except to spread my blog post (is that wrong?), and I don't really read anyone else's Buzz/Twitter/Identica/Facebook (is that wrong too?).

In any case, I agree with Matt's assessment. Various forms of e-reading has cut into my book-reading time, for better or worse. Fortunately, I have plenty of travel scheduled for the foreseeable future ;-)


p.s. Anyone remember Reading Rainbow? It's okay to admit you started humming the theme song when you saw that logo :-)


  1. I remember it; used to enjoy watching it, too.

    (Almost as much as I enjoyed watching "Bill Nye the Science Guy". Remember him? ;-) )

  2. I can fly twice as high!!! ♥ ♥

  3. hi Dustin,
    today, quantity is abundant and digestion is what we need. i would suggest you to reread and reread the "best book" that you have read before, and that may surprisingly make your mind sharpen and more focus.

  4. Loved Reading Rainbow... I still remember some of the episodes where they would show you how... peanut butter, crayons, books... were made.


Please do not use blog comments for support requests! Blog comments do not scale well to this effect.

Instead, please use Launchpad for Bugs and StackExchange for Questions.