Multitasking at its bookish best

Musing Monday highlighterMusing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

“Multitasking? I can’t even do two things at once. I can’t even do one thing at once.”
― Helena Bonham Carter

I just finished the Bout of Books read-a-thon!  The aim of the read-a-thon was to simply read more than you usually would.  But this got me thinking, how can I bring reading into more aspects of my life? What other task can I pair with reading?

I tried multitasking reading with several different activities. Some succeeded but some did not at all.

Water the garden

Watering the garden doesn’t take any concentration.  You can hold your book in one hand, hose in the other and with some rhythmic arm movement you’re on your way to multi-taking!

Nurse baby chickens

I’ve been raising baby chickens and they’re almost fully grown, but they are incredible wimps.  Magpies are the boogey man and my lap is their cocoon of safety.  So I often found myself sitting outside, reading, with two chicks sitting on my legs. While they’re sitting, it’s fine. But there was an incident, when one chicken was clawing at my hair, holding on for dear life and another was standing on top of my book, looking down and trying to determine which part of it was edible, that I just gave up. It was just too chaotic.

chicken collage

Work out

Pilates and reading. It just doesn’t work.  Think about it: you’re trying to do a plank, and your whole body is shaking.  You’re barely paying attention to the words in front of you, because all you can think about is how your muscles are about to give up. And then you reach the end of the page. You could wait but you really want to know what happens next. You lift one arm and… CRASH! This one I don’t recommend.


You’d think it was easy, but I found it incredibly difficult.  My eyes were focused on the page, so I constantly found myself lifting an empty fork to my mouth, or missing my mouth entirely.  Food got dangerously close to falling on the book. So I moved on to finger food, but this time actually ended up getting roast capsicum dip on my book! For the safety of your beloved books, do not try this at home!


Reading while you’re trying to chop vegetables or fry a steak wasn’t easy, but cooking is full of waiting.  Whether I’m waiting for water to boil or waiting for the pasta to cook, these were ideal times to get through a couple of pages.   As long as you don’t mind picking up and putting down the book several times in a short period, reading fills in some of the boring time in cooking.


I briefly considered taping my book to the outside of the shower, and setting up some sort of towel-glove to turn pages without getting the book wet.  Maybe photocopy the book and tape the pages up? Eventually I spent longer thinking about it than the actual shower took. Someone could invent a useful device for this purpose though…

What activities or chores do you pair with reading? Have you ever had a multitasking disaster? Do you wonder why I haven’t considered the possibly of audiobooks (because that was an epiphany I just had)? Remember to leave me links to your own Musing Monday posts!


6 thoughts on “Multitasking at its bookish best

  1. Brandie says:

    When I had my daughter, I found out pretty quickly that if I wanted to get any reading done – I had to learn to multitask, But holding a book and a baby was near impossible most of the time. So, that’s when I got my first Kindle. And it has done wonders for my reading. I was able to do just about anything with her in one arm and holding my Kindle in the other. But now that she’s older and requires constant entertainment – I don’t get much reading done until she’s in bed. 🙂
    I do find myself sneak reading while I’m cooking – the waiting parts of boiling water, etc. I have tried reading while I eat, and like you, it just doesn’t work. I usually scarf my lunch down as quick as possible and then read when I’m done. Lol.
    Audio books are awesome. I used to have a long drive to work and listened to them all of the time, but have since moved much closer to my job and would barely get in 10 minutes of listening.
    Great post!

    • Wow, holding a baby, reading AND doing another job? You’ve got some multi-tasking skills! Maybe I should put an audio book in my car, although like you I rarely drive more than 10 minutes away. I’ll find a place for audiobooks somewhere in my life. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. I did wonder why you didn’t consider audiobooks. 🙂 I didn’t either, until about 8 months ago and now I love them. It’s MUCH easier to listen while you are cooking, I just slip my Fire into my pocket, cook or do dishes all while listening to a book. When I take walks through town, I’ve moved on from listening to music to listening to audiobooks. Then there is the shower, which audiobooks can just be playing. Ages ago I bought this little tiny speaker that amps anything up, so plug that in and we’re off!! Audiobooks are great for multitasking!

    • I listened to an audio book once when I was still in primary school, but I hated it. The reading was too slow and by the time the first chapter had been read, I probably could have finished half the book myself. But I can see where they’d come in handy for multi-tasking. I might get a little speaker, too. It’ll be much better than my phone’s little built-in speaker.

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