Monday, September 13, 2010

How to Read While Eating

It's hard to find time to read every day now that I'm back to a crazy schedule. If you're like me, you love to read any chance you get. Right now I'm reading Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White. I usually take the book I'm currently reading in the car so I'll have it with me when I have to wait for kids or if I have an appointment. One of the ways I squeeze reading time in is by reading while I eat breakfast or lunch. However, the last thing I want is for my book to be soiled, especially if it's new and pretty like this one. And don't you hate when you're reading a library book and you turn to a page with gross, food smudges or stains on it?


Here's a little helpful guide to prevent that from happening.

1. Prepare your reading spot: Wipe the table of anything that might stick to a book before placing it down. In my house that includes Silly Putty, water rings from cups, crumbs, nail polish. Don't forget to dry your spot with a towel to prevent a wet book.

2. Book Placement: I'm right-handed and have found that placing my book to my left prevents me from eating or holding food over my book. Eat to my right, read to my left. I'll assume that left-handed people would most likely benefit from eat to the left, read to the right.

3. Open book before eating: This is beneficial for two reasons. a) Food touched before opening book might soil a page. b) Searching for a page may lead to hot food cooling down. Using a prop is helpful for keeping a book open while reading. Napkin holders work well as do any heavy object within range.

4. Hold a napkin in left hand (if you're a righty like me): Besides the obvious use of a) wiping fingers every time you need to turn a page, napkins have other essential uses. b) It quickly serves as a mouth shield when reading a laugh-out-loud moment, preventing nasty food expulsions onto your book. c) Can serve as a tissue to dab the eyes during sad scenes.

5. Beverages: They can be quite a threat to a pristine book, particularly if children are at the table (trust me on this one). But with special care and attention one can avoid spillage and soilage. Paper or plastic disposable cups are a no no while reading. The slightest upheaval can send a flood of liquid to forever stain and crinkle your book pages. To avoid this, a weighty cup placed as far away from eating area (but within reaching distance) is advisable. Keeping plenty of napkins close by is also helpful.

6. Ending the reading/eating experience: I try to stop at the end of a chapter, wipe my fingers with my hand held napkin, close and push my book away from the eating area, and either finish my meal or clean up my spot.

Following these steps should provide you with an enjoyable reading and eating experience. Using your time wisely by engaging in two pleasurable activities simultaneously will leave you well fed and well read.

Unless you are totally disgusted by the mere thought of anyone eating and reading at the same, feel free to leave any other helpful tips that I may have missed below.


  1. I read while I am eating too :D I am super careful but it is the best time to squeeze in some extra book time

  2. That's one of the reasons I love audiobooks. I can "read" while I'm vacuuming or doing laundry or yard work.

  3. I'm left-handed and so I read with the right, eat with the left. But then I am such a pig, I could have both hands full and still vacuum up food!