Tag Archives: reading

Running more = reading more

I’ve always liked running, but I’m prone to the same problem as everyone – I run out of time. If I don’t do it first thing in the morning then I feel too tired by the evening and it doesn’t happen. Then, once you are out of the habit it can feel really tough just to put on the trainers and do 5km.

But I’ve been making more of an effort to seriously get out and run most days. As you can see on my Nike+ app, I managed to run 153km in July – that’s getting close to four marathons in one month.


It’s great to be back out on the streets more regularly – I don’t go to a gym – but I’ve also found a spin-off benefit. I’m listening to loads of audio-books while I’m running and I usually then leave the book running while I go home and get ready to do something else.

I use the Audible app on my phone for audio-books – take a look at my monthly listening stats:


As you can see, I’m a regular listener anyway, but the push to run most days has boosted my book time. I totaled over 104 hours listening to books in July – mostly political biographies, but now I just started on Stephen King’s fictional story set around the JFK assassination 11/22/63.

It’s a great outcome that I’ve managed to get through so many books by using this time to listen to books rather than music. I know some people prefer music as it’s more motivational – Spotify can even play music where the beat reflects the speed you are running at – but I like to switch off and get into a book.

I’ll see how it goes in August, but I think I can probably beat these numbers because it’s a quiet month for my clients – USA and European clients are taking a lot of holidays right now. 🙂

Enter the eBook

I used to have thousands of books, my house had a bedroom that was effectively a library. Then I moved from the UK to Brazil and I had to give away hundreds and hundreds of them just because they were too expensive to ship.

I still kept a fair number though, and I enjoy visiting book stores and purchasing and reading real books.

But I just bought a Kindle and started downloading some books to it. Why?

There is a very practical problem living overseas. The bookstores in São Paulo carry very few books in English, and the ones that are sold are from the best-seller list – not exactly what I might purchase. I have gone to Amazon and eBay and purchased books and paid for them to be posted, but when I recently bought a new hardback, which was about £25 for the book and postage, I thought seriously about how much easier this would all be with a Kindle.

I can get a book in seconds, I can pick any book I want, and even recently published books are available for just a few pounds. Many classics are available entirely free.

So the first authors I downloaded were John Wyndham, Julian Barnes, and Oscar Wilde… I’m sure that I will keep on buying regular books now and then, when I really want the physical artefact, but the experience of wanting a book then having it in seconds does change the process of acquiring books.

I’d never wait until I got to a record store to buy an album any more, so why wait to buy a book?


Pastors in the pub

I was out in Reading last night with a mate of mine I hadn’t seen for a while, so we were not doing much other than chatting and trying out a few different pubs. We couldn’t make up our minds about whether to go to Wokingham – where he lives – or to stay in Reading – because it would be easier for me to get home. So in the end we just stayed there checking a few places.

Reading on a Friday night is similar to many other small to medium sized cities, packed full of people getting drunk. And it makes me feel old and sensible to know that even though I was also out drinking, I was perfectly capable of chatting to my friend, and going to get a train home afterwards, though admittedly I adjusted my iPod to Elvis Presley so I could hum along to ‘the king’ on the train.

The level of alcohol abuse openly visible in the street is quite shocking though. People staggering around drunk, people looking quite threatening, and of course young girls in short skirts out of their mind on booze.

I got chatting to a pub pastor in one place we were in. I have never seen a pub pastor before, but there was a team of them and they have woolly hats with ‘PASTOR’ written across it in big letters. She explained that they were not going around the pubs to try to prevent people drinking. They might be from the local church and presumably are God-fearing and pretty well-behaved, but their main mission is not one of temperance. They are focused on the girls who make themselves vulnerable by going out and getting so drunk they will behave differently with the guys in the pub – or won’t be able to take any care about how they will get home if they cannot even stand up.

As we were talking about the problem, a girl in a mini-skirt and heels fell over nearby, emphasising the point the pastor was making.

I’m sure this problem has always existed, but if it is getting worse then who should be doing something about it? The government is forever proposing new measures to police binge drinking in pubs, but take a look at the bars in Reading, or Nottingham, or York. It certainly doesn’t seem to be working. The churches can supply volunteers, as they are doing in Reading, but they are not going to convert drunk kids into model citizens a la St Paul on the road to Damascus.

The clunking fist approach would be to tax alcohol so high, young people can’t afford it, but surely that approach would only lead to moonshine and a resurgence of the acid scene of the late 1980s, where teenagers did not use licensed premises to socialise. And it hurts those who want to socialise in pubs without feeling the pips squeak.

Who can really help the pastors in the pub to achieve their own redundancy?