Reading and chill

sheworksinthelibrary
4 min readJun 2, 2020

Reading and chill anyone? Doesn’t really have the same vibe to it as the slang term ‘Netflix and chill’ (aka the cool kids latest euphemism for a sexual escapade!). Or does it…?!?!

Artwork: A bed of books

Last year I moved house and made the decision to live without a TV. Shocked? Most people seemed to be. The curious thing is, no one ever asks me why!?

‘Shocked’

For the record, three reasons:

1. Minimalism (read about it here).

2. My goal to read more books (check out the #Year33ReadingList and #2018readingparty)

3. The pertinent response of a (very successful) friend whom I deeply admire when I commented on the fact he did not own a TV:

“If I have time to watch TV it means I am not working hard enough, living loudly enough, or loving passionately enough” — Ronnie S.

‘Amen!’

Reason #3 was the game changer for me.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, talk a lot about the cost of material possessions in terms of trading money for freedom. That is, questioning all your purchases by applying the notion that it takes time to earn money, and time is freedom, so by giving up money you are giving up freedom.

Now, thanks to the wise words of my friend (mentioned above) I was provoked to view TV in the same way. Before sitting down to watch TV I started to question myself “is this worth X minutes of my freedom” — or more so, what else could I be doing with my time right now that is more valuable to me than staring at a screen (whether that is in the form of a TV, computer or mobile). Just to be clear I no longer watch TV in any format, on any device. No news. No Netflix. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Artwork: TV

Truthfully, I never enjoyed a lot of TV so I don’t really miss it. I occasionally feel out of the loop when it comes to water cooler conversations about the latest series or the outcome of a reality TV finale. But that’s not enough motivation to make me want to own a TV again. I do love a good movie (and popcorn AND ice-cream) so I’ll go out to the cinema if there is something I want to watch. I guess I’ve just always felt most content reading books as a pastime. I know, I know, NERD ALERT!!!

‘Oh yes, I love to read.’

Not owning a TV has reminded me of the immense joy that reading can offer our lives — not the quick-fix hedonistic feeling we get from ‘shallow skimming’ online snippets of news or scrolling social feeds, but the long term value-add experience of ‘deep diving’ reading that happens when we let ourselves be immersed in a good book.

“Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.” — Lemony Snicket

Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author and Director of The Institute for Global Happiness, is an advocate for replacing your TV with a bookshelf, summing up the benefits of ‘reading more’ in three beautiful sentences:

“I’ve never felt more creatively alive in all areas of my life. I feel more interesting, I feel like a better father, and my writing output has dramatically increased. Amplifying my reading rate has been the domino that’s tipped over a slew of others.”

Hmm suddenly ‘reading and chill’ sounds a lot like working harder, living louder and loving more passionately if you ask me!

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks”
— An excerpt from “Television” by Roald Dahl.

‘These things are great! It’s like TV in your head!’

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