Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

According to Jana, this week’s theme has been lovingly stolen from A Cocoon of Books during freebie week and invites us all to share those things that get in the way of our reading. I mean we would all love to read a little more, wouldn’t we, but that thing called life does just have the habit of getting in the way!

So for me, my list comprises of the following.


As a teacher, it is said, you have a job that will constantly expand to fill the hours you have available. Time in the classroom. Time preparing for the classroom. Time tidying up after class. Time spent on displays. Time spent calling parents to support learning behaviour, safeguarding. Report writing. Marking. Data. There is certainly some truth in that maxim!

And passive aggressive colleagues who pop in to say “Isn’t it nice to have a couple of hours of gained time now Year 11s are in exams… no excuse not to tidy your classroom…” No excuse? That just cries out lack of imagination! Let me offer plenty of excuses! The fact that I’d rather be reading seems both relevant and valid.


I love my family to death. Of course. That goes without saying.

But also, especially with an autistic daughter, there is a certain additional pressure to care, to support, to nurture, to protect. All of which take time. Time spent with appointments and other professionals whilst we were pursuing her diagnosis, not to mention the time spent arranging and managing those appointments. Negotiating with her school, with her speech and language, her transition… and of course play.

I will never resent the time spent playing Roblox with her, or writing stories side-by-side, or making Scratch games or reading to her, trying to get her riding a bike, chattering about glorious nothings of any consequence or engaging in detailed discussions of the life-cycle of dragons in her imagination – which has become very detailed. But all of this does take up some reading time. I’m not allowed to join in her gymnastics club on a Friday so I can get reading done then in the waiting room; but Saturday’s lego club is one I am expected to be ‘present’ for.

Domestic Jobs: Cooking

I am subdividing this one: cooking has fallen to be – or has been claimed by me as – my job in the house and that does take up a fair bit of time.

Some of the time is saved because my daughter likes a very limited diet ideally comprising of fishy dippers, chips and plain pasta. Unfortunately, I am unwilling to limit myself quite so much, but my wife tends to avoid the salads that I rely on for my diet – healthy and quick through the expedient of eating things raw! There have been more than one occasion when we have had three different meals, at the same time.

But we do all share a Sunday roast together – even if the only meat my daughter will consider is chicken, and even if that has now fallen by the wayside as she attempts to be vegetarian alongside not eating vegetables…. But that’s a full Sunday afternoon, cooking a roast, getting the ironing done alongside. Sometimes I can slip on an audiobook; often I’ll find that my daughter has installed herself on the kitchen stool and might be helping, or playing with PlayDough or her Barbies or her Miraculous dolls alongside me.

And this is before we even consider my baking

Domestic Jobs: Housework

Have there been times when I have looked at the state of the living room and thought “I should tidy up… but sod that, I’m going to read instead”? Obviously. Or times that I have picked up a book thinking “One more chapter, then I’ll hoover…” and found that the hoovering never got done but I’ve enjoyed reading the last five or six chapters immensely!

But there are also times when the demands of living in a home have been too pressing – tidying up, washing up, hoovering, cleaning the bathroom… I’m not pretending for a moment that these chores are done often, but they do get done eventually. Saturday morning Tescos shopping takes a good hour or so, nearly two hours with travelling.

The Garden

I wish I had the knowledge, skills, tools and experience to do our garden justice because it is – or has the potential to be – wonderful. We have plums, apples, walnuts which I am more than happy to take the offerings they give us… but often it is a case that I’m not sure what to do with the garden except mow the lawn and try to keep the shrubs down to a manageable size….

My Blog

Yes, there are times – mainly a Monday night – when I am blogging and thinking “Hmm… I could be reading a book right now instead of blogging about a book…”

We make these choices!


I am told that my exercise regime is a little extreme. I don’t think so. Perhaps you will disagree with me.

I run four times a week, 5ks at 0530 in the morning before work and using 10-20k at a more reasonable hour on one weekend morning. To be fair, I don’t feel I can say that this gets in the way of my reading: a good audiobook keeps me company mostly and you can crank through a good few chapters.

On top of that, I try to keep fit with weights at the weekend and a couple of evenings a week – and although sometimes I will snatch up a book to read a couple of pages in rest periods between sets it is a dangerous habit and the risk of forgetting to finish would be high! Also for some reason – perhaps the constant moving and changing equipment – I don’t find audiobooks work well working out.


I have always enjoyed learning languages, and started with DuoLingo a year or so ago. It’s surprising how much you can pick up with just a few minutes practise a day… and how a few minutes here or there can add up to whole hours eventually.

Currently, I have switched from German to Italian in anticipation of our Rome trip this summer – first time on a plane for both wife and daughter, first time abroad for daughter (unless you count EuroDisney and I’m not sure I do) – and it was a little strange going right back to the beginner core of learning a language again. And it is odd to imagine the situations that may require me to ask “Why is there a fish in the sugar” or “My bear goes hiking in the Summer” or the more existential “Why must we die?” which was thrown at me last week… Let’s be honest, so long as I can ask for an ice cream and a coffee, I’ll probably be happy!

Final Fantasy XIV

This is pure indulgence for me – I did grow up on a diet of Final Fantasy games, albeit a somewhat late comer to the party – and when after a ten year gap and bored one day I stumbled across the fact that Final Fantasy XIV was free (at least the first 50 levels or so), the draw of the nostalgia was too great, and the narrative arcs etc within the game, and the social aspect, are very appealing. But I’m not going to suggest that it is the equivalent of reading!

My Bed

Yes there have been times when I have lamented the fact that I have needed to sleep and had to put a book down… there have been times when I have read on far later than I should have done… I find the 70% mark to be the critical point, personally: all the world building and character development has been done so you can slip readily back into it, and the plot is winding up towards the resolution, and you’ve already become so invested… The first 70% of a book may take a couple of weeks; the last 30%, a (lengthy) night!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

May 23: Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book (these can be auto-buy authors, tropes you love, if an author you love blurbed it, settings, genres, etc.)
May 30: Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book (what are your immediate turn-offs or dealbreakers when it comes to books?)
June 6: Books or Covers that Feel/Look Like Summer (You can interpret this in a number of ways. Maybe the covers or titles are obviously summer themed, but maybe the feeling the book gives you is all warm and summery. Maybe the book cover colors look summery or the story itself takes place in the summertime. Or maybe the titles you select are favorites that you re-read every summer when you were on break from school.)
June 13: Bookish Wishes (I host this topic twice a year (around Christmas and again in June), and people love it! List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you. After you post, jump around the Linky and grant a wish or two if you’d like. Please don’t feel obligated to send anything to anyone!)
June 20: Books on My Summer 2023 to-Read List
June 27: Most Anticipated Books Releasing During the Second Half of 2023
July 4: Book Covers In the Colors of My Country’s Flag (It’s the 4th of July in the USA today, so tell us what country you live in and share book covers that match the colors of your country’s flag!)

13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading”

  1. I have nothing but respect for teachers. My mom taught school for 40+ years and I remember all the late nights she spent grading and working on lesson plans. I also remember helping her clean up her classroom at the end of the year, set it up at the beginning, etc. And then there were the times she came home crying because a kid was especially rude or a parent called to yell at her. SO stressful! I applaud the work you’re doing. It’s so needed, but also SOOOO hard.

    As for cleaning, I *sometimes* handle it like this: read a chapter, load the dishwasher, read a chapter, sweep the floor, read a chapter, scrub the toilet, etc. I also listen to audiobooks while I clean, so that helps with the motivation (especially if it’s a GOOD audiobook).

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!



  2. My blog also takes up a not insignificant amount of my time! I’ve been doing Spanish evening classes since January and doing the homework and prepping for the classes, not to mention actually attending also eats into my reading time, and of course work does too. I don’t exercise nearly as much as you, but I do do a 5k run every week but like you, I listen to an audiobook whilst doing that, so it actually is reading time as well as exercising. I go horse riding every other week as well, and whilst I obviously can’t read whilst doing that, the commuting time to get to the stables means I can get quite a lot of reading done!
    My TTT:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bed… lol, yes, unless the book is good enough to keep me awake! And I am refreshing my French with DuoLingo. I think that Babbel is better, but it also costs money. My remedy for housework: audiobooks!

    Liked by 1 person

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