My reading habits are a little strange these days. I wrote a little while ago how simply using a bookmark helped change my reading habits when it came to the many collected editions of comics that I have but today I’m writing about reading regular old books and magazines. Maybe not so much about books because I’ve been in the middle of a book on the history of British camouflage since the summer but I have done my best to keep up with my magazine reading.

My magazine reading once was much more voluminous than it is today. In the 1990s I had subscriptions to at least ten if not fifteen magazines a month. I read through them all cover to cover too. Of course I was doing a lot more commuting in those days which offered a lot of down time to squeeze in some magazine reading and that was just waiting for the bus. It took me years though to be able to read on a moving bus without getting motion sick but after that I read even more books and magazines.

My count is down to two magazines these days, “The Sun”, a literary magazine, and “Archeology”, a magazine about current finds in archeology. And “Archeology” isn’t even a monthly. It’s pretty easy to get through one and a half magazines a month but sometimes I don’t even manage to do that. Sometimes it takes two months. Yet I somehow always manage never to have a magazine sitting around unread longer than that. That’s when I say to myself, “Either sit down and read this or throw it away”. I always choose to read it.

I also, on occasion, pick up a comic book related magazine called “Back Issue”. It’s a magazine that’s all about comic books from the 1970s and the 1980s and is jam packed with good articles. It’s right up my alley so I usually enjoy it but I hadn’t picked up an issue of it in a little while. Probably because I always had an issue or two of “The Sun” and “Archeology” waiting to be read so I didn’t want to add to the pile. I most often have plenty to read.

What recently slowed down my magazine reading was reading books on my iPad. I got that a little over a year ago and found that I liked reading books on the iPad. Between some good non-fiction finds (my normal reading material) and a few on-sale-for-a-dollar thrillers I’ve read quite a few things digitally in the last year. I haven’t read on the iPad in a couple of months though because it got cold out. I was really enjoying reading out in the hammock on a nice summer evening but since the weather turned to fall my iPad reading has dropped off. That’s what they mean by “Summer reading”.

That gap in reading was filled for a while by playing video games on the iPad. Especially the new type of endless running games that have proliferated. They are perfect for taking a ten minute break with and then putting down and getting back to work. Of course this means not spending my ten minute break reading. Not that I always read as I take a break but that is certainly good magazine time.

It was about a month ago that I picked up a copy of the latest “Back Issue”. There is generally quite a bit to read in one of those but I finished the whole thing in a few days and enjoyed it. I liked it so much that on my next trip the comic shop I purchased another issue that I didn’t have. And there it sat for a month. I meant to get around to reading it but I didn’t. I just plain got out of the habit of reading my magazines again.

All of my ten minute break time was being taken up by reading stuff online or playing “Subway Surfer”. I can’t even tell you what I read online. It was just the usual web surfing where one thing leads to another. I often find that type of reading to be less than fulfilling but it sure can chew up a ten minute, or even a half an hour, break.

“Subway Surfer” is a fun game but not particularly a deep one. You run, you pick up coins, and you try not to get hit by things and die. I like the game but it got to the point that I’d pick it up and play it out of habit for a few minutes. I didn’t even always enjoy playing but there I was endlessly running around and over trains while barely processing the whole experience. I needed to change my ten minute break habits.

On one of my recent trips to my local comic shop I saw the latest issue of “Back Issue” and it looked cool. It was all about the tabloid sized comics from the 1970s and it was printed tabloid size just like those old comics. I knew I still had another unread issue at home and so I passed it by. At least for a week. I finally decided to get it because I wanted to change my downtime habits. Video games and web surfing were driving me crazy with my inability to be mindful during them. The following week I picked up the issue. Plus a new issue of “The Sun” also arrived in my mailbox that week. I was set magazine-wise.

So there I had an issue of “The Sun” and two issues of “Back Issue” on my “To Read” pile. My plan was to read one of them a week for the next three weeks. Then a funny thing happened. I was enjoying reading them so much that I finished all three in about six days. It became my habit to pick one up whenever I sat down in my chair. I figured I’d pick up my web browser or video games less often but not as little as I did. It was a lot more interesting to read magazines out of habit than jump over trains out of habit.

I haven’t read many of my new comic books though since I read those three magazines. Somehow the habit of reading one overwrites the habit of reading the other. That happens when I read novels or non-fiction but not usually with magazines. I think I’m reading my magazines with more intensity than normal. But now I’m out of them. Good thing I have some comic books on my “To read” pile. Oh, and that book on camouflage.