By Alastair Brown – an author who writes crime thriller books featuring an unlicensed outlaw private eye named Joe Beck who embarks on raw elemental quests for justice.

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This one’s a pretty loaded question, because, really, there is no one best time. Rather, it’s down to whether the environment around you creates the right opportunity to read.

Let’s delve a little deeper by taking a look at most common times when other people tend to read and why.

First thing in the morning. Their alarm has gone off and they’re up  for work. They’ve already taken their shower and are sitting enjoying their first coffee of the day, maybe even with a little breakfast. They’ve got fifteen or twenty minutes of ‘me’ time before they need to hit the road.

During the morning commute to work. They’re sitting on a bus, a train or a plane, even. It’s packed. There’s not a spare seat to be had and they’re stuck next to a stranger they don’t know the first thing about. Their earphones are in and they’re wired up to their cell phones. Maybe they’re listening to some music, or maybe it’s a podcast.

During the lunch-hour in the middle of the day. They’re sitting at a table in the break room. Their lunch is open, their sandwich half-eaten and their can is soda hissing away, letting gas from the fizz escape up into the air. Or, maybe, they’re relaxing in a Cafe. Sipping a cappuccino and nibbling on a crisp, golden toasted sandwich.

During the evening commute home from work. Much like their situation earlier in the day, except everyone around them is a little more tired and a little more wired. The stresses of the day are etched across their faces and the odor of a day’s labor reeks from their pours.

In the later hours of the day. Dinner has been eaten and dishes have been done. Kids have been bathed, changed and set down for a night’s rest. The TV is on, the sound down low, and the lights in the living room dimmed to a dull, relaxing glow.

Last thing at night. They’re all tucked up on bed, relaxing back against the pillows. The sidelight is one and there’s a hot drink on the nightstand. A few swirls of steam eddy upward from the hot, caramel-colored liquid.

Notice the pattern?

There are actually lots of different times of the day you could use to read. Neither one of them really being any better than the others. But no matter what time of day it is, one thing is an absolute must – the ability to focus on the words you’re casting your eyes over. And that doesn’t just mean looking at them. It means seeing them, hearing them, comprehending them and understanding them.

To achieve that state of mind, you need to be free from day’s obligations, free from the life’s distractions, whether that’s checking up on your work emails, looking the your social media notifications on your cell phone, or worrying about the overhanging burden of something else needing done.

The best time to read is when your focus is truly free. When you’re free to concentrate on what you’re reading, free to focus on the words you see and the meaning within them. Because, then, and only then, will you be able to fully understand what you’re reading.

Only then will you ever be able to truly read something. Because, that’s when a book provides you with real lasting value. That’s when it has the chance to make the impression on you that it exists for.

It doesn’t really matter what you read, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, comedy or crime. Just do it when your focus is free.

It may take a few days or weeks, even. But carve out some time to give it a try, and feel free to experiment. Feel free to play around with your time slots. Get up earlier, decline that meeting some inconsiderate asshole sticks in over your lunch hour, leave work on time rather than staying late.

Just carve out that slot in your day where your focus is free, then sit back, relax and enjoy it. Pick up your book and open it at the first page or wherever you left off and just start reading. You’ll thank yourself later when you reach the back cover.

If you read fiction and you like crime thrillers and mysteries, check out my Joe Beck thriller books. You might just find the next book series you’ll become addicted to.

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