How “flit-reading” among books inspired me to write

book opened on white surface selective focus photography

When I think about a recent line I read, I can’t help but pump a fist in the air and say a definitive YES!

In the novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which was made into a film I recently reviewed), co-authors Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows had one of their characters say this in a letter to another:

That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you on to another book, and another bit there will lead you on to a third book. It’s geometrically progressive — all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”

It’s how I have been reading for several years now. Not one book at a time, but several books at a time. All because each one led me to the other, then another. Even as I’m still ploughing through the first couple of books!

Leading me to conclude that one plus one really equals many!

There’s always something else to read

woman surfing internet with mobile phone
Photo by Tim Samuel on

Well okay, I’m exaggerating a little.

I don’t so much READ several books at a time as HAVE several books at a time. Just to, ya know, have the option to jump from one book to another depending on what I fancy at any moment. For as much as I use to lament that my students don’t read long-form anymore, the truth is that like them, my attention span has also been seriously compromised, thanks to the digital revolution.

So all I’m saying is, flitting’s good for restless readers like me!

There was a time between the eighties and the noughties when I would devour the pages of books one page at a time, one book at a time, from cover to cover. With laser focus and next to no distractions.

Sighhh…those were the days!

But those days are far behind me now. In fact, it’s far behind many of us now I suspect.

These days, it’s all about what I call “flit-reading”. Get the gist from titles, lead paragraphs, or introductions. Decide in the next second if it’s worth the time to read the rest of it now. If yes, proceed. If not, bookmark for later, move on or just hit ‘delete’ altogether.

After all, there’s always something else to read, watch, view or scroll.


Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not dis-sing flit-reading here. In fact, it’s precisely this style of reading that’s led me to my earlier conclusion. The one that goes…

One book + one book = many books!

Photo by Emily on

A week ago, I posted about what to me was akin to a match made in heaven for readers — print plus audio books.

In fact, I credit audio books for bringing to my awareness this bliss I call flit-reading.

Back in 2019 when I left full-time work to be a full-time stay at home dad (SAHD), a book that got me through that transition into the unknown was “Simply Tuesday: Small-moment living in a fast-moving world” by Emily P Freeman, author and host of podcast The Next Right Thing.

It was actually an audio book. In it, I found a soothing balm that got me through some difficult and lonely moments in my SAHD journey.

In that book, I also found a reference to another book Emily quoted, which was later to become my go-to book on how to write memoirs. Specifically, Emily quoted the following from “The Memoir Project: A thoroughly non-standardized text on writing and life” by former NYT staffer and now online writing coach Marion Roach Smith:

“It’s in the small moments that life is truly lived.”

I remember when I first heard that I had to pause and rewind the audio book so I could listen to that bit again. It spoke to me at a moment I desperately needed comfort and assurance that my chosen SAHD life had meaning.

And I found myself immediately curious to know more. So I began my first ‘flit’ from one book to another.

From Marion’s book, I found more ‘leads’ that led me to best-selling authors. These include (but are by no means limited to) Steven Pressfield — The War of Art: break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles — and Anne Lamott — Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life.

Each feeding me nuggets of wisdom and advice that’s sharpened my writing acumen, and progressively polished my prose.

Which just goes to show that one plus one truly equals many. And how “flit-reading” among books has inspired me to write. To get on this road which has since become the mini-wonder of a blog writing life you now see on!

So to my near 300 subscribers, now you know. Thanks for journeying right along with me to what is now this, my 333rd blog post on the 30th day of the 3rd month of the year! *smile*

Hope to still have your company each week as I flit-read and write.

From now ’til Kingdom comes.

One thought on “How “flit-reading” among books inspired me to write

  1. I love that line of small moments. Life indeed is a series of ‘everyday moments’, ones that we need to appreciate, as cliched as that is. Washing the dishes, mopping the floor, waking up early… again—all those moments make up our lives, and as dreadful as some things are in our daily lives, we still need to remember that we’ll never have this moment again. As usual, thanks for this post, Kelvin!

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