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Reclaiming My Time: Steps to Keep Donald Trump from Stealing My Reading Joy

Elizabeth Allen

Staff Writer

Lifelong book lover, Elizabeth Allen managed to get a degree in something completely unrelated that she never intends to use. She’s a proud Connecticut native who lives in a picturesque small town with her black olive-obsessed toddler daughter, her prom date-turned-husband, and her two dim-witted cats Penny Lane and Gretchen Wieners. She spends her days trying to find a way to be paid to read while drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching episodes of Gilmore girls until the DVDs fail, waiting for her husband to feed her, and being obnoxiously vain about her hair. Elizabeth’s work can be found at, where she is currently reading and reviewing all of the books referenced in Gilmore girls. She is also the cohost of two podcasts discussing the work of Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Under the Floorboards” and “Stumbling Ballerinas”). Basically, her entire goal in life is to be a bookish Lorelai Gilmore. She clearly dreams big. Twitter: @BWRBooks

This post on reclaiming reading time is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

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This year has been a tough one. I must admit, I haven’t read more than 20 pages over the past three months. It’s my fault. I spend too much of my time glued to Twitter, wondering what horribly offensive thing is coming out of Trump. I spend my valuable time fighting right wing internet trolls, even though I know full well they can’t be bothered to hear me. I obsessively listen to political podcasts, emotionally hurting myself as I listen to others scream into my carefully chosen liberal bubble.

None of it accomplishes anything, and I know that. But on top of wasting my time, I’ve allowed the GOP to steal my joy. Joy in the form of beautiful words spoken in audiobooks. Joy in the form of selecting new books for my daily commute. Joy in the form of excitedly preordering anticipated releases. I have allowed Trump and his cronies to take from me something that means so much to me. It’s not his fault. Lord knows he doesn’t read, so he doesn’t understand how important this is. This is wholly on me and my inability to look away, even for an hour an evening.

So my New Ear’s Resolution this year is to do as Queen Maxine Waters once said, “reclaim my time.” My commute to work, the time I spend cleaning my house, errands on the weekend…I refuse to allow Trump to rob me of that time any longer. I refuse to allow him to take up space in my brain that could be filled with gorgeous prose or humorous essays.


Here are the steps I hope to take to reclaim my time and gift myself with the opportunity to voraciously consume all the audiobooks I’ve been dying to listen to since the fateful morning of November 9, 2016.

1. Turn off the political podcasts. Sorry to the boys at Pod Save America or the good ladies at Mueller, She Wrote. Mama needs a break!

2. Take a Twitter break. I plan on using an app to keep me from involuntarily opening Twitter while I should be ingesting a book.

3. Stop purchasing books dishing the latest hot goss about the dumpster fire that is the Trump administration. It doesn’t help me. It doesn’t bring me joy. It just makes me mad.

4. Instead of spending my lunch break scrolling through Washington Post or The New York Times, I’m going to use that time to listen to an audiobook. Sorry, WaPo and NYT…we had a good run!

5. Download multiple audiobooks at a time so I feel I have choices. I think this will keep me from deciding to do something else (read: find ways to anger myself further about 45) if I’m just not feeling that particular audiobook I currently have downloaded. Variety is the spice of life…and the way to keep yourself from having a rage aneurysm at the tender age of 37 (shut up).

6. If possible, I’d love to find a separate device that doesn’t allow for internet access. I won’t lie, I’m weak. I know how easy it is to end up on Twitter or Facebook before you even realizing you have your finger on the screen. Downloading my audiobook files to a device with no internet access seems like a good solution.

7. Just remember how much I adore listening to audiobooks. I need to remind myself routinely just what “John Barron” and the Republican party are taking from me when I grant them precious space in my brain. The number of books I’ve missed out on this year is entirely on me…and a true loss. I can’t allow this group of racist, xenophobic transphobes to guarantee me four (please God, I pray of you, only four) years without books.


I wish you all the best of luck in 2019 as you, too, try to take your reading life back! Let’s reclaim our time…let’s reclaim our joy!