I just got a notice that two new books I had holds on at the library are now available for me to pick up. I admit, this delights me to no end—even though I’m actively working my way through no less than six books at the moment. Some people think I’m utterly insane to read this way—I’ve even had one or two people refuse to believe that I could possibly keep all those storylines straight in my head at once, but this has really never been an issue for me. If a book isn’t memorable enough for me to remember the storyline on its own, it’ll hardly mess me up when I’m reading it alongside other books. But I never mean to get to the point where my Currently-Reading stack gets to tottering heights—it just happens.
I think this is a holdout from my schooling days. The fact is, I’ve always been a bit of a slow reader. My nearly-completed goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks has been a serious challenge for me this year, as you can probably tell by some of the embarrassing selections on that list (please don’t look too closely! haha). In high school—and moreso by about a hundred times in college—this meant pushing and pushing and pushing myself to finish the required reading. For a girl who liked to take 18+ credits at a time when she could, with most of them being lit. classes—that was a TON of reading. I’ll confess here and now that I don’t think I finished three-fourths of the books I was supposed to in college.
Then when I was done, my TBR list had pretty much EXPLODED. First there were the old classics I’d been wanting to re-read but simply hadn’t had time for, and then there were the books I’d been snapping up in bookstore sales and tucking away for the past four years, and then there was a whole other stack that was made exclusively of—yes, those books I didn’t get to finish (or read so quickly that I didn’t absorb half of) of my assigned reading. The Russian authors alone on that list make an impressive pile of would-be-read books, and I haven’t so much as touched them yet, even though my badly water-damaged copy has been waiting eagerly for me for me since I took the class in 2004.
The ironic thing is, after I finished school I could barely stand to look at a book. I was just burnt out. I had to force myself through even old favorites. And by favorites, I mean ecstatic, I-could-read-this-book-forever type of favorites. But slowly—and largely due to friendly reading challenges like the one mentioned above—I definitely got my reading groove back. Boy did I ever. The problem remained, though, and remains still, that I can name a couple dozen books I want to read off the top of my head at any one moment… which I guess is why I end up reading half a dozen at once.
I get very ADD about this sometimes—list the books out in my head and read one chapter as each and it as a cycle, but usually I have one book that I let myself read more of if I want to (or if I need a purse book for waiting rooms, etc!)—right now for me that book is Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament, because I just can’t put it down. But probably other people aren’t quite as crazy about this stuff as I am.
What about you? Can you read more than one book at a time? Do you like to? Not like to? What are you reading now?