It happens to the best of us. We peruse our Goodreads TBR list or go to the shelves of unread books in our bookcases and carefully select the next text to read. We commit to said book wholeheartedly. We promise to take it with us everywhere and open it up every chance we get. We will read its pages with zeal and dedication.
…And then someone gives us a book as a gift 2 days later.
A week after that, a stay-at-home-mom in one of our “For Sale” groups on Facebook posts that they are cleaning out their garage and have 7 boxes of books priced at $0.25 a piece, because they “must go ASAP” to make room for her new .
We clutch our book of choice to our chests hoping to project our undying dedication, all the while knowing that our attention is being called elsewhere. And then we do the unthinkable. We take the plunge into the depths of the multiple-books-being-read-at-one-time relationship.
We know good and well what we are entering into. We can’t find it in our hearts to put that first-choice book back on the shelf, but we can’t let go of the shiny new book either. We love each equally to begin with, and want to give as much time to both sets of pages. Sometimes, we finish both around the same time and know that we must let them both go. Other times, one grabs our interest while the other falls by the wayside. We swear we will, from here on out, dedicate our attention to only one book at a time. One set of pages with one cover. But we do it again. And again.
Our guilt overpowers us until one day, we decide with clarity (and a little resignation) that succumbing to the allure of a new book, even if we haven’t finished the one currently in our bags or cars or on our Kindle, is perfectly okay. We realize that we are far too free-spirited to commit to one book at a time– at least for now.
And now for a little confessional:
Right now I’m reading 3 books. I’ve got a really great book about books (more specifically it explores how the mind processes the act of reading), a memoir, and a new age/spiritual deal. When I was in college and taking 6 literature classes– never at the same time of course– it was very easy to zero in on one book at a time since it had to be read by a specific date. Now that I have my freedom back, I want to read everything, all the time, right now. Sometimes I don’t want to have to process how my brain computes what I’m reading, so I sit the book about reading down and pick up the one about the chick that’s learning to cope with her husband’s untimely death and a newborn. And then that gets a little too heartbreaking for me, so I put it down and read a little more about the evolution about the human spirit. And the cycle continues.
I wasn’t always a multiple-books-at-one-time-reader. Maybe this is a byproduct of being nearly fresh out of college and wanting to take my reading life back into my own hands. Maybe I’m taking my re-found reading freedom a little too far, but at the moment, I’m content with it.
Do you read more than one book at a time? What are your motives for doing so, and how does it work out for you?
Photo credit for first (feature) picture: flickr.com user Eunice. Photo credit for second picture: me!