How often do I struggle with this question? I already know the answer, but of late when it comes to reading and whether I am a one at a time or many at once reader, I seem to have gone overboard. Yes, I am most decidedly a more than one book at a time reader. Before I began blogging I never gave it much thought. I might have two or even three books on the go at once, but not more than that. I read about one book a week and rarely more than that.
So, is it blogging (and access to so many books and so many other readers who tempt me even more books--yes, you . . . ) or is it just the general state of my life lately? I don't just read two or three books at once. I won't even mention how many books are sitting on my nightstand at the moment (let's just say that photo above is not entirely accurate). I know I have mentioned this many times this year, but with no resolution to the problem.
But my reading has truly gotten a little out of control this year. I think it reflects the state of my life, which is restless at best. It's not that I can't settle to one or two good stories, as I am more than happy to read any book from my night stand. I want to read all of them--that's my problem. Everything sounds interesting. Or maybe my attention span has just shrunk. I know other readers have similar habits---reading a couple or three different books at once or having certain books for certain places or times of the day (a bedside book maybe and one for the sitting room or one to take on the daily commute . . .). Yes, that's me, all of the above.
As enthusiastic as I am about my books, even I can't read all the books I set out to in a day (I find myself sneaking ever more books into my bookbag lately). I start out with a couple that I set aside the night before, but then take a few more to the breakfast table to read a page or two or look over a new book or a library book, and all of a sudden I find myself slipping just one more into my bag. Even I find it a little ridiculous and then I can't possibly squeeze them all in over the course of the workday--lunch, two short breaks and my gym workout. It adds up to a nice chunk of reading time, but not that much time.
It must stop. I have to get back to a more reasonable reading routine. I need to learn how to focus again. I need to stop myself from giving into bookish temptations at every whim. I wish sometimes that I was a faster reader, that I could finish more books in shorter periods of time, but I can't. I have to slow down and let myself be in a story and let myself enjoy it and not rush off to the next one so quickly (and without having finished some other book first). It sounds easy, doesn't it?
So, this is my idea. Before I can start a new book, I have to finish two in progress books first (until the stack is whittled down into something a little more reasonable). Into my bookbag will go my ipad (which has two galley copies on it and Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd). And then, so I don't go into a terrible state of withdrawal--two other books. The ipad is what I take to the gym to read and I have been very good lately at just rotating between the books I am reading on it. As for the other two books? The books I am closest to finishing, of course--Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon and The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill, which is also a review copy and a very good read indeed. As soon as I finish one, another from the night stand can go into the bookbag, and after two books are finished I can either allow myself something new or just keep moving through the pile. My motivation is going to be being able to pick a RIP read soon (or a new book to take on vacation--yikes, how will I get around vacation reading?).
It sounds really easy in theory, don't you think? And I know many of you have much better reading habits than I do and must be mystified by this post in general. I guess if there is one aspect of my life I am going to obsess about, books are probably one of the more harmless. If I can learn to take things slower and easier, maybe the rest of my life will follow suit.
And you? One book or many? Do you ever find yourself getting too involved in too many books at once? And what do you do to get back on track? Do you have a reading rotation or some sort of system to keep the books under control? Check back in a week or so and I'll let you know how I get on. If I fail miserably I can put all this down to the heat!