Book juggling

Jamie from the Perpetual Page Turner just wrote a post on how she has gone from being a monogamist when it comes to books, to becoming a book polygamist. I thought it was really interesting, because it’s something I think about too so I thought I’d write a response sort of. I don’t know how long I’ve been doing it, but I feel like it’s been forever, I read more than one book at a time. It’s usually no more than 3, because I’m limited, but I can’t read just one. I must have done at some point, I remember reading only one book, finishing and then starting a new one, but maybe high school, or when I started University.

It’s mostly because I like having options. I like the idea that if I get a bit sick of the book I’m reading I can switch to something else, and that works as a palate cleanser, and then I can go back to the other one. It also helps if I’m reading a really long or heavy, or just physically big book. I read the last Wheel of Time book last year, and it’s huge. I bring books with me everywhere, and some of them are just not made for that, so I need smaller books for when I take the bus for example. It also gives me the opportunity to switch between genres and types. Right now I’m reading a Norwegian book when I take the bus, and the plot, or concept, is too confusing to explain here, but it’s very meta. When I get home, or I’m going to bed, I read Emma by Jane Austen. So they’re different and that’s good.

Jamie mentioned having designated books for designated places, like a nanny-ing book on her Kindle, and an audiobook for when she’s at the gym, which I’ll get back to. I also have that to a certain extent. I have the bus books, as mentioned, it lives in a bag, because I scuff my books, so my mother made me a bag for my books. It lives there, and then I bring that bag when I go somewhere. I also have a Kindle, which is good, because I get a bit panicky when I have to go a long time without books, so if I’m near the end of a book and I’m going somewhere I will bring an extra book, or the Kindle, so I have something in case I finish the book I’m reading. This also leads to a lot of planning if I’m going on holiday, which is why the Kindle is a blessing. I can pack a whole library without filling up my bags.

I have often felt like Rory in an episode of Gilmore Girls (S02E07). In the beginning of the episode she is growling at her backpack because it won’t fit her entire library, and she explains to her mother that she needs all the books, because what if she’s craving that book, or she gets sick of this book. I do sometimes have that. I worry I’ll bring like three books, and then I’ve read two of them and I really don’t want to read the last one. I am weirdly neurotic about these things.

Having more options makes me feel like it’s less like work, which sounds a bit silly, but I do struggle a lot with putting down books I hate. I feel like I should give them a chance, even if I want to kill them. In that way it helps to read more than one, because I can fool myself to think I’ll go back to it. Jamie also mentioned it feels like she’s finishing more books, I definitely get that feeling too, although I have no idea if it’s accurate.

It is a way of reading that not everyone gets or manages, but I have tried, more than once to quit reading this way, because it felt like it was getting out of hand, so I went back to reading one book at a time, and it just fell apart right away. I literally behaved like a naughty kid breaking the rules, even though I was technically a grown up.

As mentioned Jamie said she listens to audiobooks at the gym, which I have tried, once, but my brain does not work that way. I like having music at the gym, this might sound weird, but I need beats, and singing. I’m weird. I like having music when I work out. It’s weird.

Anyway. I think we can all agree I’m weird and I like to have lots of books at once. And I am a reading genius. It’s great. I realize it’s not for everyone, but it works for me.