At the moment I am currently engaged in an act which I have previously cringed at and generally scorned. That is to say, I am reading more than one book concurrently. In the last week or so, I found myself in various stages of reading a biography of Oscar Wilde, a proto-feminist novel set in ancient Greece, Twilight, a book about how to make a movie from script to sound editing, some more Holmes, and, rather lackadaisically, some books to prep for graduate school about the British empire. Prior to this month, I’ve been a faithful reader of one book at a time. When I read a book, it received all my undivided attention. Now I’ve suddenly become a literary polygamist and I’m not entirely sure I approve!
On the one hand, there is something to be said for reading one book at a time. You are presumably more involved with it and are able to focus on it more thoroughly. Your read can become deeper and, rather than having half a dozen plots and characters whirring around in your mind, you have only the one book to ponder.
But on the other hand, is it really worth missing six other books you might have enjoyed whilst doggedly trudging through the one you’re currently reading? It seems painful to have to commit to read an entire drudgery while other interesting books beckon from the shelf.
Thus I find myself reading numerous books while still merrily checking more out of the library and it’s getting a bit much! I’m unused to this many books whizzing around in my life. Having shiny vampires intruding into ancient Sparta while tying The Sign of Four into notions of British orientalism and imperialism and at the same time fretting alternately about the egocentrism of being a film director and how Kathy Reichs’ books compare to “Bones” is all getting a bit twisted. I think I’m ready to settle down again after all this bookish hubbub.
So are you a literary polygamist or are you true to your book one and only? And is there a better or worse way to read?