Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Guilty Or Not?

Are you guilty of regularly reading more than one book at a time?

I know I am. Currently I'm reading A Meeting At Corvallis by S. M. Stirling, Dream Warrior (Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest), as well as A Very Short History of the Crusades by Christopher Tyerman. On top of those three, I've just started William Gibson's classic science-fiction novel Neuromancer.

The thing is, although I typically am reading more than one book at any one time, I don't really like doing so. It's too easy to put a book down because I'm not getting into it that day, and not pick the book up again, letting it fall further and further along by the wayside, leading to abandoned books. Have I ever got too many of those. A lot of them are on my 'to read' list so I can give them another chance.

Not to mention the way reading this way slows down actually completing a book or remembering the details of the beginning of the book in question for reviewing once I've finished reading it. If I was just reading the one book at a time, I'd probably have Dream Warrior finished and reviewed by now.

Given that at least one of the books I'm currently reading (and this is typically true right now) is a textbook for classes, I find I don't have a choice about reading multiple books at a time. I tend to excuse the others in the same way, as in 'this one's for reading at home' and 'this one at work on breaks'. Usually it's the one I'm reading at home that falls out of the rotation as I get caught up in one of the other books.

There are some trends I've noticed on my reading. Generally, it's the hardcovers and trade-paperbacks that get dropped from the rotation first. Probably because they're more awkward to carry around. Mass-market books fit nicely in coat pockets making them the more convenient to read by far, especially on the bus.

Oddly enough, it's usually the books I haven't read before that get abandoned, but not always. I'm far more likely to finish a book on a re-read a lot of the time, although I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps it's because often the books I re-read are ones I consider to be 'old friends'. I'm familiar with them and they take little mental energy to focus on and enjoy. Do you find this to be the case as well?

How do you plead? Do you have the self-control to only read one book at a time? Resist the temptation of starting the book you've been waiting for and just got until what-ever book you've been reading is finished? Even if you say yes, I'm not entirely certain I hear the needed conviction in your voice for me to believe it. After all, the newest Sherrilyn Kenyon novel, Dream Warrior, came out two days ago, and I hear it calling your name (or at least mine).

In a related vein, what does it take to get you to abandon a book partway through, and if you abandon a book once, do you go back and try reading it again later?
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