Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sometimes, one is not enough. It feels impossible to commit. You become enamored of one, then get bored, and pick up another. That one is too intense, so you flirt with the first again.
I'm speaking, of course, of books. Or, as I like to call them, "Multiple reading partners."
I don't think there's been a time since I started reading chapter books when I had less than two books going at the same time. It's probably grown from my library trips, in which I am determined to take home a well-rounded assortment of reading material. Many times when I get the books home, I try out a chapter or two of each, trying to get a feel for the book and deciding whether I want to read it. I almost always want to continue, because it's hard for me to give up on a book I've already picked out, no matter how poor the writing is at first. So there I am, a few feet deep into each tome, and running out of bookmarks.
Some books are meant to be read in one glorious sitting, at the beach, by the pool, or during a long, lazy rainy day. At the end of those books, you feel self-indulgent, but very satisfied. I'm talking about light, fun women's fiction, about baking or fashion or romantic mishaps, or quick-read mysteries. I'm also referring to major life events like the release of a Harry Potter book. (I remember exactly when and where I read each one. I do not understand how it is possible for anyone to put them down, let alone not finish one.)
But most books are slower reads. You pick them up and read a few chapters before bed. You throw them into your briefcase and grab a few minutes to read during your lunch break. You leave them sitting on the shelf, bookmark sticking haphazardly out of the top, dusting over with reproach and waiting for you to remember it's there. These are the books whose plots are beautifully written, but move slowly. Or they have a drier subject, such as the mating habits of bees or accounting for dummies- things you want to know about, but can't manage to swallow much of at a time.
And of course, there are books that live in-between. Not one-day binges, not nibbled at over months, but books to snack on for a week or two.
Here's what I am reading right now:
Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Run by Ann Patchett
On Writing by Stephen King
The Confession by John Grisham (on my Kindle, which is kept in my briefcase)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (on audiobook, in my car)
What are your multiple reading partners?