A week or two ago, I came across this article from the Chicago Tribune. I can't remember who shared the link, but I appreciate them providing proof that I am not alone in my schizophrenic reading habits. Julia Keller, the author of the article, contends that "Life...is enriched year-round when lived amid a multiplicity of books, all of which you're reading concurrently."
Dave is a "serial reader...plowing through a single book without pausing to read anything else." He is also a firm proponent of the "You started it, you have to finish it" school of reading theory - another area where we disagree. If, after about a hundred pages, I don't feel any interest in knowing how a story comes out, I'm on to the next book. Life is too short to waste time on bad books. But today we're focusing on "multi-reading" (like multi-tasking only more fun).
I always have multiple books in progress. Number one is my "main book", the one on which I focus the majority of my pleasure-reading time. This is usually a book I own or have properly borrowed from the library. However, you are all aware of my library job and my possibly-illegal addiction to sneaking out the new arrivals before their pub. date so, occasionally - I'm seriously trying to wean myself - I put aside my main book to race through a new book so it can be catalogued, processed and shelved by release date, then I return to my regularly scheduled book.
I'm not a fan of listening to the radio, so I keep an audio book in my car and listen in spurts. Since we live four blocks from the library and one block from the grocery store, my daily drive time is minimal, so this story can take weeks to get through. For that reason, I choose something light, without an intricate plot that requires lots of attention.
I keep a different audio book in progress on my MP3. I have sleep issues so listening to a story gives me something to focus on rather than my 101 real and/or imaginary problems. Since the idea is to soothe me to sleep, this is usually a re-read - something I'm familiar enough with that I can pick it up from approximately where I fell asleep and be none the worse for missing a page or two.
I live by Mythbuster Adam Savage's adage, "I reject your reality and substitute my own", so non-fiction is rarely a part of my reading world, but occasionally it's necessary in order to complete a challenge, or for educational purposes or (heaven forbid!) just because a topic catches my interest. Since I go into withdrawals without a regular fiction fix,I tend to take my reality in small doses interspersed into my main book.
As if that's not enough, I keep an emergency book in my car for waiting rooms, single lunches or unexpected road-side stops; and one in the bathroom - and we'll just leave that alone.
This multi-reading scheme may seem scattered to the serial-readers among you, and it may well be a symptom of my disorderly mind, but I prefer to think of it as exercise for the brain. I'm staving of dimentia by tracking multiple plots. Are you a multi-reader?