Thursday, September 23, 2010


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 " 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?


  1. Hello Sis - I admire your multi-tasking and at our age too!! I'm afraid my mind gets all of the books confused - so I basically stick to about two books. Right now I am reading a wonderful book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Clay is studying it in Sunday School. Check out his web site it is great. And of course I'm getting ready to read the September T & T Selection! I like the way you have put reading in all corners of your world though - that is a great thing! I guess I am more like brother-in-law Dave - a serial reader - it fits my ocd'ish lifestyle better huh?

    Until next time - - - Teri

  2. No I am not. I used to be. Growing up I always had a handful of books that I read at the same time and people would always marvel how I was able to keep the various plots straight. They were always fiction and most likely all YA. Which may explain why I can't remember exactly all the plot lines of books from my youth! But now I am just like Dave. I read one at a time all the way through, every time. I can't stand the idea of not knowing how something ends, yet I hate spoilers so I don't want to just skip ahead ;0)

  3. I'm with you Tami. We could form a Multi-Read Club. Here is today's list: an Agatha Christie, The Amish Cook, The Wake of Forgiveness, Tapestry of Love, Bookmarks Magazine, plus my Bible and daily devotional book. That's four books, a magazine and my morning devotionals. That's about normal for me. I'm just about done with the Agatha Christie and I've already pulled up another book to add to the stack when I'm done.

    I'm not a speed reader. I just like the variety. I'll read several chapters in each book as I go along. Later today I'm going to do some baking and housecleaning so I will plug in my ipod. I'm listening to some short stories there. To me it's similar to watching a couple of hours of TV where the shows change. I like it that way.

  4. I have never had multiple books going at once until recently. Mostly that's because I pick books up, tire of them then move on. But that first book isn't something I'm entirely ready to give up on. Then there are books for review and books for book club that complicate things time wise. How do you keep things straight?

  5. I used to be a devoted one book reader, but recently started doing two books -- one of which is either very long and broken up into chunks (like The Brothers Karamazov) and one that is my "real" book -- the one I like reading. I do find that I have to have two very different books to read at the same time so I don't mix them up!