Until about three years ago, I was a one-at-a-time person for reading books. I started and finished right away every book that I opened. No matter how long the book was, I focused 100% of my attention on it for as long as there were pages left to read. Then George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones happened and I started taking breaks. I realized that, as much as I loved the Song of Ice and Fire series, I couldn’t read them straight through. There was too much going on, too many characters, and sometimes I just needed to come back later with a more refreshed mind. So I’d start another book, read it for a while, and then pick back up where’d I’d left off in A Game of Thrones. However, one book soon became two, then three, until I found myself splitting time on upwards of five books at once.
Suffice it to say that my “Currently Reading” shelf on Goodreads is far more populated than it used to be. At last count, there were five books holding residence there. I have one “respectable” book for reading during my lunch breaks at work, a contemporary story that I’m listening to as an audio book during my commutes, a dystopian that I’m reading before bed in my non-existent free time, a biography of Walt Disney that I read off and on whenever I’m in the mood, and of course a George R.R. Martin book for whenever I strike up the courage to dive back in. They all have their own purposes and each of them is different enough from the other that I don’t get them confused, but it is a lot of books to be reading simultaneously.
Typically speaking, my “before bed” book (currently The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan) eventually becomes my “can’t-stop-must-finish” book. It’s usually a lighter, young adult adventure story of some kind and more likely to be my favorite on the “Currently Reading” shelf. I fly through these books because they are fast paced, but also easier to read. Sometimes I’ll even stop reading everything else for a while and just carry that around in my purse until I finish it. And I can get so engrossed in these books sometimes that I often wonder why I don’t just go back to reading this way – starting and finishing one book at a time.
I love the feeling of being so sucked into a book that you can’t think about anything else. I love being drawn into the story and the adventure so much so that I don’t want to be interrupted by anything else. So why do I keep splitting my time?
The simple answer is that I get bored. As much as I love the Song of Ice and Fire books, they can sometimes be a little dense, which makes for slow reading. There isn’t always action happening in the plot and it’s hard to keep focus on the author’s very meticulous character development for long periods at a time. Biographies are much the same some for me recently. I love learning about people and their histories, but they don’t usually make for light reading. At the end of a long day of work or class, it’s hard to take in additional information, even if its information that you’re interested in. The brain just reaches a certain point where it’s too tired to do that kind of work. So I reach for something lighter, but keep those books on my “Currently Reading shelf” for as long as it takes me to have the energy and enthusiasm to finish them.
What does your “Currently Reading” shelf look like? Are you a “one-at-a-time” person or do you find your attention wanders like mine? Let me know in the comments down below!