A conversation I had recently…
Me: I just finished reading The Lazarus Project. I’m still pondering how I felt about it. Also, I’m up to page 827 of Infinite Jest. Only 154 pages to go (plus two pages of footnotes).
Dignan: You had to cheat on IJ with another book. You should probably just give up now.
Me: I think I’ve cheated on it with three so far. I’m not usually monogamous with books, though.
And it’s true. I usually am reading at least two books at once. Maybe it’s a classic case of ADD, or perhaps I’m just such a ravenous consumer of literature that I’m obsessively compelled to “read it all”. I particularly find it helpful to read multiple books when I’m working through something that’s particularly dense or long (like Infinite Jest, Against the Day, or Europe Central). I have to take breaks from those 1,000 page books – especially when they’re as complex as IJ.
Since I’ve had my Kindle, this behavior has grown even more consistent. I like to have a book going on the Kindle, but then I feel guilt that I’m not reading one of the many, many novels sitting on my bookshelves. Consuming two books at once helps me feel like I’m racing faster to get through my massive “to be read” list. Ultimately, it makes for a rich and varied experience, and feels like I’m giving my brain a good stretch. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.