Book Monogamy?


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.



Filed under Books

3 responses to “Book Monogamy?

  1. Emily

    I agree. When I’m reading–or when I start reading again on Saturday after my week of reading deprivation–I usually have at least four or five going at once, though I usually don’t cheat in the same genre. There’s usually just one (maybe two) novels, a self-helpy kind of book, something on art, something spiritual, something nonfiction-scientific and so on.

  2. booksherpa

    Oh, I cheat in the same genre. I have a book “type” just like I have a “type” of guy (tall, dark-haired, wickedly funny). I date around in fiction, though I tend to pop around to different types of fiction.

  3. I usually have one going at work, and one at home. Right now I have three.

    I attribute it to comics, as you may. At the height of my comic collecting, I was getting 20 comics [was working a ton of OT, luckily] a week. So keeping 80+ story lines going a month really stretched the ability to maintain somewhat cohesive thought.

    Phyl Green have had this conversation a few times. 🙂

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