For the majority of my life, I’ve been monogamous when it comes to books. Start one, finish it. Start another and repeat process. I always thought it would be this way – I read fast enough so that the ‘other’ book I desperately want to read will have its place in the sun soon. Plus, how could I ever keep multiple plots, characters and twists in my head?
Then I started getting a bit sneaky, dipping in and out of the odd non-fiction book while I was reading another book. This wasn’t cheating, I told myself – it was learning and entertainment.
A few years later and I changed worksites – the new place was quicker to get to using public transport. So, I decided that I’d have a separate read for commuting – something I figured it wouldn’t be devastating if I accidently left the book at work. (Actually, it is devastating I found out later because you have nothing to read on the way home. This is where a Kindle/Kobo app comes in very handy. The worst case scenario is no book and no phone battery!)
You can tell that by now I was slipping into book polygamy, completely obliviously. Then this week, I decided I needed a lighter read as well to ‘tune out’ after exams. My current fiction and non-fiction reads were too heavy to hold in the air while I lay down; my commuting book is…for commuting…
And that’s how I ended up reading four books at once this week. On reflection, I don’t think I’ll go back to reading just one book. It’s nice to have something to pick from based on how I feel – if I’m feeling really tired, I’ll go for my light read. If I want to read for just a little while, I’ll pick the non-fiction book (I find these easier to stop reading). But sometimes, one story will take over and I’ll read it, excluding all others until it’s finished. I’m not ashamed; in fact I’m a little bit proud that I can keep track of characters and plots in my mind. You can also probably tell how busy/tired I’ve been by the books I’ve finished recently.
Are you a one book person? Do you have different reads for different occasions? I’d love to know if I’m not the only two (or three or four) timer out there!