One of the most frequent questions I get asked relating to my erratic reading habits is “why do you read so many books at the same time?,” or something else to that effect, so I thought it would be fun to explore the reasoning behind why I am currently reading a grand total of twenty-three books.
Before I begin analysing my reasons, it is worth noting that if it weren’t for Goodreads I would probably stipulate that I was currently reading maybe six or seven books: trust that pesky book cataloging website for proving me wrong!
I always have different books on the go purely because I read so many different formats. I have paperbacks, hardbacks, advanced reader copies (ARCs), eBooks and audiobooks on the go at all times, and I often switch between different editions of the same book. My primary reason for this is ease of access. If I’m travelling for a short break, it’s likely I’ll only take my phone and Kindle, hence I always need to have an audiobook and eBook amongst my current reads. If I’m heading on holiday, I’ll probably take a pile of ARCs to blaze through on my sunbed with a pina colada (or three) in my other hand. At home, I tend to favour physical books of some description. And just like that, I can be reading upwards of twenty books at a time.
Although it pains me to say it somewhat, at times I get insanely bored by certain genres. I’m sure this happens to many people, but my issue is that it often happens midway through books: sometimes even really great books. My main problem is that I’ve been in such an anti-fantasy reading slump over the past year or so, that I start books and cast them aside part way through (with every intention of picking them up again once the mood strikes). Building on this point, as a mood reader I’m well versed in reaching for whatever I feel like reading at any particular time, and those books that I don’t fly through can end up sitting on my currently reading pile for months.
“But don’t you get confused between books?”
Strangely, no. My brain has always been adept at separating literature from one another, so much so that I can typically remember many finer details of books I read over a decade ago. As a result, I’ve never had an issue in reading multiple books at once, even those within the same genre.
Despite all this, to completely counteract my entire stance (and the point of this blog post), I do sometimes wish that I was currently reading fewer books. There are times when I look at my virtual shelf on Goodreads and sigh a little too heavily. My response to these infrequent but serious freak outs might surprise you however, as I do not do the sensible thing and make a concerted effort to tackle those books, I do the very opposite thing and pick up a new book. My mindset in these situations is that by immersing myself in a new world, I will (hopefully) forget about those twenty-odd books I should be reading instead. It never works.
As annoyed as I occasionally get, reading multiple books at once is actually incredibly freeing. There is no pressure to finish reading a book you’re not enjoying just to mark it as complete for whichever challenge you may be taking part in. It also allows for greater balance between “required” reading and “free” reading, as well as more opportunity to juggle serious reads with more lighthearted contemporaries. At this point I fail to see the benefits of just reading a single book!
The most relevant analogy I’ve ever heard in favour of reading multiple books at once is that it is like skipping songs on your playlist. Don’t feel like listening to Taylor Swift right now? Listen to Busted instead. Problem solved. Now I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’m going to continue listening to Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber on shuffle! (Don’t judge!)
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