I was talking to someone the other day and I made a comment “one of the books I’m reading…” the person stopped me and said, “One of? More than one?”
Yes. I read multiple books at the same time. Not literally sitting and reading one page in one book, then the next, then the next. It depends on my circumstances. And at some point most books become my “need to finish now” book – the one I obsess over until I finish it. I have a few categories of books I read:
Need to Finish Now – this is the book I can’t put down. I will sacrifice food, sleep, and people-time to read these books. Breastfeeding and reading is something I’m still figuring out.
My commute book. This has to be an audio book since I drive. I try really hard not to let my commute book turn into my “must finish now” book – it can be difficult when it’s a good book. Right now, this book is still A Tale of Two Cities.
I have a bathroom book. Technically, I have two – but one of them is an Uncle John’s bathroom reader and isn’t in the same category. The “real” bathroom book I’m reading is Three Cups of Tea. I’ve been working through it very slowly over the past year or so. I’m more than 3/4 of the way through it and resisting it becoming a “must finish now” book.
I have a lunch time book. This is how I work on my “to be read” pile. I toss one of my books in my car, I go out of the office for lunch and while I eat I read. There are 3 decently priced places near my work where the wait staff knows me – and they know I tip well for being left alone. Right now my lunch book is TheGilded Wolves – which I borrowed from the library. It supplanted Riders at the Gate which I own.
I then have a pickup book – always digital and almost always available on my tablet. Right now, I’m working through Freakanomics. Thoroughly enjoying it too. This is often supplanted by my lunch book if that book is digital. I pick up this reading at places like the doctor’s office, waiting for people (i.e. meeting someone), etc. This book, like my bathroom book, frequently can take months and months to work through, but I’m more willing to let it turn into a must-finish-now book.
So right now I am technically reading 5 books. I can’t tell you how I keep them separated – I usually do. Some of it is helps they are pretty damn different. Freakanomics and Three Cups of Tea are both non-fiction, one about economics and the other a memoir – different enough to keep them pretty easily straight in my head. A Tale of Two Cities and The Gilded Wolves a both Industrial Revolution/Victorian-ish, but opposite ends – 1770s and 1880s. They are also very different kinds of stories – Dickens vs. Adventure (and if you don’t understand what “dickens” means as a type of novel, you haven’t read any Dickens). Lastly, Riders at the Gate is something of an adventure/coming of age story – but it was supplanted by The Gilded Wolves anyway.
Do you read multiple books? What are you reading and how do you keep them straight?