Jessica Day George

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How and Why to Read Three Books at Once

First off, let me just say that last night I got a really good haircut. I'm home alone and there is no one to share in its magnificence by my toddler, who doesn't care, and the dog, who hasn't noticed. I haven't had a real haircut since last APRIL, and that one was just fine. But I usually get two bad haircuts for every good one, so you can see why I wait so long. So I got my hair done last night, in a friend's kitchen. And since it was late and she cut it dry, we didn't really style it or anything. So this morning, after I finally got dressed and did my hair, I looked in the mirror at it . . . and loved it so much I started to do that shampoo commercial thing were you shake your hair around a lot and purse your lips at your reflection. YEAH, BABY!

Okay, sorry, I'm done now. But for those of you who know me personally, next time you see me check out the hair!

All right, back to the books.

Yes, I'm reading three books today. Not in a row (finishing one and then starting another) but actually rotating from one book to the next.

It's not a sickness.

What happened was that yesterday I finished Sorcery and the Single Girl by Mindy Klasky (for older readers, please note), and started The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. This pleases me. Both books are good. But Sorcery is a vastly different style of book from Alchemyst, and it was a little hard to change channels if you will.

But The Alchemyst is good, and it became Book #1.

So last night I was noodling around my bookshelves, and found Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. Now, I have read every book and short story Dahl ever wrote, except this one. For some reason, and I don't know why, it's just escaped me until now. And I actually bought it at a library sale years ago, and promptly lost it among the 9,000 other books I have. So I finally picked it up and read the first page.

And Danny, the Champion of the World became Book #2.

And this morning while I was exercising, I happened to be near the bookcase where I stack books checked out from the library, and caught sight of The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. I started to read it in between yoga poses, which is why it takes me hours to exercise every day.

True Meaning of Smekday, Book #3.

So I have the books in different parts of the house. Making lunch: Book #2. Getting dressed: #3. Wandering around tidying house: #1.

It's easy and fun! You just keep rotating the books, keep rotating the books. Read a chapter of one, go in the other room to grab some socks, read a chapter of that book. Decide you're ready for that exciting part in #1, go read it. Then you're up for some poaching in #2, pick that one up.

And that's how you read 3 books at once, my friends.

Although technically I'm reading four books right now. Shortly before Christmas I picked up a big ol' chunky fantasy book, something I haven't done in a while, and I just got too bogged down and had to set it aside. Soon I shall return to conquer its prophecies and endless scenes of people in cloaks traveling around. Soon.

But why, you may ask, would I WANT to read three books at once? Well, all three books are interesting to me RIGHT NOW. This very minute I am in the mood for all of them. I am a capricious reader. I will buy something because I am SO excited about it that day, and then I will force myself to finish the book I am currently reading. This means that the current book is getting short shrift, because I'm trying to get through it fast, and the new and exciting book might not look as shiny and new in a week. Also in that time someone might have spoiled the book for me, by telling me the ending or saying that they hated it.

It's better to strike while iron is hot, and the book is the most exciting book you've ever read!


Anonymous said...

I do exactly the same thing! And for those who have trouble reading more than one book at once, all it takes is a little practice. Sometimes I'm reading something heavy, disturbing, spooky or whatever, and although it's fascinating I can't read it right before bed. But I MUST read before I go to sleep, so naturally I have to choose a lighter book to read during that time. Then I usually have an audio book going, and sometimes one at work (if by some fluke I happen to forget my book and must find one at work to read during lunch).

Anonymous said...

Haha. That's really funny, I couldn't ever do that though, once I start reading a book it's hard to stop...

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes... the joy of reading more than one book at a time. I love to do this! But it annoys my hubby to no end. I am, however, teaching my children to do the same thing! They each have one (or more) to read on their own, then I have a book I read to each of them, then the one we read as a family. They seem to like it, so I guess I'm doing a good job. Everyone must try it at least once!

Anonymous said...

Just so no one thinks I'm close minded, I'll say that I've tried it. It just doesn't work for me. I get to into the book and I have to keep reading the same one until I finish. Unless it's a boring book...then I'll just quit and read something else.

Anonymous said...

I love it. What a great post.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Alchemist. It was a fun read. My brain power isn't big enough to do more than a book at a time. But I envy you all the ability.