The Sunday Salon – Hodgepodge

The Sunday

Confession -I’m cheating a bit, because it’s actually Saturday night.  I’m due in church early tomorrow, and the remainder of  my Sunday will be chock full of activity.  Hence, we’re convening early this week. 

 But it’s a perfect evening to gather round the hearth and talk about books.  A gentle snow has been falling for the entire day, leaving just a light blanket of white on the ground.  I’ve lit the tree light and candles,  uncorked an Australian Shiraz, set the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album playing in the background, and curled up in my favorite chair.  All in all, a good way to spend Saturday evening.

I find myself with a familiar dilemma.  I’ve managed to get myself involved in three books – well, four really, if you count the book I’m reading for writing inspiration (Fruitflesh, by Gayle Brandeis).  Or maybe it’s five, because there’s the e-book I just downloaded to my i-pod.  Anyway…

You see, having finally finished The Dilemma (a real confection of a read!), I decided to embark on Suzanne Marrs biography of Eudora Welty.  It’s something of a tradition for me to read biography during the Christmas season, one that started with a child’s biography of Isadora Duncan which I read at age eight, and then re-read every year during the Christmas holiday.  Of course, I’ve since moved on to other life stories, and was saving this Welty biography for reading by the light of my Christmas tree. 

So I happily delved in, enjoying the author’s perspective on Miss Welty and her Southern upbringing.  But then, I remembered the stack of library books waiting to be read.  Rummaging around in my canvas book bag, I discovered Francine Prose’s new novel, Goldengrove, the story of two sisters and the way the eldest’s death affects the family.  Hmm…I read a few pages, and before I knew it, I was engrossed in this story as well.

Reading two books at once is manageable for me.   So everything was proceeding apace.

Then I went into work on Friday and found three books on my chair.

“I brought you Bertie and Jeeves!” my co-worker Stacey crowed proudly.  We had been talking books during lunch, and I confessed I had never read P.G. Wodehouse.  “Oh you must!” Stacey cried out, aghast.  “You’ll never laugh so hard!  I have every one and I’ve read them all at least three times.  Whenever I’m feeling down, I just pick one up and read a chapter.  Guaranteed to make you smile.”

She was right.  Within minutes I was chuckling away at my desk, never mind the pile of reports staring me in the face.

So now there are open books scattered in every room of my house, plopped down near each of my favorite chairs, plus at the kitchen table (another confession – I read while I eat). 

Still, I find myself feeling a bit guilty whenever I”m reading one  – my thoughts inevitably drift toward the other three (or four) and wonder what’s happening with them. 


A dilemma, albeit a nice one.

Time to pour that wine and get back to my reading.

Now tell me, how many books can you comfortably have on the go at once?


18 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – Hodgepodge

  1. I’ve got 3 on the go at the moment Becca. The one in my hands, SKINNY DIP by Carl Hiassen, CORDUROY MANSIONS which is Alexander McCall Smith’s online novel, and then BLINDSIDE by J.R. Carroll which I’m listening to in the car.

    The only time it backfired on me recently was when the book in the car and the other one had a central character by the same name! For a few days it was very muddling.

  2. I can only do one book at a time. Sometimes I’ll have a print book and an audio book going at the same time, but at the moment, I just have one print book. I couldn’t find any audio books that held my attention.

  3. Right now I’ve got four going, but two are nonfiction, and an audiobook in the car. I usually only read one at a time, but when I get too excited about new books (especially those I bring home from the library) I have a hard time holding back.

  4. I usually have two fiction, one non-fiction, and one audiobook. Oh, and a read-aloud to the kids. 🙂

    Right now I’m reading “Irish Girls Are Back in Town” (short stories), “Blindspot” (novel), “Essays of the Masters (nonfiction), “Passion of Artemisia” (audiobook), and “The Graveyard Book” (read aloud.)

  5. It’s hard for me to read more than one book at a time. I get them confused. But sometimes I’ll be going at a non-fiction title and a novel simultaneously, and whatever children’s classic my daughter I’m reading to my daughter at the same time.

  6. One at a time right now. But probably because much of what I am reading is books I’ve read before (just read Welty’s Optimist’s Daughter again yesterday). Although I did read three brand-new to me books this past week and am setting out to a store today in search of more….

    Will be interested in your Goldengrove thoughts.

  7. Don’t worry about the cheating: I did the same (posted the Sunday Salon on Saturday night…). Interesting that you read wherever you go: I do the same, but usually have odd magazines and newspapers on the kitchen table and carry my current fiction book around with me. I only read one fiction book at the time, although I may have a collection of short stories hanging around somewhere and read one from beginning to end. In addition, I sometimes have a non-fiction one on the go. But never two full fiction novels – as someone commented: I get confused! Enjoy your Sunday!

  8. Oh the dilemma! I can handle two sometimes 3 and it’s usually a novel, a book on Bhuddist practice and one on herbs, cooking or gardening. But right now there are more and I’ve actually lost count.

  9. My limit is three or four books at a time. Any more than that and I get to feeling frantic, then I don’t read any of them.

    All these years and I’ve never read Wodehouse. I imagine it’s time I did something about that.

  10. I also read my first Wodehouse earlier this year and I loved it. I’m currently reading three books and I haven’t made much progress on any, so I’ve decided to finish them one at a time!

  11. It is interesting how many readers have an audio book in the car. I always do too – especially on long trips – it keeps me from falling asleep.
    I usually have two fiction books going, so I can switch off, depending on mood. I can add a non-fiction to that, too. Rarely more than two fiction, because I am usually enjoying myself so much I want to finish!
    I watch the series from the Wodehouse books first, before reading the books. Hysterical!! You can probably get them from the library. The actors play their parts perfectly to the book.
    Your Saturday evening read sounds just delightful, with all the right props!

  12. I really want to read Goldengrove. I usually have a fair few books on the go. At the moment, The Recognitions for the group read, a couple of non-fiction, and I’m just about to start a new fiction book for general (semi-comfort) reading. Sometimes I’ll have a French novel I’m reading too. I must say I like P G Wodehouse on audio book – there’s something about them that lends itself to reading out loud!

  13. I may have a non-fiction book for work and a fiction book on the go at the same time, but I find trying to read two fiction books together impossible. I somehow don’t seem to be able to keep the two worlds apart and as a consequence don’t become really engaged with either.

    On the subject of Wodehouse, I’m sure you’ll love him. The only problem is that he can become addictive and there is a lot out there. You might need to ration yourself or find he’s taken over your reading.

  14. I can read more than one at a time but only one novel at a time, or I’ll be so confused with the plot and characters. You should be fine as long as you can stay on top of their happenings.

    I read when I eat as well–usually over breakfast in the morning. I have mastered the art of not staining the books with greasy fingers, cake crumbs and seeds off the bagels. 🙂

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