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?