Booking Through Thursday: The Numbers Game

Here’s the question for Booking Through Thursday: Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to… Are you currently reading more than one book? If so, how many books are you currently reading? Is this normal for you? Where do you keep your current reads?

I’m reminded of an old commercial for Lays Potato chips, with a slogan which became quite famous.  “So good, ” it went, “I bet you can’t eat just  one.”

That pretty well describes my relationship with books.

I most often have three books on the go  – a novel, a nonfiction, and a book of short stories or essays.  And though I don’t designate them, per se, they tend to fall into categories of their own.  The novel for morning and bedtime reading, the nonfiction in the afternoon with tea and a notebook beside me, short stories go into my bag for reading at lunch or while waiting somewhere.

These various tomes tend to land in the general area where they’re most read -my novel on the bedside table, the nonfiction in the study, and short stories in my work bag or the back seat of the car.

With my tottering TBR piles, it’s almost mandatory to read more than one at a time.  And these writers do keep writing, so how else can a ravenous reader ever keep up?

Oh, in case you’re wondering, my current reads are: The Private Patient, by P.D. James (fiiction), The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner (non-fiction), and Boy Meets Girl, by Ali Smith (stories).

12 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: The Numbers Game

  1. I do both, and it depends on the books. If a book is particularly compelling, I go for one at a time. But if they are of different genres — let’s say a novel or mystery is one, then I can also take on a book of essays, short stories or some non-fiction. (Do you count travel guide books as books, even if read cover to cover? I’m not sure about that one!)

  2. I usually read the one book that I carry with me (in the bag) everywhere I go. When I read Gone with the Wind, I left it at home and brought a second book with me to work.

    Ah…your mention of The Art Fiction reminds me that I’ve been slowly perusing a book called Literary Theory for a year. Now that book stays home and I can only read a section at a time.

  3. I didn’t write a BTT post this week, but my answer is similar to yours … yes, I’ve got several books going at once.

    One “main” book that’s my night-time reading; one “lighter” book for breakfast/lunch reading; one in-the-car book. I also toss the day’s NY Times crossword puzzle in my bag in case the in-the-car book doesn’t call to me!

  4. I usually have three on the go, too. At the moment? Gertrude Stein’s Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, Mary Lovell’s biography of The Mitford Girls and Wilkie Collins’ No Name.

  5. Only one novel at a time for me, which usually travels around the apartment and around town with me, wherever I happen to be.

    I usually have a poetry book going simultaneously, kept next to the bed for a poem or two at the end of the day.

    Sometimes I page through a photography book or a decorating book on the living room couch as a way to decompress after a busy day. It’s a relief to shut off the old brain and just look at the pictures.

  6. I’m a monogamous reader, but I seem to be in the minority, judging by comments here and on my blog.
    This week, for a change, I’m trying to keep two book-relationships going. I’m reading House of Leaves, a thriller that is a bit dense, so I picked up a non-fiction book, The Discovery of France, as well. So far, no jealous rages between them.

  7. Heehee I get bored if I try to read one book at a time. Except that there is usually one that grabs my attention and then I start to favor it over the others and the other books get jealous…

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