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Book Itch

I didn't used to be the sort of person who could be in the middle of more than one book at a time. One book at a time, in sequence, that was me. Yet, here I am, in the middle of half-a-dozen. Some are non-fiction, which I normally read in sections, rather than all at once. Sometimes I don't even count non-fiction as books I'm reading, but these are good, thought-provoking, well-written ones. I often don't count non-fiction this way because I don't feel as if I've really read a book unless I've truly finished it, ideally appendices and all. Some of the books I'm stranded on are fiction, broken off before a trip and left behind, about-to-be-finished, but haven't been yet. Often, a book's too big to bring on a trip if I'm nearly done with it and will need to bring another one too; so I start a new one instead, forget I'm reading the first until I find it, abandoned in a pile, waiting.

My attention was wandering enough, the other day, that I went to the library, to help avoid buying more books. I came home with seven, nearly all of them of different styles and genres, the better to fill whatever it was I was looking for. It's not that I don't want to read; I do. I've been reading a lot lately. It's not that I'm giving up on these partially-read books; I rarely - sometimes - do, but not in these particular cases.

Sometimes, I wonder if it's the lack of furniture. We only have one reading chair, still, although we're intending to order a sofa before the end of the month, which would open up the number of decent reading places massively. But it's not an impatience I've had all year, just in the past week or month. If a book is worthwhile, I can read it on the floor or the stairs.

The bigger problem may just be that I want something compelling, a book to read all at once; but then the book is done, and I am back to all the others, a bit at a time, when there's a chair and some time and pages left.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
I prefer to be a serial reader on my books also, but academia has interfered with that making me read professionally, and made me more promiscuous. I still read more books through than a lot of the tribe (I think have not done a study), but data mining and the need to read around subjects makes this difficult. Also, books that I read for academic content or general erudition are often not the easy read that the cheap genre fantasy of my youth was. So I have a couple of books on the go at the time. I also have several lapsed projects that I never quite finished (or in many cases started).

I have toned down my book buying habit as I ran out of book shelves. I've taken to buying audio books and listening to them when I'm walking about on my MP3 player. Its all relatively popular stuff, but actually mostly non-fiction. I used to walk around reading books, but I've gotten out of that habit somehow.

Every now and then I speed through a nice light fiction (just read Prachett's Making Money in a day and a bit).

Anyway, I don't love books I just say that so they will get in bed with me.
Jul. 22nd, 2009 08:35 am (UTC)
It's a funny thing, but I don't think of academic reading as reading most of the time. Reading is for books I'll finish, finish entirely, from dedication to bibliography (if any).

Academic reading can be just as exciting as any work of fiction, but it's about the thrill of the chase (or sometimes just chore), which is often satisfied by a few chapters, rather than completism.

All our books are still in my office, so I KNOW we have room for more. We just need bookshelves to occupy those empty walls.
Jul. 23rd, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
my family has a word for thiS inability to vseytle on something, even if you wish to dearly. The word is "ipsy-folollop". Commonly used as "I'm feeling all ipsy-folollop at the moment "
Jul. 26th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
I am usually a one-book-at-at-a-time person too. Even if I pick up short stories to read "in-between" something else, I often end up reading them all at once (and then feeling grumpy if I should have separated them out).

According to the woman who led the Myers-Briggs workshop N types tend to read several things at once and S types only one. I don't know if this is true.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )