April 28, 2012

Pajama Musings - One or all?

Maybe "one or all" doesn't quite hit the nail on the head. It's more like several shades of "many" that keep some readers happy. Basically there are two kinds of readers - those who will read one book at a time, and those who'll juggle several at once. Obviously the latter won't read with one book in the left hand, one in their right, and an eReader on their lap (then again, you never know), but they don't just settle for only reading one book all the way through before starting the next one.

I for one have never been able to make myself read more than one book at a given time. I start it and I finish it without any other bookish interruptions. Unless you count my time at Uni when I did plow through several books at once for my courses I never wanted to dip into several book worlds at once. So maybe there is a difference between reading fiction and non fiction when it comes to that, but these days it doesn't matter what genre, I'm a one-book-reader.

I've seen more than once how some folks have up to five books on their currently-reading shelf on Goodreads and, needless to say, I often wonder what's wrong with a certain book that you don't want to read it all the way through in one go? Alright, maybe you need to squeeze in a particular book for review, thus keeping another book on hold for a few days, but five books? That's ridiculous! Don't these people want to know what happens next? How the book will end? Or are those books so awesome they don't want them to end? Or worse, are they so horrible they simply can't continue reading? Who knows?

Maybe I've reached the age where skipping from one book to the other after each chapter will get things muddled up in my brain or, much more likely, this is just my bookish attitude - to live in only one book world at a time. The only reason for me to put a book away before finishing it is ... wait for it ... because I don't see myself finishing it. Ever. Say hello to my DNF pile! The thing is that I know the book is not for me and that I'll never touch it again, so why act as if I'd pick it up anytime soon?

To me it seems that if you feel the need to take a break from a certain book then there's something obviously not working for you regarding the book. It can be small things or big things. Small as in not being in the mood for it (these things happen, but then you shouldn't have started reading it in the first place; instead you could have waited all the way through November for your inner bookworm to feast on it), or big things as in banging your head against a wall and the urge to jump off a cliff if forced to continue (in which case you should declare it a DNF and go on living a happy life without any broken limbs and lots of other amazing books making up for the pain this one book has caused you).

As much as I eat every course aka read every book after the other some people evidently prefer to read buffet-style. Well, to each their own, I guess!  How about you? One-book-reader? Or do you prefer your reading buffet-style?

13 comments:

  1. I'm a buffet-style gal now, but I wasn't always!

    The main reason I read multiple books simultaneously is mobility - for example one of my current reads is a 500 page hardcover and that bad boy is way too heavy for me to cart around every day, so I'm reading another book on my iPod (and I can read in queues on my iPod!).

    To avoid brain confusion I don't switch straight from one to the other without a break in between, and I also read different genres so the stories and characters don't start getting muddled!

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    1. Oh I can totally relate to not wanting to drag along a heavy tome when you're out and about. As I've never been able to read on a train and usually don't do any reading when I'm going out, that's not really an issue for me, though.

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  2. I definitely enjoy reading two or three books at a time, and that depends on my mood. I hate not finishing books, even though I don't find the book totally satisfying, so I start reading something else and then go back to the previous book to read some more. Sometimes, I do find these books more interesting, after starting a different one; another reason why I start another book is that I enjoy it too much and I don't want to just finish it right at that very moment. It happened with The Museum of Innocence. I read it so fast up to the final 100 pages, then I stopped although I was terribly curious, just to linger some more on the story and the mood... does it sound crazy? :))

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    1. Not crazy, but intriguing! Especially stopping so close to the end of a book you enjoy so much. I don't think I have the willpower to do something like that, on the contrary, I'd stay up late to finish the book.

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  3. You got that totally wrong! Just because we read several books at the same time doesn't necessarily mean non of them gets our attention enough to want to finish it. I usually read at least three books at a time.
    At the moment I read my chunkster only in bed or on the sofa as it is too big and heave to take anywhere else.
    Then I have my organize book (I never read solely non-fiction, so this is an in between book) for the bathtub, a German non-fiction book that I read while eating a snack etc. There is a place and a time for every book.
    It does happen that I read one book exclusively, but that is very rare.

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    1. Maybe this phenomenon is beyond me simply because I am such a fast reader. Usually I plow through books in two or three days depending on how many pages it's got. Often I am able to finish a book on a lazy afternoon.
      But I just remembered something really funny - years ago I used to have an edition of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader in the toilet and well, I'd only read an article or two (often just a page long) while doing my business. I hope I managed to redeem myself with this confession, hahaha!

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  4. One book at at time. No matter how long it takes me to finish it, I will not move onto another book until it is done. Even if a friend mails me a tempting book in the midst of the tome I am reading. The new, tempting book must patiently wait on my shelf. I can't even read one on my nook and one traditional book at the same time.

    Erich on the other hand, reads several at once. He tends to leave his book where he set it down. So for instance, if he walks into the kitchen for coffee, he might put his book on the counter. It is not uncommon to find half a dozen of his books scattered throughout the house. Whereas, my one book is always neatly placed on the coffee table.

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I was starting to feel a little weird now because so many obviously do read several books at a time. I guess we just don't see the merits in doing this as well *shrugs*.

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  5. ridiculous? I guess we are just different. :) I used to read one book at a time. at the same time I watched many movies and almost none tv series. today I prefer series to movies and reading more books at once. I like that the books don't end too soon, I want to get small doses.
    right now, I have 4 books on my shelf. I usually read one fiction and one non fiction book at a time. the other two books are for my studies and I don't read them every day (usually in a library). the number of books also depends on format - I read real books at home and digital ones on the road.
    however, I'm glad that I'm not the only one doing it. I would feel like I real weirdo if everyone would agree with you on this topic! :D

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    1. You're certainly not the only one indulging in more than one book at a time. In fact, I'm starting to feel weird now myself for only reading one book after the other, hahaha!

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    2. don't worry, I think it's a nice, kind of traditional virtue ... like reading hard cover books is more "tr00" than reading via kindle, if you know what I mean. :)

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  6. AAAAH, Birgit, I used to be like you when all the books I read were paperbacks. but what do you do if you have ebooks that you read on your laptop and you have still a ton of paperbacks? I can't take my laptop to work but I can and do a paperback. So I usually read 2 books at a time - one at work, one at home on my laptop and still go through them quite fast. i will lose my speed if I dedicate my time to only one book at a time, this is the actual reason for me.

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  7. I'm with you on this one :) I did go through a phase where I would read one fiction and one non-fiction book at a time, but I haven't ever been able to read multiple fiction books simultaneously!

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