I’ve done a round-up of the number of books I’m in the middle of right now, and am ashamed that it’s crept up so high. At this moment, I am actively in the middle of 25 books. Yep, that’s right, 25! Of that list, there is only 1 that I have not read any part of for the last week, so, when I say actively reading, I do mean active.
I am usually in the middle of multiple books, and make no apologies for that, as they all have their place. I could no more read just one book at a time then I could only talk to one person/friend per week, watch only one TV show per week or eat out at only one place in any given month. I need and crave variety. My husband claims I have AD/HD. Having gone through the many issues dealing with my son’s AD/HD, he could be right, but, it does not really matter. I have learned to deal with my brain in my own way, and have been successful with it, so, whether I am or not matters little to me.
The reasons I can justify being in the middle of multiple books:
- 2 novels in physical format (a book with physical pages as opposed to e-book or audio). One might be a more meaty read, and one might be a quicker read, so, I can switch between the 2 of them.
- At the moment, I have 8 of those going, so, do need to finish up with a number of them before I can justify starting a new one.
- One book on my Kindle app. This is still not my favorite format for reading, but, I have found 2 places where it comes in handy. First is before I sleep. My husband goes to bed before me as he gets up earlier for work, so, when I come to bed, I can easily read without turning on the light and waking him up (not really an option for any sort of happy marriage!). The second time that I have found this is a great format is when I am on the treadmill or elliptical. Propping up my ipad is much easier than a physical book which has a hard time staying open.
- I am actively reading Crime & Punishment this way, but, I have another one going as well, not as active. I hope to finish C & P soon (~60% finished already) and then can concentrate on the other one I’m reading – A Brief History of Seven Killings.
- One book of short stories. This is great to have so you can just pick it up, finish a story and put it down without having the feeling that you will lose track of the story.
- However, I find myself reading 3 of these right now. 2 are by a single author, and one is an anthology.
- One audio book. This is the easiest rule to keep to as I would not want to switch between audio books. The app is too slow to do that.
- I’m listening to The China Collectors: America’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures, a book I started for my Ringling art book club, but, did not finish in time for the meeting which was yesterday, but, am still committed to finishing.
- One book of poetry. I am not always ‘in the middle’ of actually reading a poetry book from front to back, but, I love to have them on my shelf to pick up once in awhile.
- Right now, I am actively reading the Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams.
- One book I am reading to/with my husband. This is a relatively new habit, that I am very glad we are doing. It is usually non-fiction, his favorite format, but, we did read Animal Farm together, and most recently finished The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
- Currently, we are reading The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. It’s a bit slower going as we don’t read every day, but, I’m glad for the times when we do.
- One book of essays. This is also an optional one for me, like the poetry. Similar to short stories, this category is another great one where you can dip in and out when in the mood without losing track of any plotline.
- I am reading 100 Best Paintings in London, which I would classify in this category.
- Between 1-3 non-fiction books (other than audio). I choose my non-fiction books for multiple reasons, sometimes because I’m interested in the subject, or have heard they had a great story, or for reference. I’m in the middle of 8 of them (that are not in other categories like audio or reading to my husband), and that’s probably a bit too many.
- I should finish up one soon, Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper, a memoir by Fuchsia Dunlop which is quite relevant to me at the moment as we are travelling to China next month. But, I do need to finish up a number of the others before starting anything new.
- The categories of ones I’m in the middle of is quite varied! Chinese food, French food, history of domesticated plants, memoir of reading books, Renaissance Italian architecture, 2 biographies, one of a modern artist and one of an 18th century rakish author, and lastly, a history of ghosts and spirituality by Dan Akyrod’s father.
- Whichever book I am reading for my next book club(s). I lead one book club, and try to stay active in 2 other ones. Ideally, whatever book(s) I’m reading should fall into one of my other categories, like the 2 novels, or one kindle, but, if it doesn’t, at least it’s justifiable in my mind to have these also going. I only have one of these going as I’ve already read the next month’s selection for one of my book clubs and will miss my other book club next month due to a vacation.
- The one I’m reading is for my classic book club, All the King’s Men.
So, out of the total 25 books I’m in the middle of, I can justify only 12 of them belonging to the categories above. This means, I should finish up at least 13 before starting a new book. Whether I will stick to that though is yet to be seen as books just seem to call to me and it’s so hard to resist!