Why I Can’t Read One Book at a Time

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Yes, I’m reading all of those right now…

Whenever I get asked what I’m currently reading, I always respond with, “Well, I’m reading like 7 books right now. Which one do you want to know about?” Inevitably I get the, “you’re insane” look and to this I just have to shrug and smile. What can I say? I can’t read just one book, and after asking myself the same question when my “currently reading” stack on my nightstand just kept growing, I came up with a few reasons why.

1)I love too many genres. As you can tell from my Past Reviews page, I have to organize my reviews by genre. There are very few genres that I choose not to read (romance, westerns). Of course, there are even exceptions to this as well. (One of my guilty pleasures are the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.) With an interest in so many genres, it feels weird for me to only read one book at a time knowing that there are some many other amazing genres I could be reading as well. This leads me to number 2.

2)Sometimes I’m not in the mood for certain books. You know how sometimes you really feel like reading, but the book you’ve been working on doesn’t actually sound appealing at the moment? Well, this is how I remedy this dilemma. If I don’t want to read a certain book I’ve been working on, I just find one that I do want to read and start on that one. This gets into the whole genre thing. Sometimes I really want to sit down and truly concentrate on the nuances and meanings in The Great Gatsby, but there are also times that I don’t. Sometimes, I just want to escape, take a little break from the world, and read some Harry Potter.

3)It makes what I’m reading more enjoyable. Since I just pick up whatever book seems appealing at the time, I never feel forced to read something (unless it’s a school book, but that’s different) and so I always go into a book truly wanting to read that book specifically. I don’t feel the pressure of having to get through one book in order to get to the next one.

4)Undergrad ruined me. After my four years of undergrad as a literature major, reading one book at a time makes me feel like there is something I’m forgetting to do. The constant switching back and forth between books in order to get through at least most of the reading I had to do has made it impossible for me to only read one. If I’m not switching back and forth, then there is something I’m missing.

5)My mass amount of books. Not only am I an avid reader, but I am also a bibliophile. (At least I’m one of the ones that buys books intending to read them, not merely for show.) Therefore, if my stack of “Currently Reading” books on my nightstand is down to one or two, I look around my room at my two large and jam packed bookshelves and feel that I’m not even making a dent. At least if I am working on 6 or 7 I feel that I’m getting somewhere.

Of course I have ground rules.

Rule #1: I only read one book per genre at a time. Otherwise I would be reading like five fantasy novels and then I would truly get nowhere. Plus, I don’t want to run the risk of mixing up plots.

Rule #2: I only read one rather large book at a time. The rest will be either short or average length. Sometimes this is broken if I’m reading a large book of literature, like Anna Karenina, and I want to read a large fantasy book, like Game of Thrones.

Rule #3: I don’t actually have rules. I just wrote that to make myself look a little more sane. Truthfully, I sometimes read multiple books in one genres. This sometimes happens because I receive a book that I want to review at the same time that I was in the middle of another book in the same genres. I’m not going to just stop reading the one I started, but I’m also not going to leave an author or publisher hanging wondering where my review is. That’s just rude.

However, I do tend to follow the long book rule. Mostly because I sometimes find longer length literature (like War and Peace) a little intimidating, so I mostly just read long fantasy and sci-fi. Of course, why I don’t find the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (which is fourteen books long and each book is over 600 pages) intimidating will forever be a mystery to me.

Is this a necessarily healthy habit? Probably not. Am I going to change it? Nope.

So judge my obsessive and slightly insane book habits if you like, but remember, you probably have some, too.

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