Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Why I Can't Read One Book At a Time


My current pile:
  • A Witness To Murder by Verity Bright (Cozy Mystery)
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (Mystery)
  • Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman (Historical Fiction)
  • A Christmas Deliverance by Anne Perry (Victorian Mystery)
  • The Royal Stuarts by Allan Massie  (History)

I have tried. I have really, really tried to just read one book at a time. And every now and then I'm successful. But not very often. So I was wondering how normal I am? Or if anyone else struggles with this problem.  I have friends who ask me how on earth I can concentrate on more than one book at at time. But I'm asking the opposite of them: How can you only read one book at a time? Here are my reasons for that stack by my bed or in my Kindle:

1. Genre Hopping:

While it's true I'm partial to mysteries and historical fiction, I also love history and politics. Also, within the genres there are sub-genres like cozy mysteries, Victorian mysteries, and of course the others I mentioned have too many to count. I'd love to be able to concentrate on one genre as I read but after a few days with that particular type of book I just want something different for awhile. Switching it up keeps my brain active and gives me more to think about.

2. Impatience:

My reading personality is all over the place sometimes. I'll literally wake up excited about one story and by bedtime I'm over it. Then the next day I'm thinking, "Wait.....I wonder what happens with such and such character, I should probably keep reading that later today..." Weird, I know. But true. 

3. Book Length:

This is a big one for me! I love long, epic novels. I also love thorough history books. But I don't like reading them in one sitting, or even one week. The only way I can enjoy really long books is to break them into chunks. I like to read about a third of a really long book, take a break with something lighter and shorter, and then come back to the next phase of the big book. It keeps me looking forward to it and I don't feel as overwhelmed about finishing it immediately. And then, ironically, this causes me to stay motivated to actually finish it. Reverse psychology!

4. FOMO:

I have really got to work on this one. It's downright embarrassing how much this affects me at my age. Who hits that "Discover" button on the Kindle app? Me! And it is down the rabbit hole. My fellow book bloggers are to blame too. You guys have such interesting blogs and book recommendations that I feel like I have to read ALL THE BOOKS! When I determine this is the reason for hopping around to different books I have to stop.....and remind myself that I will never, ever be able to read them all. Not in a hundred lifetimes. So stick to the ones I really care about. And get over my fear of missing out. 

5. More book reviews:

Before I started this blog this wasn't even a consideration. I'd just read whatever, return the book, and move on with my life. Now, the pressure....the pressure to have something new to talk about. I am in awe of my blogger friends who have been doing this for literally a decade or more. You are amazing! In order to keep reviewing books to discuss you almost have to have several going at once. Otherwise you'd never finish. I wonder if ya'll agree?

6. My Noisy Family:

I live with three loud boys. One of them is my husband. All three of them are very smart, well educated, excellent readers. But none of them read. They are too addicted to gaming, social media, and sports. So finding time and quiet to sit and absorb a nice, intricately written book is sometimes nearly impossible when they are around. If I didn't have a variety of books to read at any given time I'd be frustrated. I have to be able to read when things are noisy and interrupted so having different books going at once is a must if I'm ever going to finish something. 

7. Upcoming Sequels:

This is an interesting reason for reading multiple books. But as I thought about this post I realized that often I will find out a series book is about to publish the next volume and I just can't wait to see what is going to happen next with the characters. Instead of forcing myself to wait (see #2- Impatience) I figure, why not go ahead and start on the next, new book? If I do this I'm less likely to get obsessed with wanting to know what has been happening with the story and neglect other books I'm reading that might be good on their own. I find that once I start the sequel book I often don't mind stopping a few chapters in and working on my other books. The excitement has died down a bit. Anyone else do this too?

8. Annoyance with characters or plot line:

Okay, this is probably the dumbest reason on this list. But I'm going to be honest. I have found myself reading a book I really enjoy and somewhere along the way something will happen that just either doesn't ring true to the story or maybe the main character is behaving in a way that irritates me or I realize I just don't care as much about the time period as I did before. Surprisingly though if I take a break and come back to the book later I find I really do want to finish it after all. And I can get over the annoyances to press on to the end.

There are probably more reasons I read several books at once, but these are the main ones I find come to mind. Do you read one book at a time? Or do you have a stack like me? 

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