Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weekly Poll 1/20/10: Reading More than One Book at a Time

Long before I took an unscheduled break from my blog (in other words, before not having a schedule during my break between semesters made me forget to do anything productive at all), I asked my readers how many books they typically read at one time.

I had asked the question because I used to be a staunch believer in starting a book and reading it until I finished it before opening another book.  (This policy only counted for "fun" books and not required academic reading.)  That had been my policy until about a year ago when I started a book I liked but didn't like enough to have it as my sole reading choice.  Okay, and because I was too lazy to go downstairs to get the book I was reading when I had a bookshelf full of unread books right in front of me.  I then had an "upstairs" book and a "downstairs" book.  I would read one in the mornings (the "downstairs" book) and one in the evenings before going to bed (the "upstairs" book).  Since we moved to a one-story apartment, I no longer have that excuse of being too lazy.  Somehow in the midst of reading more than one book at a time, I got addicted.  I liked having a choice.  I liked knowing that I could read a few minutes out of one book before moving on to another book simply because I felt like it.  Before I had become a multiple-book-reader, I thought that reading more than one book at a time would take away from my 'joie de lire.'  I thought that I'd forget something important about the story or get the characters confused or ... I'm not exactly sure what I thought would happen.  Just something negative.

I've found the opposite to be true of my reading experience, though; I've found that reading more than one book at a time forces me to make connections among the materials I'm reading.  I start to see patterns in characters' behaviors, word choices, dialogue, and writing styles because the differing authors' writings are fresh in my mind as I go from book to book.  I've found that I'm enjoying the books I like more and not feeling as pressured to finish the books I don't enjoy.  It has increased the fun factor of reading for me.

You may be wondering what kind of responses I got for the poll.  I only got one response, and that response was that the voter typically read three or more books at a time--a fellow multiple-book-reader.  I blame the low vote count on my inability to stick to a consistent schedule for posting (one of the major no-nos of blogging if you intend to maintain a following), and so I'm renewing my commitment to this blog.

And with that, I've posted the next weekly poll question in the left-hand sidebar: What is your favorite way to connect with other readers?  I look forward to seeing your responses and talking about connecting with other readers next Wednesday.  Until then ...

Happy reading and voting on the weekly poll!


Angie said...

I'm a multiple-book reader too. Your points about forcing you to really pay attention to what you're reading resonated with me. But if I'm really being honest, it's mostly about the laziness for me. I have partially-read books on each floor of my house (which is 4 for me). I love being able to pick up a book at any given time in any given location and sneak off into book land for even just a few minutes.

Jessie Sams said...

My multiplicity in books also stemmed from laziness... I like your line about "being able to pick up a book at any given time in any given location and sneak off into book land for even just a few minutes." That needs to be the mantra of booklovers everywhere. Joie de lire, people!

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