Saturday, January 27, 2007

Book Juggling

Folks over at So Many Books have been discussing just how many books they are juggling at any given many books, and what types, they are generally reading. It seems that most dedicated readers, at least the ones reporting in there, read several books at a time and have no problem keeping them all straight until they are completed.

There are definite advantages to reading several books at the same time, not the least being that the reader almost certainly always has something in progress that fits his particular mood of the moment, making it possible to avoid those frustrating dry spells when nothing strikes him as worth the effort. "Reader's block" can be as frustrating as its more famous cousin, "writer's block," if more easily solved, and though I don't think that I want to juggle a dozen books at a time like some are doing, I was surprised to see that I'm reading more books right now than I realized.

Officer Down by Theresa Schwegel, a debut novel that earned Schwegel an Edgar award and introduces a tough Chicago cop by the name of Samantha Mack (Smack).

Charles Dickinson's A Shortcut in Time, one that I'm re-reading because I enjoyed it so much the first time around. Dickinson is one of my favorite writers but his output is limited and I find myself re-reading his novels just to stay in touch with why I so much love his work.

What They'll Never Tell You About the Music Business by Peter Thall, a book that details the business aspects of today's music world and is a great help to me in another part of my world.

The Assignation by Joyce Carol Oates, a slim volume of her short stories. I always seem to be working on a collection of her short stories and just started this one a couple of days ago.

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. I've neglected the classics so far this year but I've been re-reading this one for a while now.

Getting a Life by Jacqueline Blix and David Heitmiller, a book that shows how a fast-paced life of chasing the dollar can be exchanged, over time, for a more leisurely paced life that reflects one's true values.

102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, eye-witness accounts of what went on inside the Twin Towers before they collapsed on September 11, 2001. I've been reading this one in small doses for at least six months because I find it to be so sad and hard to take.

I was a surprised to see seven books "in progress" right now but since I keep one book in the car, one or two in my briefcase, one in the bathroom, a couple of them in the bedroom and a couple on my desk at home, I can see how it happened.


  1. I have to admit that I read quite a few books at once; although, I seem to start one, start another, start a third, really enjoy the third and then finish it before going back to book 2, then start book 4, finish book 2, and so on. Book 1 typically takes the longest to read. For instance, I have read about seven books since starting to read Eats, Shoots & Leaves even though I enjoy the book.

  2. I find myself doing that, too, but in my case it's more the physical location of the books that causes my reading pace to differ from book to book. The ones that are kept in the car for "emergency" time-killing usually take the longest and, depending on office deadlines, the ones kept at work can sometimes take a while to get through...hard to read when you're grabbing a sandwich and eating at your desk while working to meet a deadline.

    Every so often, though, one of my "car books" or "office books" will demand that I take them inside to finish up with a spurt of dedicated reading because I can't put them down anymore.

  3. I am always surprised too by how many books I have going when I actually count them up. I always think of it as "just a few" and would say three or four if someone asked. So you now know just how deluded I really am! :)

  4. Stephanie, you may be "deluded" but your sure busily reading.