Friday, January 25, 2013
I was never one of those people who could read two books at the same time. At least, I wasn't... until now.
It occurred to me recently that I've gotten into the habit of reading two books at once, one from my physical bookshelf and another on my iPad. The first time I did it, it was instinctive. I was running late to work, and about to grab my iPad, but made a split second decision to swipe a book off my shelf instead. Ever since then, I've been doing that regularly - I read on the iPad while I'm at home, and usually carry a physical book (or two) with me when I'm out.
It surprises me a little because I thought I was the kind of person who had to finish one book before starting another one; with the success of my new habit, I'm guessing that's changed. The fears I had previously of being too confused or overwhelmed if I read more than one book are pretty much gone now, as I've proven more than once this year that I can do it and enjoy it.
Of course, everyone has their own reading preferences when it comes to the amount of books they can handle at once. Some can handle more than me, others about the same and still others less. I've been turning over some of my preconceptions about reading more than one book at a time, and I thought I'd share some of them here.
There are multiple characters! And settings! And stories!
(also known as My Brain May Explode)
You'd think that with all these elements my brain would complain about being overworked. But there have been no complaints filed, nor has there been any whining. It appears that my brain loves the information overload that we've been experiencing, and enjoys dissecting them all in one fell swoop. It's such a revelation for me to realize that my brain is capable of so much more than I happen to give it credit for.
Because I'm very organized in real life, it's not surprising to me that my brain is too. I can file away information from the books I'm reading and retrieve it when I need to. But there are other ways to deal with that. You can write down notes, or make lists. Heck, if you want to go all out, you can make charts (because charts are awesome!). And then there's the possibility of maps too (which are a lot of fun to make!)
You'll love one book more than the other, and ditch the less favored one.
(also known as You're My Favorite)
This is half-true in my case. It's not necessarily that I love one book more than the other. It's more like I'm craving a certain kind of story, or loving a certain character a lot, which leads to me reading bigger chunks of one book over the other. I always go back and forth between the two choices though, so there's never really a pronounced favoritism when I'm reading.
What does this all boil down to?
I think it’s a surprising and very welcome development indeed that I now have the ability to read more than one book at a time. It’s probably got a lot to do with the fact that I’m reading in different formats (physical book/e-book), and that’s got me thinking that I can probably (hopefully) add audiobooks to the pile soon. I’m excited to be reading even more than I used to, and to continue developing my talent of multi-tasking (or in this case, multi-reading?).
This is new for me, but it may totally not be new for some of you. Tell me, who reads more than one book at a time? Who reads only one book at a time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing either one?
(You might also want to check out this post Jamie wrote a few weeks back about this very thing - although she did the opposite and went from reading multiple books to reading one at a time. It's a pretty darn awesome post.)