Tuesday, June 24, 2014

12 books at once

I have a friend who loves to read as much as I do. She speeds through books without any trouble. But we have very different approaches to reading. She has to finish one book before she can begin another. More disciplined than I, she has a list that she uses and checks each book off as she goes, never starting this one before finishing that one.

Me - not so much.

I love visiting the library with my big book bag. I collect as I walk, stopping in aisles and grabbing titles without a plan, simply because of the colors or fonts on the spine at times. A quick browse through the pages and many end up in my bag. Checking out with 6+ books is not uncommon for me. There are days when I have to stop simply because I cannot carry them all.

Then I bring them home and begin.

I have 13 library books at home at the moment. I have started reading 12 of them. My friend cringed when I told her.

Granted, they are not all novels. In fact, very few are. Flipping through a book on vegan cookies while reading Doctor Sleep is not the same as trying to read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings at the same time. But they all interest me, they all call to me at different times throughout the day. All I ask is that they open my eyes to something new. When they do, I keep turning their pages until the end.

Sometimes I wonder if this crazed approach to reading is a result of having a smartphone and laptop always within reach. The need for an instant update, new info, has become a powerful force. But then I remember that no, I used to do the same thing way before my phone, way before my laptop.

Summers were always full of reading for me. School was out and I could read whatever I wanted - joy! I'd read anything and everything I could find. But even back then, back in middle school, I had multiple books going at once.

I always had a soothing book for night reading that would help me forget the scary things I read from Stephen King. And I was always reading something from Stephen King. My grandfather knew I liked his books, so every time he was in a book store, he found another one for me to devour.

I had a classic going at all times - I thought it was very sophisticated to be able to say, "I'm reading War and Peace," even if I never finished it.

I was forever reading Watership Down for some reason. I did finish it once, and I think I must have skipped sections, so I went back to re-read. But I couldn't dig into it a second time, so it sat with a cute pink tasseled bookmark perpetually marking my last attempt. 

And then there were whatever new books I'd stumbled upon during a trip to the library. Some kept my interest right away and some were discarded after the first few pages. But it was never wasteful, my approach to reading. I would immediately return what I could - completed or simply "finished-with" - and start my search again, book bag open and ready for treasure.

Open my eyes. Show me something new. It's what I asked then, and it's what I ask now. I think I'll head to the library again today...

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