Skip to main content

I'm promiscuous. How about you?

I am often reading several books at a time. I call this book-hopping and I got into the habit when I was in college. Thing is: People don't seem to think it's normal. In fact I often get asked how I manage not to get confused and mix up all the plots and characters.

Here's a common occurrence chez moi:

In the loo I'm currently reading 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I started reading it 2014 and expect to finish it in 2017. After than I'll probably read 1.000 Places You must See Before You Die.

I usually keep books of articles and essays in the kitchen that I grab to get my reading fix with my breakfast whenever I haven't brought in another book that I'm carrying around between rooms. Currently, however, I'm reading The Boy's Book of Survival (How to Survive Anything, Anywhere).

I might be reading a novel and a travelogue by turns in the bedroom and living room. In addition I always have a book or two loaded into my smartphone for reading in the queue at those unhappy times when I have to go shopping for food during rush hour.

That makes five active reads, but I have had as many as ten books on the go at once, and back in college I sometimes juggled that number of school books in addition to one or two leisure reads. If you were to count all the books strewn around my apartment with bookmarks sticking out of them you might think I have as many as thirty books on the go, but I only count books I have read something in at least once in the past week, whereas some of the bookmarked books have lain untouched for a year or more. I guess this makes me a promiscuous reader.

I seldom get confused, and that is only on the rare occasion when I accidentally start reading two very similar books, for example with a similar story background or lead characters with the same or similar names. The trick, if there is one, is to never read two books of the same genre or by the same author at the same time.

Mind you, I don‘t do this all the time. I might have, say, four books going, but if one of them suddenly becomes too absorbing to put down, I will put the others aside and concentrate on that one book to the end. I might also go through periods when I only read monogamously for weeks or months on end, but I eventually will move back into the wondrous polygamy of book-hopping.

The advantage of book-hopping over reading one at a time is variety. I could be simultaneously enjoying a travelogue from Africa, reading a novel and learning about Japanese cuisine, but the downside is that it can interfere with continuity and make it difficult to become really absorbed in a book.

So, dear reader: Are you a promiscuous or a monogamous reader, or somewhere in-between?


Popular posts from this blog

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.

Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.

Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.

Fold the square diagonally in two. You…

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…

Stiff – The curious lives of human cadavers

Originally published in November and December 2004, in 4 parts. Book 42 in my first 52 books challenge.

Author: Mary Roach
Year published: 2003
Pages: 303
Genre: Popular science, biology
Where got:

Mom, Dad, what happens after we die?

This is a classic question most parents dread having to answer. While this book doesn’t answer the philosophical/theological part of the question – what happens to the soul? - it does claim to contain answers to the biological part, namely: what happens to the body?

Reading progress for Stiff:
Stiff is proving to be an interesting read. Roach writes in a matter-of-fact journalistic style that makes the subject seem less grim than it really is, but she does on occasion become a bit too flippant about it, I guess in an attempt to distance herself. Although she uses humour to ease the grimness, the jokes – which, by the way, are never about the dead, only the living, especially Roach herself – often fall flat. Perhaps it’s just me, but this is a serio…