04 August 2010


Sometimes I feel like I'm on the firing range, impersonating a target, but...instead of bullets, its books that are being fired at me. Books, books and more books. What's a gal to do? Dodge what I can and juggle the rest, right? Because...not everything is going to pass me by and end up stuck in a tree (which in this analogy is my TBR list/pile/tower etc.). Yes, I know as analogies go this one is bad because I've thrown both shooting and juggling into the mix, but...bear with me?

So, I'm juggling. But, it's not that simple because the items I'm juggling aren't necessarily all the same 'size' or 'shape'. Apart from size (which as we know from The Big Book Challenge is important), one book can differ from another in a multitude of ways. There's the complexity of the plot, the number of characters (and their depth), the author's writing style, to name but a few (what else did I miss?) that all contribute. So, how does one juggle all that?

When I was young I used to juggle books all the time. But then I grew up (Peter Pan - you never did appear and whisk me off to Never Land!) and in the turmoil that is RL juggling books became harder, so I stuck with just one. But, when it comes to those big books, reading the same book endlessly (for what feels like weeks and weeks) can be soul destroying (which is probably why I have been avoiding them and thus why I instigated The Big Book Challenge :) But, upon joining the GoodReads group Beyond Reality, I discovered this brilliant system. Beyond Reality has just started reading Janny Wurts' War of Light and Shadow (fantasy) series. It's a big series, with big books and a complex plot. Janny Wurts is one of my favourite fantasy authors, but her writing style is not...straightforward. She doesn't always use everyday words and...I suppose the best way of describing it is that her sentences have an unusual structure. This structure gives the sentences layers...nuances, but you can't skim through the book or else you lose the underlying meaning and the beautiful imagery. So, to allow for this, a cunning plan was instigated - to read one book every 6 weeks or so...or three chapters per week. It's brilliant! Three chapters is approximately 100-150 pages, which means you have time to read other books during that same week. And that's what I'm doing. I don't feel like I'm bogged down on one book, regardless of how brilliant it is; I don't feel like my TBR list is getting away from me. (Well, maybe ATM because the 'other' book I picked to read is another complex fantasy novel. Yes, I'm an idiot! Still loving both books though :)
And because this approach is working so well for me I'm going to use it when I read my 'big book' - Kushiel's Dart (Jacqueline Carey). As for when I'm starting it...when I take a week's holiday in a month or two *grin* After all, no sense is not taking advantage of my annual leave:)

So, do you read more than one book at once and, if so, how do you juggle them?

Edited to add: Sometimes I re-read my posts and honestly wonder what I've been smoking (except I don't smoke) they are so off the wall!


  1. I don't read more than one book at a time and I honestly wonder how/why people do it? I guess it makes sense if the book is long - but I just like my one little book in front of me.

    PS - your posts are not crazy! ;)


  2. I agree with Mandi. Your posts aren't crazy - they're interesting!

    I tend to only read one book at a time. Sometimes I get annoyed at a book and have to let it sit for a while, and then I just read some shorts or another book before going back to the first one.

  3. I don't read more than one book at a time. I tried reading a few pages a day for Lorna Doone, and I DID manage to finish it, so that method can work. But then I feel like I'm doing high school reading assignments. :P

  4. Your posts are definitely not crazy, woman--they are thought-provoking.

    It is an interesting question...

    While I'm not a truly fast reader, if the book has truly pulled me in, I can read about a hundred pages in an hour or so. This means that even looooooong books can be read in a few days--again, if they've pulled me in--so I rarely feel the need to juggle books.

    However, if I'm in a reading funk (read: reduced to re-reads) I may juggle a couple of old favorites.

    And of course, if I start a book and put it down immediately, I usually leave it alone for a bit and try something else--I find it's not fair to the book if I force myself to read something when I'm not in the mood for it.

    (Don't ask me how I know the difference between "not in the mood" and "won't ever be able to read"--I don't think I could verbalize it!)

  5. Mandi - I don't know why people do it either :) Saying that, I am finding that I can read this one book slowly...savour it...and not feel like I'm holding up my TBR list (if that makes sense). And..are you sure my posts aren't crazy?

    Chris - I don't know. Sometimes I really think they are off the wall :) Hmm. See, I used to be able to put books down and come back to them...now I can't. It's like my OCD rears its head and nudges me...because it's something uncompleted. I hate uncompleted.

    heidenkind - ohhh. High school reading assignments? Thankfully I never used that approach when reading for school or my cunning plan would go up in a ball of smoke ;)

    azteclady - am sure there is a clear difference between 'not in the mood' and 'won't ever be able to read' because they both make perfect sense to me...but I wouldn't be able to articulate the difference either :)

  6. Sometimes I'm afraid that my TBR pile really will squash me! I'm not good at juggling books. I'll sit down and read a book in one sitting for the most part but when it comes to non-fiction I usually only read maybe a chapter or two at a time. I've been reading a few biographies for years now...

  7. Ladytink - welcome! I too have that same fear (that my TBR pile will squash me). Am sure it breeds when I'm not looking *grin* And I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one indulging in a bit of juggling :)

  8. I typically read one book at a time from start to finish.

    However... Very often I find myself reading several pages of another book at some time while I'm reading my "main" book. The "other" book is usually a completely different genre as the "main" and I don't usually read more than 20-40 pages total. And it's usually the book that I suspect or plan to read next. Holy cow that's messed up. LOL.

    I don't know why I do that. I suspect that it's really some goofy reason, like laziness to go to another floor of the house to grab my "main" book so I read a few pages from another book that's handy.