{What I Love} No15: library perks
{What I Love} no 17: my old photographs

{What I Love} no16: more than One Book

"I don't understand," this old conversation goes. "Why do you have to bring home so many books? Kaleb has a pile and Haley has a pile and you have 17 piles and they're scattered all over the house."

Actually, it's not even a conversation. It's sort of a rant that I try not to respond to anymore, because just as I don't understand Kendell's lack of interest in reading, I don't think that anything I say will help him understand my interest in reading.

"It's not like you can read more than one at once," the rant generally ends.

That's another thing I don't tell him anymore: of course you can. Read more than one book at a time, I mean. Well, I suppose not literally at the same time. But I am often working on more than one book. For example, right now I am reading:

1. Waltzing Again, a collection of interviews with Margaret Atwood. I'm keeping this in my van to read when I find myself waiting for someone (usually the carpool). I haven't gotten very far, and I might not finish it before I have to return it, but that's OK because I'll still get something out of it.

2.  Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. This is my main book right now. It has to be because it is long. It took me nine months to get to the top of the hold list, though, so I'm determined to finish it. I grow more and more picky about the kinds of fantasy I want to read. If it's too evocative of Tolkein, if it falls into cliched or formulaic characters or plot points, if the main character is impossibly, invincibly good at his or her given skills—these things tend to annoy me and lead to me not finishing the book. So far, though, Thronesis very slightly only a little bit Tolkein-esque, and that simply in the language; I'm finally deep enough into the story that I can keep all the characters straight. I think this is a fantasy I will finish. If I'm not reading it, I keep it in my purse so I can snatch a few extra reading minutes here and there.

3.  The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. My friend Doug loaned me this amazing book nearly a year ago. I put it in my "read soon" pile and then never got to it, but he let me know he needed it back so I'll be finishing it tonight. It is completely unlike anything you'd expect from Forster—no British high society. Instead, this is a short, swift, and entirely fierce  dystopia. It is so good that I am ashamed both for taking so long to read Doug's copy and for not knowing it even existed before he told me about it.

4. Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. Even though I think Kindles might just bring about the end of the (literary) world as we know it, and even though the new Kindle commercial-—the one with the mom sitting on the beach reading her Kindle, and her kids are over in a pavilion also reading their Kindles, and she says something like "it's the best way to read" and I want to stab her eyes out so she has to learn braille and give up her wanton reading ways (that sounds more violent than I intended) (and also please note that if you are a Kindle reader I will only want to stab your eyes out if  you are also self-satisfied and, you know, all wealthy about it like the woman in the commercial)—obviously makes me a little bit crazy, I have a confession. I don't own a Kindle but I do have the Kindle app on my phone. Unlike Kindle Commercial Lady, I don't love reading on the Kindle, but I do understand the appeal a little bit more. I'm treating it as my back up: if I forgot my book and find myself stranded somewhere with nothing to read, then I crack open this Kindle book. (Usually this happens in a movie theater.) I got it one day when it was the special deal of the day on Amazon, for just a dollar. While I didn't love Jordan's most recent book, I am enjoying this one in the small bits I've read so far. 

5. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I've been listening to this one while scrapbooking, cleaning the house, or, once, running. It's a World War II story told from a handful of different perspectives: Iris James, who is the postmistress of a small Massachusetts town, Emma Fitch, who is the new wife of the doctor in the same town, and Frankie Bard who is reporting on the Blitz in London. As I love books with multiple points of view, this works for me. I'm not as sure about the audiobook thing—I haven't quite got the knack of following along with the story. But the story! It is moving and inviting.

6. The Translated Poems of Tomas Transtromer. Transtromer won the Nobel for literature last year. I am working on understanding his thinking—some of his poems are simply bizarre beautiful objects I don't understand but still appreciate for their beauty. I want to also understand them.

I almost didn't realize it until writing this list just how many books I am reading at the same time! Totally doable. Totally pleasurable, especially when random bits from completely different books magically intersect, each informing the other.

Are you a reader of more than one book at a time? Or do you focus on just one? And what are you reading right now?



While I pretend I don't have more than one book on the go at the same time, usually I do (but not more than two at once.... or maybe three).
Right now I'm reading my way through the children's book series by Tamora Pierce (The Circle of Magic Quartet) - I'm a tenth of the way through #3 "The Fire in the Forging". I'm enjoying the development of the four young mages through the books, and the increasing complexity of the magical interplay between them.
I'm also reading #3 of Janet Evanovich's series featuring urban bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum - they're funny and hair-raising at the same time.
And actually that's it - as long as you don't count "The Listener", our weekly television guide which is also New Zealand's literary/arts/sport review magazine. I get these from my Dad, weeks after he's finished with them. Sometimes that means I miss a topical story - but mostly it means I can read the 'topical' with the benefit of a month's hindsight- quite instructive!


I can only read one book at a time (not counting scriptures and magazines). I recently read The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (enjoyed that a lot) and am now reading Maid by Kimberly Cutter. I'd like to read Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain. I want to compare Maid with it.
On my nightstand waiting to be read is a new J.A. Jance book and 3 magazines.
I just added The Postmistress to my list at my local library.

Chris S.

Just finished reading One Day and then started Crossed, but I'm having a hard time getting into it. I also have Night Circus that I borrowed from a friend and I really want to start it. So I'm sure within a day or two I'll be reading both.

Mudbound is coming up in my book club. Let me know what you think of it.

Our husbands are two peas in a pod! In the 15 years I've known him, I've never seen him read a book!


I usually have more than one book going although right now I am in a "can't find a good book" phase. I just finished the western "Flint" that my dad thinks is the one your library patron was looking for b/c after he described it, I wanted to read it. I haven't read a western in a LOONG time. Were you able to get a hold of that cute little old man to let him know about that? I checked out charlotte Bronte's Villette but after reading the forward I don't know if I want to read it. I don't know if I'm in the mood for what was described. I think I will catch up on a kids series that Jacob has been reading. I read the first 7 and then started to lose interest but he says I just HAVE to read the last couple that I haven't read.... so I suppose I must.

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