It’s not what it sounds like.
It’s not that I’m reading too much, I’m just literally reading too many books at the same time. I normally don’t do that, and now I remember why: I don’t finish them as fast.
When I was a kid, I could have 6 or 7 books going at one time just fine. My parents used to tease me about it. I haven’t done it (except as required for school) as an adult. And then, this past week, it just happened.
Here’s how it happened: I put aside The Emperor of All Maladies because I wasn’t getting though it fast enough. Every so often, I pick it up a read a while, then I move on. It’s working for me. After I finished Outlander, I started reading The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber – that was my primary reading material for the last two weeks or so. Then I had to take a road trip and needed a way to pass the time, so I started listening to the audiobook of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Then (because I’m still not done!) I went out to eat last night by myself and forgot to take The Book of Strange New Things with me. It was simply unfathomable to sit at a table and just eat (can you even imagine?!) so I went to the bookstore and picked up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
On the surface, that’s all well and good and I’ll finish them all in their own time. But what I’m afraid of is getting overwhelmed by choice when I want to read and opting not to read instead. We’ll just have to see how it goes, I suppose.
Can you read more than one book at a time?
I just came from eating lunch in the food court at school. At the table in front of me, two girls were sitting with a young man (early twenties, as far as I could tell). I didn’t see how that transpired – whether he walked up to them after they sat down or came over with them – and I don’t see that it quite matters, anyway. I wound up eavesdropping on their conversation.
He was telling them a hard-luck story: he got kicked out of his house (I caught something about parents, roommates, and cousins, so who knows), he got in a fight with a friend (or cousin?), and he walked all the way to Memphis from Moscow (which he claimed was four hours away but isn’t). He asked them if they’d heard about jobs in the area, and as I was leaving, he was mentioning something about selling bean-bag chairs. As I said, I was eavesdropping while eating and reading, and I could very well have missed details. I thought about looking for security or going to the information desk about this guy, but I decided against it – the girls didn’t seem to mind the company for some reason that I can’t comprehend.
I was sure – I AM sure – that this was some kind of scam, but I don’t want to devote any more time to thinking about it (which I will if I let myself) than it takes to write up the experience. My concern is just that maybe thinking that says more about me than it does about this presumptive scam artist. (There is no doubt in my mind, but my point still stands.) And furthermore, if that is the case, does it say more about society than it does about me?