The Fickle Reader

I’m in one of those phases.  I’m almost finished with Goldfinger.  I’m flipping through Lorrie Moore’s Self-Help for the pieces I skipped when I read it the first time.  I’m 75 pages into Unbearable Lightness, the Portia de Rossi memoir I swore I wouldn’t waste two seconds on.  I’ve got a yen to re-read Ordinary People (for the 4th time) to see how the narrative works.  I’m listening to A Thousand Acres yet again on audio while I walk my dogs.  And yesterday I had Borders Bucks to spend, so I made a special trip to the book store and bought Lauren Hillenbrand’s latest, Unbroken.

You could say I’m all over the place.  Because I am.

Some might say I’m fickle, that I can’t commit to one story at a time.  But you know what?  I kind of like it this way.  It feels familiar and strangely, perfectly organized.  This is how I used to read when I was in my 20’s, and back then it never once crossed my mind — maybe because my mind was too busy with all those story lines! — that this was the least bit scattered.  So, what the heck.  I’m going to give this Old-Me reading style a whirl again, and see how it goes.  We’ll see if I can keep them all straight …

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10 thoughts on “The Fickle Reader

  1. glasseye

    I have to laugh, because this is what I do. It feels much tidier when I do this sort of thing on my Kindle, rather than living with the Leaning Tower of Books on my bedside table. I can pretend to be methodical.

  2. amyg

    i can’t even imagine what reading only one book at a time would be like. and i’m not saying that for affect; i literally can’t grasp the concept of starting (one) book, reading it from start to finish, and then starting another.

    books constantly overlap for me. writers name other writers. new characters remind me of old stories. one book begs to be balanced by another.

    i use books to get me in the mood (whatever mood i’m trying to find). they keep me motivated, allow me to be lazy, direct my career, inspire me to write, talk me into taking a run. i have old favorites (fear of flying, power of myth transcriptions, vampire lestat, dorothy parker portable companion) that stay on my nightstand because i like to have old friends nearby; you know, in case i just want to visit for a little while.

  3. Teri Post author

    I think it was going back to school that moved me to reading one book (maybe 2) at a time. It seemed like there was always some 300 or 500 page classic to finish and write a paper about, so there wasn’t time to read like I wanted to. And after a few years of that, it became the norm. Now that school is finally over I can go back to reading my Leaning Tower of Books (love that image, glasseye).

  4. Bonnie Middlebrooks

    Coit Tower from the top of Lombard Street? Thanks for the visual. I think I need to plan a day trip soon.

    I am in awe of your ability to read more than 2 books at a time. I find myself rereading pages in my current good read, “Stones into Schools”, because I want to really remember some of these facts and because to believe there are so many good people doing good things for girls gives me hope for our involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  5. lisahgolden

    This has been my style for as long as I can remember. Three books in the bathroom. (It’s the quietest room in the house.) One at my bedside with two on deck. Another in my purse and an audio book for when I drive.

    And a stack of Harpers in the dining room for when I need a short story fix.

    I like the term fickle. As my uncle once told me when he thought I was too young for a steady boyfriend, variety is the spice of life.

  6. Downith

    A very attractive acquaintance years ago told me she had a rule for boyfriends, one on the way in, one on the way out and one on the side. I tend to apply this to books. I’m nearly finished Just Kids, I’m a few chapters into February and I’ve got My Antonia on the side.

  7. MacDougal Street Baby

    I’ve always been a one-book-at-a-time kind of gal. I never thought I had enough space in my head for more than one story line. Until recently. I read Just Kids while also pouring over Stones Into Schools and I really enjoyed the experience. I’m not ready for a 3-way but two at a time was incredibly enjoyable.

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