How Many Books Are You Reading?

Last night, as Mike and I were going to bed, I read to him from a book I had just started. It was a book on marriage. It was debunking traditional advice given to people who desire to have a better marriage. Then this morning I read to him something I had read about Nihilism. It interested me because it applied to a problem a friend of ours was struggling with.

He said to me, “I thought you were reading the book about marriage.”

“I am,” I responded, “but I’m also reading about Nihilism.”

Then he thought for a minute. “And weren’t you just talking to me about something you read from A Wrinkle in Time?”

“Yep. I’m reading that too.”

I counted them up and admitted that I was actually reading six books at the moment.

He laughed, because he had five books of his own going at that time.

Now, before you put me in the “egg-head” category I need to make it crystal clear that I’m not a part of the new intelligentsia—as if that’s exactly what you were thinking. I do love books, but primarily because I need lots of help with life.

Sadly, I can’t take St. John Chrysostom, C.S. Lewis or David McCullough to lunch and pick their brains. I can’t literally surround myself with all the people smarter than me, or people who have traveled down roads on which I’m traveling. But I can surround myself with their words. So, when I have a question, when I need help, when I need to see life from a different perspective, I pick up a book.

I don’t always finish books. Occasionally I do, but more often than not I don’t. And that’s just fine. Sometimes it’s like meeting someone, getting the help you need and moving on without having to know everything they say about everything. And let’s be honest, some books aren’t worth finishing.

But many are and I just keep them going until I’ve gotten what I need, I get bored, something else grabs my attention, or until I finish them and grieve over their departure.

As I’ve thought about the number of books I tend to have at my side at any given time, I discovered three reasons why I don’t stick to just one:

1. Books come in a variety of formats. Each format fits a particular situation.

Traditional bound books:
Perfect for morning reading. I usually have a ruler and a pen in my hand. I ask questions, jot down comments in the margins and have a conversation with the author while I enjoy my morning coffee.

Audio books:
Great for road trips and long walks.

Electronic books:
Best for air travel and waiting rooms.

2. Books address the diversity of life’s circumstances. Life comes at you fast, from all angles.

Stories, Fiction, History:
For when I need some comic relief or a new perspective on life.

Practical Living:
For when I need to tap into someone else’s life experience and get concrete help for life’s challenges.

Personal Growth:
For when I need inspiration and an encouraging word from travelers who are ahead of me on life’s road.

3. Our days play out in a variety of settings. The different settings present different opportunities for learning.

Morning Reading:
My mind is the most alert and the most “teachable” in the morning. Consequently, this is when I tend to read “heavier” material.

On-the-go Reading:
If I’m likely to be distracted or interrupted I’ll gravitate toward fiction or stories that don’t require me to have a pen and paper in hand.

Bedtime Reading:
Because I’m already sleepy, I need a book that I can read in snippets. I rarely finish a chapter at night so I want to read bite-sized portions that will give my mind something positive to meditate on while I sleep.

So, there you have it. Three reasons why I read several books at one time and why it’s OK for you, too.

QUESTION: What about you? How many books are you reading right now?

P.S. Here are the books I’m currently reading:

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Audio Book)

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller (Kindle)

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman (Paperback)

Nihilism, The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose (Paperback)

Giver of Life, The Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition by Fr. John Oliver (Paperback)

The Melody of Faith, Theology in an Orthodox Key by Vigen Guroian (Paperback)

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82 Responses to “How Many Books Are You Reading?”

  1. I love this post, and enjoyed reading the comment thread too. Lots of great recommendations to add to my ever growing list. I’m always dipping in and out of books too. The only exception is fiction. I don’t usually read more than one novel at a time, but the non-fiction stack on the nightstand is always teetering. Your post reminds me that I want to reread A Wrinkle in Time. Thank you for writing!

  2. I am usually reading 3-4 at a time. I think that trend dates back to my grad school days, when I reading a number of books all at once for my lit classes. Right now I’m reading Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine, Austen’s Persuasion, and a historical novel that I’m reviewing for a website. I love reading more than one at once, ’cause I can pick and choose what I’d like to read depending on my mood. Certainly keeps things interesting!

  3. This is a wonderful blog post. My wife and I keep stacks of books beside the bed and near our favorite chairs – I probably have two or three tucked in pockets in my car. I’ve wondered (feared) if this illustrates an undiagnosed attention deficit, so your post is reassuring. Currently, I’m reading Ian Cron’s “Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me,” Ken Robinson’s “The Element,” Tony Campolo’s “Let Me Tell You a Story,” and the book of Nehemiah. Your point about not feeling compelled to finish every book also resonates. When I held the notion that I had to finish any book I ventured inside beyond the opening pages, I didn’t read as often. It’s liberating to feel comfortable saying, “Thanks, that’s enougth for now.” Thanks (you should write a book on reading).

  4. It’s fun reading through these recommendations! I’ve added a few books to my “To-Read” list.

    My current stack:
    The Fitting Room–Kelly Minter
    Organized Simplicity–Tsh Oxenreider
    The Help–Kathryn Stockett
    Home Education–Charlotte Mason (Kindle)
    The Count of Monte Cristo–Dumas (Kindle)
    Mere Christianity–Lewis (MP3)
    The Hiding Place-tenBoom (MP3)
    Charlotte Mason Education–Catherine Levison

  5. I love this post, and enjoyed reading the comment thread too. Lots of great recommendations to add to my ever growing list. I’m always dipping in and out of books too. The only exception is fiction. I don’t usually read more than one novel at a time, but the non-fiction stack on the nightstand is always teetering. Your post reminds me that I want to reread A Wrinkle in Time. Thank you for writing!

  6. Thank you for your post. I often have half a dozen books going at once as well. I take a little bit from here a jot from from there in the spare and rare moments of motherhood. I noticed that an ad for debunking the myths of mormonism as a cult came when I viewed your blog. I did not know if you were aware of that. It links to Same on Facebook when one calls up a Christian video. Just so you are aware…God bless!

  7. Gail, I am so impressed with folks who can keep the thread going of reading several books at a time. I read mostly on my kindle, iphone and now ipad and read the same book on whichever device is in my hand at the moment. I might be reading in line at Publix or in the doctor’s waiting room on my iPhone, my Kindle in the car on a trip or out on the porch and get to the same book on my iPad in bed at night because I don’t have to turn a light on and don’t bother my husband. I think for me it is a concentration thing. I read a book until I’m done and then read another one. I have been able in recent years to just quit if the book is not fulfilling or if I have gotten what I need from it. Not yet to the point of being able to read more than one at a time. Especially fiction. College reading was very tricky, as I majored in Philosophy and History. Lots of reading all the time. I can’t tell you how many whole days I spent on the couch plowingatraight through Plato, Kierkegaard, Descartes, etc. while waiting to read my history texts and primary sources! THAT was a stretch for me.

    I’m loving your blog and following your adventures on Twitter!

  8. Good reading. Like others have mentioned… it is freeing to realize that it’s okay to have multiple books going! And to not finish!

    My current list:
    One Thousand GIfts by Ann Voskamp
    The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel
    Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction by Geraldine Markel
    Making a Home For Faith by Elizabeth Cladwell
    Putting Away Childish Things by Marcus Borg (my one novel)
    Pray Like Hell: How to Talk with God by Maxine Outlaw
    And there are a bunch more that I’ll probably never finish…
    and here’s the one that I figured was the explanation for having such a long list: ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau

  9. Bible
    Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire by Rafe Esquith
    Lord, Only You can Change Me by Kay Arthur
    Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging by Brennan Manning
    Knowing the Heart of the Father by David Eckman

    Pre-reading: The Mystery of History Volume 1 by Linda Lacour Hobar

    Reading to children: Chester Cricket’s New Home by George Seldon

    In my last town I had a dear friend who was a children’s librarian. I loved to go to her house and see the stacks of books she and her husband were currently reading :) She said we all need a mixture of books to read for different moods, different times of day, energy and focus levels.

    Loved this post :)

  10. This is perfect, “What’s wrong with multiple conversations at once? It’s like college or high school – we switched classes, didn’t we? We listened to different instructors, and took it all in?” Thank you for that.

  11. I’ve often approached my professional reading like this – gleaning, hitting the high points, consulting the index for the matters I need help in, or the areas I’m most interested in. And non-fiction lays around the house, on corners and in assorted bookcases and across counters – a moment here, a chapter there. What’s wrong with multiple conversations at once? It’s like college or high school – we switched classes, didn’t we? We listened to different instructors, and took it all in?
    Why do we stop seeking to ingest it all? Why grow small due to a restricted diet? Feed the mind, feed the soul…

    I have recently taken to reading whole books of the Bible all in one go. Not the verse-by-verse of study, but the consumption-in-one-sitting of the hungry. It speaks differently when taken in all at once.

    Yet I must agree with others here; fiction is usually one by one. Immersion, like in language study, is what makes fiction work.

    Is the current list required? A partial listing from memory:
    Corrie ten Boom’s Tramp for the Lord,
    The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee,
    SEAL Team SIx by Wasdin,
    Education of a Child by Fenelon,
    God is in the Small Stuff, by Bruce & Stan,
    Webster’s unending Honor Harrington series.

  12. I seem to be in the minority here, but I like to start one and read it through because my mind gets engaged with that line of thought and all else seems to be an interruption. I just finished Sara Paretsky’s Hardball last evening–it was my 4th of July weekend treat. I have The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron on my shelf to start next, and Peterson’s on the parable & prayers of Jesus which I am reading for my bookclub, but even those I like to read non-stop. I enjoyed this blog and the comments and seeing everyone’s book list.

    • There’s a part of me that envies you. I’ll bet you’re very organized and not ADD at all. You probably get a lot more done than I. Embrace it. :-)

  13. I always have several books going at the same time and there are many I don’t finish. And I’m so glad you mentioned reading in the tub (hot or bath or jacuzzi) because that is my very favorite place to read. A nice hot soak, with bubbles and a good book, seems to wash away so much more than daily grime. It’s more like prayer to me, as it soothes and heals me, tempers my outrage, mends my tattered feelings, and smooths my rough edges. It doesn’t matter what’s in the book, or even a magazine, it’s just the act of reading in that pool of sweet smelling warmth that so comforts me. So glad to know that others share this wonderful practice!

  14. I’m here from Ann’s link. It’s neat how different personalities read and I enjoyed reading your post and several of the comments. I rarely have more than 3 books going at a time. I sometimes have one I read a chapter or portion of in conjunction with my devotional time. And I almost always have a novel going. But unless it is a biography, nonfiction, for me, requires focus if I am going to “get” what the author is saying. I like reading the whole book straight through so I can absorb it in context and in the flow of the author’s thinking. Maybe that’s why I don’t read as much non-fiction as I should, lol! The only time I would just read parts of books is if I am looking something up for reference.

    I just finished missionary classic Goforth of China and am almost finished with novel No Distance Too Far by Lauraine Snelling. I’m also going through a little booklet titles Gospel Meditations For Women by Chris Anderson and Joe Tyrpak.

  15. Jennifer

    I thought I would try to read David Mccullough’s biography of John Adams. I thought it was Patriotic.

    • OK, here’s another way to get the material, movies. If you haven’t seen HBO’s John Adams, you MUST, I repeat MUST get it. It’s a 6 hour mini-series based on McCullough’s book and is a 5-star +.

  16. That strikes a chord. Back when books were mostly just made of paper, and took a bit more effort to access, I was a strictly one-book-at-a-time sort of person. But Kindle’s and audiobooks have changed that in a big way. I have around 7 to 9 books on the go right now, and in a way I don’t like it because some of the books I am not really sure if I am still reading them or if i have given up on them. And when I return to them I feel like I should start over. Technological overload.

    But I still listen to audiobooks one at a time. Having a great time with utopian science-fiction lately, so just finished the Handmaid’s Tale and starting on A Canticle for Leibowitz tomorrow in the car.

  17. I always have several books on the go. For bedtime and in the bath I usually read light fiction, like whodunits, or computer how-to books. For theology, and other non-fiction I usually read at times when I have the computer running to make notes if necessary.

  18. Thank you for releasing me from my guilt at not always finishing books! Sometimes I absolutely love a book, but never finish – – it must be that I’ve gotten what I need – – had never thought of it that way. Currently reading:
    What Happens When Women Say Yes to God – Lysa Terkeurst
    Made to Crave – Lysa Terkeurst (on a Lysa kick right now)
    Quitter – Jon Acuff
    Organized Simplicity – Tsh Oxenreider
    Decision Points – George W. Bush
    The Cause Within You – Matthew Barnett

  19. I too like so many others enjoy having a couple of stories going at the same time. Here’s my list –

    1) The War of Art – Steven Pressfield – based on Jon Acuff’s recommendation
    3) Quitter – by Jon Acuff – my wife says it’s life changing
    4) Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller – it’s a re-read in anticipation of the movie’s fall release

  20. I love your basket idea. I might have to steal that one.

    And you mentioned two of my very favorite books: One Thousand Gifts!! and The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I was a huge Schaeffer fan in the 70’s. I even visited Swiss L’Abri in 1974.

    • Now I’m officially jealous, Gail. I’ve always wanted to go to L’Abri. Have you read The Tapestry – a large, out-of-print autobiography Edith published in the early 80’s. Knowing of my love for the Schaeffers and my interest in L’Abri, my best friend gifted me with a hardbound copy for my b’day 3 years ago. It’s a lovely read, as well.

  21. I love how you describe your reading. I had not given it much thought, but mine are much the same – except that I do very little, if any, bedtime reading, or any reading after supper, for that matter. It simply puts me to sleep and is non-productive.

    Depending on the book, I tend to read slowly, thoughtfully – savoring and chewing on passages for a while. Except for fiction. If it captures my attention, it will be my only read until I’ve reached the end, but if I find it less captivating, I might read a chapter and never pick it up again.

    I keep all my current reads in a basket (including my Bible and devotional books) that I can pick up and take with me where ever I decide to read – whether it’s a living room chair or the backyard swing. I don’t have a kindle or nook, so if we are traveling, I grab a book(s) from that basket before we head out the door.

    Every book in that basket is not one I am actively reading, but it is one that I’d like to refer to often and want handy. Books in that category include my friend Ann’s book, One Thousand Gifts. The books I am actively reading at the moment include: Weird by Groeschel, How to Write with Flair by Heather Holleman, Art for God’s Sake by Ryken, Refractions by Fujimura, Kneeling We Triumph (an out of print book recommended by missionary friends), The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer (a book off my shelf that needs to be re-read).

  22. I never read more than one novel at a time, mostly because a novel just sucks me right in and I submerge until it’s finished. if it doesn’t grab me right away, I get out another. :) I typically read a novel in one gulp over a long evening. So it’s rare for me to say I’m reading a certain novel right now, especially since it is morning as I type this and any book I started the night before would be finished before I could go to bed! I just read Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz.

    Non fiction is different though. I’m usually reading non fiction for research so I just stick a toe in this one and a finger in that one to glean what i need to know. :) Right now I’m reading a book about Ocracoke NC (Ocracokers by Ballance) and a book on book marketing (How I Sold a Million ebooks in Five Months by John Locke) and a book on lighthouses (Guardians of the Light by DeWire.) I’m also working through a Beth Moore study on David, A Heart LIke His.

    Great post, Gail!So funny how everyone’s habits are different. :)

  23. I’m working on three books at the moment:

    The Spartan Life by Scott Westerman (about Michigan State Univ. life — not Sparta!)

    Clinical Mastery in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain by Ferguson and Gerwin


    Take the Risk by Ben Carson

  24. Like many of you, I was liberated to be given “permission” to read more than one book at a time. I also find myself not reading to the end on occasion, whew! I cannot be happier to hear well-read, intelligent folks follow a similar pattern.
    Currently I am reading;
    Good to Great by Jim Collins
    Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick
    The Noticer by Andy Andrews
    Love Wins by Rob Bell

    Loved your post! Thanks

  25. I found this post via Shelia Mullican, and I LOVE it! I always have several books going at once as well though I try to finish them if I can (I have to say I am not always lucky with that one). I could read all day if possible! Currently I am reading The Cambridge Companion to Dante as I am trying to get through the Divine Comedy; We Need to Talk About Kevin (it is a well written work that is fictional and tells the story of a woman whose son commits a murder though I don’t think the images are the best for my mind); and a biography of Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire that won the Whitbread Prize several years ago. Next up is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and an anthology of essays about Victorian literature.

    I love your Orthodox reads. Please let us know more about them–perhaps on your twiter feed in the future? You seem to be in the know with that kind of reading and I am always interested in deepening m y faith!

    • You, too have given me lots to investigate. Fun.

      See you on Twitter. :-) (What is your Twitter name?)

      • I am not on Twitter, Gail. I just read other people’s blogs and stuff–like Twitter! I have commented here before, and I found you through your husband, who I initally found on AFR. (I read your husband’s blog all the time–and just saved one his latest posts about holding successful meetings as I have started to lead meetings at my new job and have enromous respect for you husband and what he has accomplished.) I frequently comment on Shelia’s blog as well, and I am friends with her on facebook so we sometimes converse that way too.

  26. i usually read a book at a time. i am reading stieg Larsson,s the girl who played with fire now but i have queued up a number of walter mosley mysteries, the decision book by mikael krogerus and roman tschappeler, paycheck are top earners really worth it by david bolchover , showtime by Pat Riley and myles munroe kingdom principles. I am reading them as paperback cos thats easier to carry and drop anywhere i want and i cant read more than one at a time… how do you guys and ladies do 6 at once?

  27. Love this. I always have multiple books going at the same time. If I’m remembering correctly, I have 8 going right now. I also am a mood reader (as someone earlier said). I’ve been keeping a list since 1995 and it’s interesting to see the ebb and flow of life in my reading…amounts and types. I can tell which years I had babies (read? who has time to read much?) and when they turned 3 (new found independence). I’ll never understand people who hate to read. Great post!!!

  28. I have 6 going myself at the moment. Leadership is Dead – Jeremy Kubicek, Weird – Craig Groeschel, Training Camp – Jon Gordon, Quitter – John Acuff, Today We Are Rich – Tim Sanders, The Right To Lead – John C Maxwell. The kicker is I’m reading these all using kindle software on my iphone. It’s not as bad as you would think & the benefit of having all my books available is cool. I do have to say, I look forward to getting an IPad though.

    • Several of these are on my list. I really want to get back to Today We Are Rich! I started it and then loaned out my copy.

  29. thesingingnurse Reply July 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I guess I need to correct the “hot tub” it is really a jacuzzi, but it works nicely. Glad to hear the chatter about the Derek Siver’s book, I was thinking of reading it.

  30. I think you are more typical than you think. Right now I am reading:
    1. Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter)
    2. The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lews
    3. The Names of God, Lester Sumrall
    4. Not The Way Its Supposed To Be, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
    5. Tell It Slant, Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola
    Good post.

  31. I’m so glad to see someone else with multiple books going at once. I love to hear what others are reading. Here’s what I’m reading:
    Story by Steven James
    Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
    It Starts at Home by Kurt Bruner & Steve Stroope
    The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers
    Visioneering by Andy Stanley
    They Were Single Too by David hoffeditz
    WordSpeak by Laura Bower

    • Sadly, the only one on your list that I’ve read is Visioneering. I loved it. One of my favorite books is also by Andy Stanley, The Principle of the Path. You should definitely add that one to your list.

  32. I LOVE this!! You explained it so well:) I have tried often to explain to my husband why I need to be reading several books at one time. He was so excited to buy me an e-reader so I now don’t tote a bag full of books around with me! Most of my friends don’t “get it” either so thank you for sharing that you are a more-than-one-book-at-a-time reader too! Currently I’m reading:
    Three Cups of Tea:One Man’s Mission to Change the World…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
    Secure Daughters, Confident Sons by Glenn Stanton
    Weird by Craig Groeschel
    Made to Crave by Lysa Terquerst

  33. I like your analogy of having coffee with someone and having your mind wander. I may have to do a little better about sticking with a book a bit longer. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  34. I enjoyed your blog post very much and identified with how you read books! There was a time that I finished most books I started but the last few years that has changed. I also find that I leave books for some time and then go back and read more bits and pieces. The funny thing is that sometimes I feel guilty for not finishing… almost as though I am cheating the author out of finishing what’s on his or her heart. (Kind of like when you’re out for coffee and suddently find your mind wandering from the conversation.) Reading this was good for me! Thank you for this glimpse into your life!

  35. I’m reading 3 books right now. Jeffrey Deaver’s Carte Blanc, Derek Siver’s Anything You Want and iMovie The Missing Manuel. I try to only read one fiction and one nonfiction at one time. That way my brain doesn’t get confused.

  36. Rebecca garnett Reply July 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks Gail.I am exactly the same. I love the way you have broken it down and have made sense of my bizarre reading habits! I won’t feel so guilty now when I don’t finish a book! I am reading Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks , 3 books on the bible by Prof Fee.Love Wins by Rob Bell.

  37. Yep, usually 6 or 8 at a time. I love audiobooks. Usually at least one on my phone and one on my kindle, sometimes I start one on my computer as well. Then usually at least one fiction, at least one theology, at least one non-fiction that isn’t theology.

    I frequently start at book, realize I need to read up on something it is talking about, so read another book about the first book, before heading back to the first book again.

    • Sorry my list:
      -Earthen Vessel by Matthew Lee Anderson (great book on the theology of the bible. (kindle)
      -Luke by John McArthur (kindle)
      -Simply Christian by NT Wright (audio)
      -The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson (audio)
      -Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins
      -The Oak and the Calf by Solzhenitsyn
      -Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A theological dialogue with NT Wright (this is one that I didn’t know enough about NT Wrights books on Paul and Jesus, so I just finished his Jesus book and about to start his Paul book)

      Heading to the beach tomorrow so I know I will add some fiction.

  38. Friend, My reading habits are very like yours. Always several books going at once. Different formats. Different sorts. Usually at least one that I’m reading with others. Usually one that I’m reading aloud to my children. Books about faith, art, creativity, history. Biographies. Sometimes poetry. And always something fictional. I’m just crazy about a well-told story. I should say though, that, like David, I find it terribly difficult to leave a book unfinished. I have done it, but only in great extremity.

    Here are my current reads. You won’t be surprised to see that a couple overlap yours. :)

    Phantastes by George Macdonald
    Being as Communion by John Zizioulas
    The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
    On Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
    The Melody of Faith, Theology in an Orthodox Key by Vigen Guroian
    Giver of Life, The Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition by Fr. John Oliver

    • You and I should be reading some of these together. I guess we are reading the Giver of Life together in our Tuesday group. I’ve read One Thousand Gifts and LOVED it. Being as Communion is on my list, as it The Artist’s Way. I haven’t read any of George MacDonald’s books. SO … which shall it be? You inspire me.

      Mike and I saw Midnight in Paris tonight. LOVED it, but it showed me how much, and whom I don’t know. Gotta get busy.

      • Since you like Midnight in Paris you will probably love David McCullough’s new book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. Set in the nineteenth century, it follows the lives of Americans who came to Paris to study (medicine, art, science, etc…).You will recognize most of them. It’s almost like being at a reunion with folks you feel like you know. So fun to see who will show up next. Very like Midnight in Paris. Their lives are interwoven with French luminaries of the period as well as the events of nineteenth century France (The Commune, the Franco-Prussian war, etc…)

        I love discussing anything with you, friend. You name it, I’m in. :)

  39. thesingingnurse Reply July 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Well I have decided that the reason I am not in the depths of a great adult book (besides my DAB in the am) is because my hot tub has been on the blink (how spoiled huh) and that is where I have spent a lot of time reading. You know, doing two things at once, soaking the creaky bones and reading too. But, I daily read great children’s books, so I will pass them on to you just in case you need one.
    Barefoot Books has a few that I like, because of course I like music, lyrics and reading to kids, so the sing-along books(they come with a CD) by Barefoot are great for all three.
    1. UP, Up, Up- by Susan Read and Rachel Oldfield
    2. Knick Knack Paddy Whack- by SteveSongs and Christiane Engel
    3. If You’re Happy and You Know It!- by Anna McQuinn and Sophie Fatus
    The above are very colorful and delightful visually.
    4. Daisy Dog’s Wake-Up Book- by Ilse-Margret Vogel
    Number 4. is very tattered and seems to be out of print or fits in the antique category which makes the purchase pricey. Looking for copies to give to my grown children for their children, that would be grand kids right?
    I enjoyed your book reading post….It reminds me to remind the fix it guy (husband) to repair my reading station.
    Have a great week-end and Forth of July….

    • Thanks for the recommendations. I, too love to read while I soak. Though for me it’s in the bathtub. (We’ve got a GREAT soaking tub.) But one thing on my wish-list is a hot tub. :-)

  40. If you can read a lot of books at one time I applaud you for that. I’ve tried, but it never really worked for me. I hardly ever finish them, and I hate that feeling. The best writers I have read work toward a kind of crescendo. Their books make you wait. Like anyone else, I hate to wait. But at the same time I love to be in a writer’s power. So I have gone back to my one book at a time habit I started years ago. If I like an author I tend to devour them. When I first read Dickens, I had to read all of Dickens. Then Dostoevsky, Thomas Wolfe, Thomas Merton, and others. I often reread my favorites.

    For me, books are more marathon than sprint. [And remember what our moms said about snacking.] The world is moving around us at an incredible velocity. So. Let it. Culture encourages the quick feed. Again, let. Like you said, there are a lot of books that are not worth finishing, and I suppose you have to develop an ear for that, but there is something really satisfying about going the distance, especially with a book that somehow unsettles you, that challenges or arrests you in ways you can hardly explain. Those books are still out there. [At the moment, I am reading Hitch 22, a biography of journalist Christopher Hitchens].

    • You are one of the most well-read people I know. If it works for you I should pay attention!! And I do agree, there is something really satisfying about going the distance.

  41. I remember how my ears perked up when you mentioned this in Portland. It felt like you took te judgment off for me … If Gail doesn’t finish all her books, it’s ok if I don’t either. Big breath out. I always have many books on the go.

    Right now I’m reading:
    Drive, by Daniel Pink
    In the Sanctuary of Women, by Jan Richardson
    Poke the Box, by Seth Godin
    Buy-In, by John Kotter
    Down We Go, by Kathy Escobar
    And fiction: A Mountain of Crumbs, by Elena Gorokhova

    A lot … But I love reading different things at different times and in different formats, as you say.

    Thank you so much for this! xoxo

    • Haha. Great list you’ve got there. I’m familiar w/ some of them. Checking the rest out. Miss you.

  42. I typically have 3-4 going at once. It kind of depends on my mood which one I want to read at a certain part of the day, etc.

  43. I’m only in the midst of one book presently–and thankfully (as unlike you I get flustered when my mind’s too scattered–but I often have two or sometimes even three going; however, when this is the case, one is usually fiction, another non-fiction (or short fiction) and perhaps the third is an audio book. I can see from your list(s) above, that you juggle your titles similarly–I can’t imagine if all six were novels!

    • Nope. One novel at a time. For some reason novels are the easiest for me to put off. But when they’re really really good, I can’t put them down. For example, I loved The Help. And I just read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Loved that one. And who wouldn’t love A Wrinkle in Time? But … not all at once!!


  1. Reasons for reading « Words of Eternal Life - November 8, 2011

    […] How Many Books Are You Reading? by Gail Hyatt […]

  2. Laudable Linkage « Stray Thoughts - July 16, 2011

    […] How Many Books Are You Reading? I tend to have only two at most going. With nonfiction, especially, I feel the need to concentrate more to get what the author is saying as well as the flow of it. If I just read things in snatches (except for reference), I have all these disconnected bits floating in my head. But this post helped me understand the mindset of somewhat who is dipping into multiple books at a time. Neither reading personality is right or wrong — just read, however you do it. […]

  3. How Many Books Are You Reading? (via Treasure Hunt by Gail Hyatt) | daraola - July 2, 2011

    […] Last night, as Mike and I were going to bed, I read to him from a book I had just started. It was a book on marriage. It was debunking traditional advice given to people who desire to have a better marriage. Then this morning I read to him something I had read about Nihilism. It interested me because it applied to a problem a friend of ours was struggling with. He said to me, "I thought you were reading the book about marriage." "I am," I respond … Read More […]

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