I do not read one book at a time. I do not read two books at a time. Rather, I read multiple books at a time.
How did I come to this stage?
It is difficult to propose a channel through which I reached here, but yes, it evolved in last couple of years. I didn’t use to read more than one book at a time couple of years back, but as soon as my passion for reading and writing evolved, I found myself immersed in many books at a time. Sometimes, reading verses of Translated Abhijñānaśākuntalam by Kalidasa and simultaneously, reading the excellent prose of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I do read a book full length, but mostly I take time, months of time to complete a book. Obviously, it is because I read many books at the same time.
But it isn’t that I have not read books in one go or one sitting, I have done that with short books, and even fairly big books having not more than 1000 pages. I once read ‘A song of Ice and Fire’ by George R R Martin with around 800 pages in a few days, without indulging into another book while I was reading it. Perhaps, the book was so enchanting that I couldn’t deviate my mind to another interesting subject of study. I have also finished books like ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes, ‘Hungry Tide’ by Amitav Ghosh, ‘Cancer Ward’ by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and many more book in one go or one sitting. If I sit and research on which type of books I finish without getting distracted to another good readable book, there is no pattern, it is all strewed over a large group of patterns which is no pattern when seen together. So, I randomly end up reading good and fairly good books, (assuming I have not completed all the good and fairly good books in the world to end up on a bad book) in a mismanaged haphazard pattern of reading.
If I get into why I mostly end up reading many books at the same time, then I believe the primary reason would be to read as much and different category of subjects in literature, mythology, history, and politics, as I can. I have this inner desire to read everything available to read in this world. But I also get bored easily. One story for a long time would surely bore me. So, I read many stories at the same time, in a same day, and process those stories and knowledge in my mind for some time, and only when I am able to see the oblique angle to the story I was reading back then, I continue reading it again, or reread it.
It isn’t that I complete all my books. I have left a fair amount of books half read, which definitely hurts me most, but it isn’t that the stories were not so good. I have never completed Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I don’t know if it is procrastination or why, but it is one of my favorite books, which I have never completed. I remember while reading Lolita, I was so immersed into it, so transfused into the otherworldly writing of Vladimir Nabokov, that I could never complete it. I was enchanted by his writing and the passion he showed in his writing directed to Lolita, the protagonist, that I so wanted to live in that moment of Florence that I never dared to complete this book. Same with ‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatje, ‘My Name is Red’ by Orhan Pamuk, ‘Disgrace’ by J M Coetzee, and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J D Salinger. The emotions infused in the books by these writers have effected me in such great length that I could never leave those emotions and end reading these books. These books that I have never completed are a great inspiration to me, the writings of these great writers has influenced me to the core, and left me with no energy or need to complete what they have written with so much passion. So, I have been rereading the same chapters in the same books for months and years now. It is so that I always keep them close to me, my heart and mind; this is the best logical explanation I could come up with to the doing of my subconscious mind.
I see books with a writer’s angle, there is no doubt about it. I try to peek into the mind of the writer who has written the great book. I try to imagine and face the same struggle that he/she might have gone through while writing the book. I try to read in between the lines, which para is ordinary and could have been written better, and in which part of the book, writer cleared all the barriers of story writing and delivered a masterpiece that could enchant any reader. My only goal as it seems to me is to get into the mind of writer and understand it making a conscious effort within my own mind.
I believe most of the people sit on a book and do not touch another book until they have read each and every page of the book they are currently reading. Is this normal? Or what I do is normal? I do not know.
Maybe the reader of this article can give more insight into their reading patterns and help me understand how most of the people read books and what suits them most.
Help me! Tell me your about your reading habits.
Do you really read only one book at a time?