I used to always be a one-book-at-a-time kind of reader. A voracious, passionate, addicted, shut-out-the-world kind of reader. I started on page one and neither ate nor slept until I reached THE END. I loved how thoroughly those stories transported me, and regretted having to return to the real world.
Coming out of that hypnotic state, I would always get that disorienting feeling like I just woke up. What day was it? What time? Where are all those beeping sounds coming from? Oh, yeah. The answering machine is full. And the microwave? I did warm up that burrito, but that was...six hours ago. Whoops. The microwave manufacturer must have included that hey-what-about-your-food reminder beep just for people like me. Who knows how much fuzz that burrito would have grown before I discovered it otherwise.
Know what I've figured out? My days of marathon book hypnosis are over. Real life demands too much of me, and I'm lucky if I get twenty minutes uninterrupted. A burrito and answering machine can wait, but not a spouse, or kids, or a lawn that is dangerously close to the maximum height allowed by the HOA. I won't even get started on the number of places I must go in a minivan, but I will say, sadly, that Chuck E. Cheese is often one of them.
Now that my reading time comes in tiny slices, I've done what I never could do before; I've started one book before finishing another. Last week, I had a total of five half-finished books on my nightstand. It's a record for me. I'm a little proud of myself for the mental maturity it takes to juggle that many plots in limbo simultaneously, but I'm also a little sad that I know I can't just pick any one of those and plow through to the end right then without stopping. Every time I pick one up, it takes me ten or twelve pages to get back into the groove.
Lord of the Flies, Old Man and the Sea, Nelson DeMille's Wild Fire, Koomson's My Best Friend's Girl, and a book about the adrenal system. You wouldn't believe the synapse connections I make by mixing these together. It's totally wacky. I'm about to add in Shelly's Frankenstein. Woo-hoo! What a party in my head; every body's invited!
Are you a novel monogamist or polygamist? What makes you so?