Discussion: Reading Two Books at Once

I said this would be probably a post about The Handmaid’s Tale, which I figured I would finish soon this week. Well…I completely underestimated how little time I had with all the graduation festivities. Also, when  Some Kind of Happiness came in the mail, I started it, too, because I wanted to read the beginning and see what it was like. So, now that I’m reading two books at once, I’ve got a new topic!

I usually avoid reading two books in the same format at once. When I do read two books at the same time, one is usually for school and is read at a different speed and is associated with “homework” (aka, I won’t have to choose between the books in my free time), or it’s an audiobook that I listen to during times when I can’t read a normal book. In the few times where I do read two novels, one of them is usually shorter than the other (like a short middle grade book).

I’ve also tried reading a poetry collection at the same time as other books (a few poems every day), but I often forgot about it and it took me forever to finish (it didn’t help that the collection wasn’t really centered around subjects I was interested in). Still, when I hear of others reading two books at once, they’re often different genres/markets: a novel and a short story collection, a novel and nonfiction, a novel and an essay collection.

But the problem I’ve found is that, aside from when I have to read a book for school, the books just seem to go more slowly. It feels inefficient. I have to constantly choose between which to read, so I don’t feel fully immersed in one book and they drag on. It especially bothers me because for a long time, I planned my reading around a simple “book a week” schedule. That made me feel accomplished, but it was also limiting.

And yet, I think with more time on my hands this summer and beyond, I’ll be able to set aside time dedicated to one thing at a time. For instance, during the day I could read the novel, and then before bed I could read one or two short stories or essays. This is especially important to me because I have several complete short story collections (like Poe and Lovecraft) that I will just never get to if I expect to read them all the way through.

I think I’m going to focus on and finish off The Handmaid’s Tale before continuing Some Kind of Happiness, and then I really do want to start George Orwell’s essay collection!

What about you? How do you read multiple things at once, if all?


Currently Reading and Updates 5/9/2016

Currently Reading

Happy Monday! I thought this seemed like a good day of the week for a currently reading and other updates post. Right now, I’m sort of reading two books, one audio and one print, though not too avidly as this is my last full week of school and I have a lot of exams. The end is near. I can taste it.

The Books

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: atwood

This is my print read. I’ve just started it, because I want to make sure I don’t read it while I’m tired and ruin the experience, which has happened and embarrassing amount of times when I read classics and literary fiction on top of a lot of studying. I know the general premise of the book because it’s so famous, but I don’t want to gloss-over the beginning and miss something important! . It also comes highly recommended from a friend. So far, I love the writing style and I’m curious to see more details of this world. I’m excited that Hulu is making an adaptation soon…but I also don’t have Hulu. (Time to get a free trial when it premieres, I guess.)

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

fairyland 3I’ve fallen in love with this middle grade fantasy series right now, which is a little unusual because I haven’t really read many series–middle grade, YA, or otherwise–since middle school. I read the first on my Kindle because I bought it on a deal, and then I was at the library and couldn’t help but pick up the second, and now I’m listening to the third (and the rest of the series, probably) on audiobook. Audiobook is one of my favorite mediums for middle grade, and Valente even reads it herself, which enhances that lovely feeling of something reading a magical story to you. This series is inventive, cute, and clever–I love all the worldly adult insights that are thrown in!

The Rest

Mostly getting through exams and excited to graduate. There’s certainly things I’m going to miss, but at this point, I need to move on and be more independent. Plus, I’m really excited about the classes I’m going to take!

TV-wise, I’ve been zooming through Gilmore Girls, which I love very much. I’ve just started Season 4, and now Rory’s older than me. I have so many thoughts, but haven’t been writing much down because I’m addicted and don’t want watching to feel like work. I love it’s balance between humor and drama that feels natural and not manipulative, as well as all the bookishness! But my favorite thing is that everyone is so lovable and yet they’re flawed, make mistakes, and navigate rather complicated relationships with each other. I really wish I had seen that it when I first started high school.

the thing that reads a lot
(Me, basically.)