February 12, 2016

In Defense of Reading Multiple Books at Once

I am not one of those people who systematically eat their meals in order. (I hope we have already established the fact that I am far from normal, if not, here is your first clue.) For example, if I were to have a hearty and delicious meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas, I would not eat anything in order. I would probably start with the meatloaf, and eat a couple of bites of the surprisingly delicious protein yes, meatloaf can be amazing. Then, I would take a couple of scoopfuls of mashed potatoes, maybe even mixing the meatloaf and the potatoes. I would then rotate to taste the peas. This process would repeat until I finish the whole meal.

I read exactly like I read. I love to nibble on one book, then snack on another, then return to the first one. (See, there was a point to that intro besides making you incredibly hungry.)

I read multiple books at one time, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

In some spheres, this is one of the dirtiest and most humiliating crime to commit in the reading universe. Most people do not think that you can read two books at one time and fully enjoy and understand both of them.

I am living proof to the contrary.

I am a fickle mood reader sometimes, which means I can get bored with books really quickly, no matter how good they are. I need to refresh my palette by reading something else, like taking a crisp sip of cool water after a good meal. This translates into me reading more than one book at a time. 

I think that it can be beneficial to take a step back from a story and start a new one for a couple of reasons.

1. You have more time to think about the book and its characters.

Taking a break from one book and its world gives you time to fully digest its characters, plot, and conflict. Instead of breezing through one book and just trying to finish it, a different book and a change of pace can help you slow down and appreciate a book. 

2. You will never be bored or stuck in a reading slump.

If I hit a slow part in one book, picking up another book keeps me excited about reading and away from the dreaded reading slump. Most of my reading slumps are caused by hitting a slow part in a book and refusing to move on. The book will lay on my shelf until I can muster up the willpower to push through the dullness, which can take a while since I have to find the willpower somewhere first.

So, reading another book keeps the reading train chugging and out of the dangerous reading slump.

3. Reading another book can give you a vital break from a book that is starting to veer into DNF territory. 

Sometimes, I just get overly frustrated with a book and let my emotions control my feelings of a book. This can quickly lead to a DNF situation if a remedy is not found. Fortunately, the only cure that I need is another book that I have on hand. If I take a break from one book that I might find frustrating or boring in the moment, I might be able to come around and try it again with better results. This is especially good for mood readers. When you are stuck in your next reading mood swing, instead of just giving up on a book, give it some time and come back to it when you are ready.

4. The suspense can get you more excited for the book and help you read faster.

Stepping back from a book can actually get you more excited to finish it, which kind of ties into the previous point. I normally read faster when I am excited about a book and when I am left wondering and guessing. I use this to my advantage, especially when there are other books that I need to read. I will start reading a book that I am extremely excited for, then pick up another that I have to read for some reason or another but I am not as excited for. The suspense from the first book motivates me to read the second book faster. We have been over how I am one of the slowest readers ever, so I use this strategy a lot.

I honestly do not think that reading more than one book at a time will affect the enjoyment of either book. If you can stay with me for another food analogy, I can explain everything. 

You are at a bakery and they are having a buy one get one free sale. So, you buy a piece of chocolate cake and a piece of apple pie. But, you have to eat both of them before you get home, or your pesky little brother will demand you share with him. So, you eat the scrumptious desserts, alternating bites of cake and pie. Both of them are delicious, even though you are eating them together, right? The richness of the chocolate cake and the sweetness of the apple pie are distinct and separate flavors lighting up your tongue. You end up enjoying both of them equally. 

Do you read multiple books at once? Are you willing to try now? Which do you prefer chocolate cake or apple pie? Do you like meatloaf too, or is it just me? 

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