Wednesday 20 March 2019

Book or Books by Joan Lennon

Vincent Van Gogh Piles of French Novels 1887

Last year, I mentioned the excellent podcasts being produced by the Royal Literary Fund, showcasing the words and thoughts of writers on subjects such as Why I Write, How I Write, Life-Changing Literature and others, including My Reading Habits.  I was listening to author Wendy Moore on her reading habits here.  Wendy says:

"Yet always, ever since I walked into that Junior Library, I've had a book on the go, a book waiting on my bedside table, a book waiting in my head."

It's like that for me too, and will be the same for many of us, I'm sure.  But for me, it's always a book on the go, rather than more than one.  I know avid readers who have a different book on various tables in their homes and another in their bag, and happily switch between them.  Yet, on the rare occasions when I've had to start a book before finishing the one I was on, (when travelling, for example, and not wanting to carry perhaps a very fat book that was nearly done AND my Kindle) I have felt distinctly uncomfortable.*  It just doesn't seem right.  And when I get home, I go straight back to the stranded book and get it read, then finish the interim one - and then heave a sigh of relief.

It would be interesting to know if the reading habits of ABBA readers/writers favour serial monogamy or a more polyamorous approach.  Feel free to share.  No judgement.  Really.

*I also feel ill at ease about deliberately and permanently stopping a book partway through if I'm not enjoying it, but that's a different kind of discomfort.

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.
Walking Mountain.


Sue Bursztynski said...

Oh, heavens, I just CAN’T stick to one book at a time! Impossible. So many books, so little time... Plus I do rereads.

Sue Purkiss said...

I read more than one at a time: different books for different times of day/moods. So something easy and engrossing beside the bed and on the Kindle, often something non-fiction or to do with research downstairs.

Susan Price said...

Another Sue here -- and like my fellow Sues, I've spent most of my life happily going from one book to another. I'd have as many as five books open in different parts of the house, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, kitchen-sink, historical... In those days, my brain would snap instantly from book to another without effort.

Not so easy with advancing age. Now I don't read as many at a time and sometimes experience a kind of book-lag as I move between them. But, at the moment, I am reading Kate Atkinson's excellent 'Behind The Scenes At The Museum,' a book on basic maths for adults where I'm working through the hard sums, and two books on gardening.

I don't feel your deep unease at giving up on a book, Joan, but if I'm not enjoying something by about half-way, I will stop. Can't see the point of struggling through something where I'm finding fault with almost everything.

Andrew Preston said...

I tend to almost merge into one book, read straight through. And have 2 or 3 around in various stages of unread. Not quite zombie books, but intermittently engaging. These seldom qualify as bedtime or bedside books.

A recent bedside book was 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' .

The half read books on my couch are...

'How to Argue with a Cat'
'Doughnut Economics'

Penny Dolan said...

I might have a few "possibles" on the go - where I've read the openingpages, but then I devote myself to just that one book to get the whole experience:an aspect of the ageing memory thing mentioned above.

Non-fiction & research downstairs, or at bedtime if I've had too many insomniac nights and need to be lulled off at three am. Novels nag too loudly!


Joan Lennon said...

Fascinating! Thanks for comments!