The Sunday Salon – A Happy Easter Wish and a New Reading Expirement

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Easter to everyone who celebrates it. I hope your day is filled with love, family, friends, and chocolate. My Easter will be kind of mellow as we have no family here and all of our best friends in the area do not celebrate. But Ben and I will got to mass shortly and then we will enjoy a relaxing day of reading and soda-drinking (we both gave it up and I am greatly anticipating a diet coke upon my return).

Moving on, I was chatting with Swapna on twitter the other day about book polygamy: reading more than one book at once. I mentioned that I have to work really hard at it because I often will focus on one book and ignore the others. Swapna replied that she has a very strict plan. Well I have taken her plan, modified it a little, and come up with my own new reading experiment.

Starting this weekend, I am going to read:

  • 50 pages in a classic;
  • 100 pages in a novel that’s been sitting around unread for awhile (or a slower novel);
  • 50 pages in a nonfiction book; and
  • an entire other book

in that order.

First up for this experiment are the following books:

Classic: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Novel that’s been sitting around: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Nonfiction: Blood Work by Holly Tucker
Other: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

I am hoping that this will allow me to read multiple books at a time and also make me a more well-rounded reader. I have every intention of reading more classics and non-fiction but I am never sure how to fit them into my reading. Now they have a place.

Do you like reading more than one book at a time (and how do you manage it?) Or are you a book monogamist?

28 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – A Happy Easter Wish and a New Reading Expirement

  1. Amanda April 24, 2011 / 8:14 am

    I spent most of the year reading four books at a time, until I got so frustrated and tired that I had to quit. It’s exhausting to me! Now, I usually have two on the go – one physical and one audio, or one in French and one regular – and I can handle that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:28 am

      That’s what happens to me which is why I’m hoping this plan helps keep my unfrustrated and tired. I always have an audio going too but that’s easy because I listen at times I couldn’t read anyway.

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  2. Cassandra April 24, 2011 / 8:20 am

    I can usually manage one e-book and a regular book at a time. I sometimes have as many as 5 going, but that’s usually because none of them are especially gripping, so I bounce back and forth until I find my stride and can finish one. Other times, I open a new in the middle of another and read it straight through in one sitting. I might have to consider adopting a plan for the summer, though, to make my reading more efficient. This is a good idea.

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:29 am

      That was mostly why I would end up reading multiple books – because I got bored with one. I’m hoping a deliberate decision to read more than one at once helps.

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  3. Jenny April 24, 2011 / 9:30 am

    Interesting! I’m curious about how it will work. I read multiple books at a time, but what that really means is I get bored with one so I start another, and then it takes forever to get back to that last one, and the next thing you know I have a pile of four half finished books and then it feels like a chore to go back to it even if I was interested in it at one time. I remember swapna saying once (or someone saying that she said) that she reads 50 pgs a night in a big book along with the regular book and that’s how she finishes the chunksters. I might try that. Definitely let us know how your plan works!

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:29 am

      Swapna told me her plan was 100 pages of a chunkster, 50 pages of a slow novel, 50 pages of nonfiction, one entire book. So I modified that plan. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Sarah April 24, 2011 / 9:40 am

    I’m a bit of a monogamist. If I’m reading more than one book at once, it usually means that one of them was boring me so I started something else with every intention of switching back and forth, but I end up deserting the boring one. I like your idea though! I want to get more non-fiction read too, I wonder if that would help me. Hmmm…

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:30 am

      That sounds like me, too. Which is why I hope the deliberate book polygamy works. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Helen Murdoch April 24, 2011 / 9:59 am

    I have tried having more than one book going at once, but I am not good at it. However, I like your idea of specific types of books and can’t wait to see how it works for you!

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:31 am

      I still can’t decide if multiple books is right for me. I think it really depends on what the books are and how much time I have to read. We’ll see how this goes.

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  6. Sandy April 24, 2011 / 10:30 am

    Happy Easter to you! We have no family down here either, but we have friends that adopt us for holidays (the one that took my son all day and night that Saturday of the Book Fest!). It still makes me sad on days like this because my youth was spent surrounded by family.

    I do read a book and listen to an audio at the same time. But that is it. I’m really curious about this experiment. I just wonder if I would get totally confused. I wasn’t too cracked up on Olive Kitteredge (probably the only one on earth), and Blood Work is in the Q for the next book or two I will read!

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:32 am

      That’s nice that you have an adopted holiday family. ๐Ÿ™‚ We make it to family for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I’m not so sad about Easter.

      I didn’t include audio in my plan because my audio time is only time that I couldn’t otherwise be reading (driving, cleaning, running).

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  7. Vishy April 24, 2011 / 10:48 am

    My favourite sentence from your post – “I hope your day is filled with love, family, friends, and chocolate.” This is one of the most beautiful wishes that I have heard of. With your permission, I will copy it sometime ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your day is filled with all the above too ๐Ÿ™‚

    My second most favourite phrase – “book polygamy” ๐Ÿ™‚ Awesome phrase! I normally read one book at a time and so am a book monogamist. But recently in the past few weeks I have been trying to read a few books in parallel. I am not sure if it is working out, becausing I am not finishing any book, but I am loving it, because I feel free like a bird ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope you have a wonderful time and fun with this experiment. Would love to hear your thoughts on it, when you finish one round of reading. All the books in your list look wonderful! I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Gaskell’s ‘North and South’. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I also remember ‘Olive Kitteridge’ making waves in the blogosphere. I got to know about ‘Blood Work’ from your post on the literary festival that you attended recently. I checked out Holly Tucker’s blog and the book looks quite fascinating. Hope you enjoy reading it. Have you read ‘An Instance of the Fingerpost’ by Iain Pears? It is a novel told by unreliable narrators and some part of the story is related to the history of transfusion. If you are curious to know what are the books I am reading now, they are ‘The Pickwick papers’ by Charles Dickens, ‘Swann’s Way’ (vol 1 of ‘In Search of Lost Time’) by Marcel Proust, ‘A Home at the End of the World’ by Michael Cunningham and ‘Prodigal Summer’ by Barbara Kingsolver.

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:32 am

      Wow, you have some tough books going. Dickens and Proust at once?

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      • Vishy April 24, 2011 / 2:52 pm

        I know, I know! I must have decided on this crazy plan when my brain was not working ๐Ÿ™‚ Right now the Dickens book is winning – I have finished around 80 pages of it while I have finished around 10 pages of Proust. I think I will end up concentrating on the Dickens and finishing it first ๐Ÿ™‚ But I hope to read a few pages of Proust everyday – Proust’s prose is so awesome!

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  8. Michelle April 24, 2011 / 10:53 am

    I do read more than one book at a time, but they tend to be different mediums so I don’t get too confused. One on the Nook, one on audio and two in print. I always have one classic going, for my book club, and one other print copy. I tend to alternate which one I read – the Nook when we are out and about and especially at work, the audio in the car and again at work, and my two print novels at home. I read my classic most often in bed, as it is quiet and allows me to concentrate more. My other novel is usually what I read when the kids are around. Good luck with your book polygamy!!

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:35 am

      I don’t distinguish between paper and ebooks – I just read whichever one my book is in. Audio is completely separate because it’s used when I couldn’t be otherwise reading.

      Classics at night make me sleepy.

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  9. Angeliki April 24, 2011 / 11:09 am

    I love your strategy.
    I always read 3 books at a time, I have one in my bag, one on the nightstand and one in my office, but this time I have more than 7 books on the go, one classic, one poetry, 2 novels and 3 psychology related! I need a strategy like yours to finish them.

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    • Michelle April 24, 2011 / 11:35 am

      Wow, 7 books?! I like the bag, nightstand, office plan though.

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  10. SuziQoregon April 24, 2011 / 12:03 pm

    I typically read one book and listen to a second. I’ve occasionally had a 3rd or even 4th book going, but that doesn’t work well for me. What I’d like to do is add a chunkster to my ‘read one, listen to one’ format. Perhaps a chapter at a time or making the chunkster my bedtime reading, I’m not sure which is the best approach. I may have to experiment over a few weeks and see how it goes.

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  11. Michelle April 24, 2011 / 1:16 pm

    I’m totally a monogomous reader. I give you credit for working out this system because I know I wouldn’t be able to do it. I can read a book and run an audio in the car for the commute but that’s about the extent to which I can step outside of the box. Good luck!

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  12. Carolyn April 24, 2011 / 2:47 pm

    Hi Michelle! Happy Easter and good chocolate to you. I am definitely a book polygamist and see it as no different from being a tv show polygamist. My reading is based on location. A magazine in the john, a book in the car, a book in the kitchen, a book in the living room. (No books by the bed, it kills the sex life.) I do tend to mix genres for simultaneous reading – classics, weightier stuff, lightweight stuff, junk. Currently, reading Lark Rise to Candleford (classic), a history of WWI, a Spellmans mystery, and Harry Potter #7 (for the 3rd time). The bathroom magazines range from Real Simple to celebrity rags to Southern Living (my fantasy reading). I enjoy your blog. Best wishes!

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  13. Cleverly Inked April 24, 2011 / 3:24 pm

    Let us know how it goes with reading like that. I tend to pick up books and put them down, never on purpose though. Hmm I might give it a whirl, that is if you don’t end up with a headache from it.

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  14. Laura April 24, 2011 / 8:04 pm

    I am definitely a reading polygamist and I kind of just go with the flow. Like today, I got distracted from A Visit From the Good Squad, by a copy of Autobiography of Red that I picked up at the Goodwill. However, I always am trying to be a little more efficient, so I’m very interested to hear how your plan works out.

    Check out my Sunday Salon post here.

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  15. zibilee April 24, 2011 / 8:50 pm

    I am not one who can read multiple books simultaneously, but sometimes it inadvertently happens. I like the sound of this plan and will be waiting to hear back on how it works for you. It seems like a great way to get a lot of different material read at one time. I hope that you have a wonderful Easter this year, and that you enjoy your holiday.

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  16. Lyndsey April 25, 2011 / 2:53 pm

    Seems like the world could be neatly divided in two: book polygamists and monogamists ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m definitely a one-book-at-a-time kinda gal…I forget what’s happening otherwise, stupid short attention span.

    Like

    • Michelle April 25, 2011 / 8:19 pm

      See…I blame my short attention span for my inability to stick with a book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

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