What are you reading right now?
This is the most exciting and difficult question for me to answer… and the person who asks me certainly isn’t expecting my winded response, where I list all the books stacked upon my bedside table at a break-neck pace.
Some will say they prefer reading one book at a time, and, more often than not, people will share that they read around three… but I often can’t count the multitude of books that I’m #currentlyreading. They are stacked upon my nightstand, flagged in my Kindle, filed by pdf on my desktop, marked as started in Goodreads, standing in my book shelf with loyal bookmarkers and creating permanent damage in the binding…. You’re starting to get the picture, I’m sure.
And my reason for this excessive TBR is this: I like to read WHAT I LIKE.
Sounds simple enough, right? But, it’s not easy. Often, readers are saddled with the impression that they should finish a book they’re reading before moving onto the next one, but what happens when what you read really depends upon how you feel? What about the person who reads to feel entertained, to learn something, to feel comfort and nostalgia, to relax and destress, to get amped up about life, to gain inspiration for something their writing, to connect with and inspire others? All of these emotional categories warrant varying genres, and one book very rarely will fulfill them all. (I say “rarely” not because I’ve ever found one, but because I want to hold onto hope that such a magical book exists).
You’ve all heard the phrase that we’re complex human beings, and it’s true. We’re these temporary fixtures on planet Earth imbued with a passion and avarice for reading, indulged with the desire to devour good literature! We’re a complicated bunch and we experience all the feels! This is why I don’t subscribe to reading just one book.
I won’t go on a tangent of all the books I’ve begun and am currently reading, but I will note that every night I decide on the book to delve into by analyzing my feelings. “What do I need in this moment?” I ask myself. “Am I exhausted and need an easy comfort read?” Harry Potter it is. “Am I stressed and wired and need something complicated to distract myself from my own thoughts?” To the classics I go. If I’m kept awake all night by nagging anxiety, I replace the mess in my head with the mess in someone else’s. When I can’t sleep, some successful reads I’ve found are Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or any critique on a series I enjoy. And, when I’m feeling sad, I revert to my favorite novel of all time, the gothic classic, Jane Eyre. (Ok… I read a lot of classics).
Since I can’t get everything I need from one book at a time, I have a running list of books that I’m currently reading to turn to, averaging around ten. I used to strain to finish a book so that I could add it to my challenge on Goodreads and feel “accomplished,” but lately I’ve gone back to the basics of why I read: because, apart from my family, it is the greatest joy in my life. And this means that I read what I enjoy; not to check a book off my mental or digital TBR. This also means that I steadily read on average ten books at a time. It’s a rare day when I click “finished reading” on Goodreads, but it’s all the more worth it now that I know I’ve truly enjoyed the book.
You can read some more amazing ruminations on the topic of finishing books in this opinion piece titled “It’s Okay to Abandon Books,” by Bookstr’s very own Camila.
So, I’ll leave you with this: Don’t judge yourself and your book habits too harshly. If you are content with or prefer reading one book at a time, go for it! But, if your heart craves a few skips and hops through genre from night to night, don’t shy away from stacking your nightstand with an array of your favs. There’s no need to limit yourself to reading one book at a time!
What, and how many books, are you reading right now? Share in the comments!