Reading a lot of books…

I’m on the opposite of Reader’s Block now, where I’m starting lots of books and liking them, but going into overdrive. I love starting books, and can’t resist picking up more before I’ve finished the ones I’m on with. Although I have finished two or three books in the past week, I was getting the sense that things were getting out of hand, and gathered together all the books I hadn’t finished, but had read some of in the past few weeks. And it turns out there are eleven. I usually have 6-8 on the go, so this is definitely Too Many.  Let’s have a quick overview, from the bottom…

The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith
This is a Shiny New Books review copy, but I’ve actually just given up (and will pass it on to someone else to see if they can do better). It was gorier than I’m happy with, but I actually gave up out of boredom, which really surprised me as I love the Harry Potter books. And they’re anything but boring.

The Liar in Your Life – Robert Feldman
I was hoping this would be in the Quirkology line of books, but it’s a bit less gripping… still, I’ll probably finish.

The Literary Conference – Cesar Aira
I took this to the literary conference I was at last week, as the idea amused me! Very short, so I’ll probably finish it soon.

One Writer’s Beginnings – Eudora Welty
I bought this in the Lake District and read half of it on the train on the way home, but was very tired and don’t remember much of it, so might need to start again.

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
A book group book I didn’t quite finish for last month’s meeting, and have dipped into since – I need that final push! I didn’t love it was much as I’d hoped I’d love Anne Tyler. I found it just ok.

Red Sky at Morning – Margaret Kennedy
I’ll pick this up again for Margaret Kennedy Reading Week later in the year!

Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence
Another book group book I didn’t finish on time… I can’t decide how I feel about this one. I love Lawrence’s writing, but I wish he had a sense of humour.

Crome Yellow – Aldous Huxley
Only started this yesterday, and going well so far!

Seeing Voices – Oliver Sacks
I do love some Sacks. Not been reading this one long.

Pigeon Pie – Nancy Mitford
I got chatting to another Mitford enthusiast at the conference, and it made me dig this out.

Among You Taking Notes – Naomi Mitchison
I always have letters/diaries on the go, and this is my current one!

Phew! Yes, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by them all. Do you read lots in one go, or one at a time?

33 thoughts on “Reading a lot of books…

  • July 28, 2014 at 6:57 am
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    I am reading several books at a time at the moment. One is The Silkworm and I'm really enjoying it! I can see why it wouldn't be your cup of tea from the goriness point of view, but I certainly am not finding it boring. Did you read the first one?

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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      I didn't read the first one, so perhaps that is the problem. I also gave up on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because I found it too boring, so perhaps it's a problem with the genre…

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  • July 28, 2014 at 7:08 am
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    I'm disgustingly promiscuous on the book front. I usually have a fiction by the bed, one on the Kindle, an Audible for the car, a non-fiction or two on the go by the kettle, and a couple of 'must finish sometime's on the coffee table. I love summer, because I can sit out reading while 'working' on getting my legs brown and the washing dry. Perfect multi-tasking, eh? At the moment The Woman in White is my main book. Gripping!

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    • July 29, 2014 at 9:57 am
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      Me too! I have 4 ready to read on my Kobo, 'Un Amour de Swann' by the bed for my helping of French before I go to sleep, Adam Haslett, Jordi Punti and Gerald Murnane by the sofa, and a terrific reading of 'Madame Bovary' on my iPod.
      Shouldn't be looking at book blogs to give me ideas….

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm
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      Glad to hear it! Fidelity isn't always a virtue ;) I do find that I get to this point, though, and need to finish off everything and start the process again.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 8:19 am
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    What a lovely lot of books! I try to read one at a time nowadays because I get bogged down and don't finish them otherwise.But, oh! it's so difficult when there's so many I want to read at the same time. I am circling Huxley at the moment too – maybe I should go in that direction next!

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm
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      I am so surprised by the Huxley – not at all what I expected, and definitely in a good way!

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  • July 28, 2014 at 11:15 am
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    I can totally understand this, I go through reading phases as well. I'm on a good reading buzz at the moment with two books on the go, so I'm taking the day out to just read and blog.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm
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      Lovely! Thankfully this is the sort of reading phase I spend most of my time in; wanting to read EVERYTHING.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 11:43 am
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    If I read more than two at a time, I'll never finish half of them – I try to just have one. I admire how you can have so many on the go.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm
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      Some do slip by the wayside occasionally, or take a year to read, but if I just read one at a time my appalling attention span would falter.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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    I do the same thing, I think I have about six going right now. For one or two I will probably have to start over since too much time has passed since I last picked them up. After the young Barbara Pym finished Crome Yellow she decided that was the kind of novel she wanted to write.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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      That's so interesting, Thomas, about Pym! I think she pretty much did what she wanted.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm
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    I generally have any number going at the same time, at various speeds. Often one will push all the others out of the way, and must be finished before I return to the others. Some take months….

    I loved Among You Taking Notes when I first read it some years ago. It's on my Home Front shelf, waving at me for a reread.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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      Oh yes, often one book will strip ahead of the others. It's the vast majority which are neither awful nor exceptionally good that make up my ongoing pile…

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  • July 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm
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    I always end up reading a lot of books at the same time. Some go fast, others slowly. If they are a little bit slow, I decide to read a chapter a day, just to finish it some day. I love Nancy Mitford and have not read the one you have. Otherwise, I just finished Sanctuary by Faulkner, started Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, ongoing The Time Traveller's Wife by Niffenegger, The Prague Cemetery by Eco and a few more.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm
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      A nice mix! And you're so right about some books needing to be read slowly and some quickly. The Mitford is great fun – light, but lovely.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm
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    I can usually only read one book at a time, but at the moment I've got one nonfiction and one fiction on the go which is working quite well. I admire people who can read lots of books at once!

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm
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      I definitely get confused if the books are too similar, and often have a fiction and nonfiction 'main' book.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm
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    Usually 1 fic & 1 or 2 non-fic. Have read silkworm & enjoyed it but the first book introduces the characters in more depth. Read this along with Wolfgang the boy who went to war, and A very private diary , the war diary of a nurse. Don't know where the war theme came from, but found both really interesting.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:51 pm
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      Perhaps that's the problem with the Silkworm… Those two war books sound great. I've read so many home front diaries of ww2 that it seems like the main focus, with the front line being a secondary concern!!

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  • July 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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    I usually have 3 or 4 titles going actively — when I get to 7 or 8 it starts to feel like Too Many and like I'm losing the plot… then have to finish some or decide not to finish! The only one I've read in your stack is Crome Yellow, which I enjoyed.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm
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      I can sense when the pile is getting too large – which is anything over 8, I think. I'm going to stop and work through this lot!

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  • July 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm
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    One at a time. I tend to do one thing at a time generally. I find I am calmer when I do this and with books, I especially don’t like having to start them over again because I’ve forgotten vital things in the beginning. I also have a feeling of it being fair to the author to read with solitary focus and finish the entire book. This means, though, that because I am a slow reader, unread authors in my TBR books go through a rigorous ‘interview’ process including researching the author, reading a passage at random from the middle of the book (this can be tricky in mysteries – I usually try to pick the first bit for spoiler avoidance) to be sure I think the writing is decently good (predictable, insipid writing may mean that a ‘bestseller’ exits at this point) and reading reviews in order to get an idea of the content/subject matter/storyline. I am fine with gruesomeness or violence if it is there for a reason by an author who writes well (although it may make me a bit frightened to read it – Ian McEwan comes to mind here … ), but if it appears to be there simply to sell more books, it’s kicked out of my TBR. Hmmm. Somewhere around me I’m beginning to hear Elizabeth Bennet … ‘I rather wonder, woods, at your knowing any TBR books … ‘ I probably give fewer books a try by reading this way, but at least it prevents my TBR pile from getting upsettingly anxious.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:54 pm
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      I just don't have the attention span for that – but perhaps I would if I went through your impressive interview process! A very good idea. But somehow I am drawn instead to reading books when I know as little as possible about them – hence avoiding blurbs etc. – just to come as to an open book.

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  • July 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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    I always have two on the go as a minimum (1 fic, 1 nonfic), but typically it is more. I find that different times of day/different moods require different books. I also have to have something light available for 'waiting room' reading. Right now I have bookmarks in 3 with 3 more on my stack as "needing to read sooner than later" for school-prep, then there are a few that I've been saving for the beach later this week. I've been binge reading this summer, and still have several that I want to read *right now.* It's a good problem to have, though, and I'm not complaining.

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm
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      That's interesting, about times of day, I wonder if I do that… I certainly try to have something nice and easy to read in bed, but do very little reading at night any way. I definitely read heavy books at home because I can't get them in my bag for work!

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  • July 29, 2014 at 9:06 am
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    I've usually got two on the go – one big which lives in the house and one small that travels around with me. Often one fic and one non-fic. I have a couple languishing e.g. Iris Murdoch on Sartre which is Too Hard, and actually I've got NONE being actively read at the moment because I finished one before breakfast, read New Statesman on my tablet at breakfast and then started working. Oh no!

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    • July 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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      Oh gosh, if I were only reading a book about Sartre then I don't think I'd ever read again! But, gosh, being without anything in the ongoing book chain – I'm not sure that has ever happened to me… It must be quite freeing!

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    • September 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm
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      Ha – I'm STILL reading the Sartre book, but I've hatched a cunning plan to take it to the IM conference, hoping the atmosphere there will help. And I can assure you that I did pick up some more books to read, and I have two on the go plus Sartre right now!

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