Thursday, May 30, 2019

Too Many Books....

Ever since I was very young I've loved reading. I'm quite good at it now and able to recognise most words I come across, occasionally even knowingwhat they mean.

I'm also a firm fan of the Kindle app on my ipad, something I blame squarely on divorce. You see I owned hundreds of books. Some were bog standard high street fiction, cheap in production and cheaper in quality, for I'm definitely no snob in my tastes either, and others were of the lovely coffee table variety, many about Sri Lanka.

When the divorce happened I was faced with book issues, amongst other far more serious matters too. I didn't have the space for all the books, didn't want to give away the nicer ones, but also knew that many of them I wouldn't read again.

And so I moved over to ebooks. I now have a sizeable library that is happily stored in the cloud. I can annotate them to my heart's content, carry the whole lot anywhere on any of my devices and don't have to worry about taking up many cubic metres of storage space at my office.

I'm not one of these evangelist types though. I like the Kindle app for most books; the coffee table ones are always (to me) better to read and feel as real books and I draw the line at sitting on the toilet with my ipad. A man must have standards. It's just me, if you like to read real books that's fine by me. I have no desire to convert anyone or get into some sort of argument over which is better. All reading is good I figure.
The thing is, I've realised that I'm currently reading too many books.

I used to be a one book at a time person, with very occasional forages (not to be confused with "Farage" - a British word for lying wanker) into two book territory. But that would be strictly one piece of fiction and one of non fiction at any time.

The trouble with ipads, tablets and probably computers in general is the whole switching thing. Chaps sell it as a feature; switching between tasks and functions easily and seamlessly, but I'm starting to think it's too easy.

And so I've drifted into an existence in which I read several books at the same time. I noticed it at first when I was reading two or three. No big deal I thought, I can handle it, I can give up any time.

But I glanced at my current being read books this morning and counted seven. Fortunately only one of them is fiction. I think my mind would struggle to keep track of more than one story at a time. But I'm not sure if six others is too many. Can I keep track of where I am in each one? Do I have to read a good chunk of words to get back into the swing of things every time I go to one?

Or is it good to be able to choose a different book according to my mood? To switch quickly if I'm not 'feeling it'?

Us oldies grew up listening to whole albums. We'd sit there for half an hour listening to a record, then turn it over for side two. We'd be familiar with the flow of an album, the sequence of tracks and how  one song led into the intro for another. I can't listen to the end of Breakout by the Foos now without expecting that snare hit and hearing Learn to Fly immediately afterwards.

But you kids can barely listen to a whole song, let alone an album, before you're looking for the next thing to treat your ears to. And I fear that I'm going that way with books.

Should I just focus on one at a time, digesting every word and chapter, or should I flick channels?



Maddy said...

"Reading too many books" is not a bad thing :D

Anonymous said...

love it , not to be confused with lying wanker... made me laugh out loud

tari wicks said...

Aww I miss reading LLD!

I think 2-3 books at a time is doable. 7 is a bit much! I mostly only read fiction though...

The problem is what to do when you come across a book you don't really love? I used to just stop reading the physical book and put it away, but on a kindle it just sits there, taunting me with not being 100% and that really bugs me. It's like a to-do list with everything ticked off except that one thing you can't be arsed to do!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

T - I read somewhere (in a book I think) that one sign of a mature reader is having the ability to put down a book and not complete it if one is not enjoying it. This is something I struggle with but you're right; it's harder with an ebook, when it sits there on your device taunting you, than a physicl one that can be chucked away on a shelf.

Hope you're well! x