Why are you reading 7 books at a time?

I usually have a ton of books I’m reading all at once due to a not-super-admirable lack of responsibility and my general having of a kitten’s attention span. But it breaks down basically to:

  1. Currently Reading Book: This is the book I think I’m currently reading
  2. Work Book: The book I’m definitely reading but keep leaving on my desk
  3. Distracted Book: The book I pulled off the shelf for some reason. Runs risk of being promoted to Currently Reading Book, extending time spent reading Currently Reading Book, as it has now been demoted to, “Victim of Distracted Book”
  4. Pool Book: the audiobook on my waterproof ipod shuffle
  5. iPhone Audiobook: the audiobook on my phone
  6. Bedtime Audiobook: totally separate audiobook for insomnia listening. Always a repeat listen
  7. Lost Book: The book I was reading, set down somewhere, and cannot currently find even though I know it’s in my apartment. Often this extends to several books. Especially when said book is smallish

A few other categories show up from time to time, such as the classic, “this is studying not reading” book, and the “I really mean to finish it this time” book, a category in which Ulysses has made repeat acclaimed appearances in both audio and text formats. There’s also the, “It’s due back at the library and some philistine who probably doesn’t even plan to read it put a hold on it” book, which is something of an emergency insertion to the list. And also the, “I’d like to convert my thoughts on this book into money” book, which moves to the top of the list whenever the opportunity arises.

In any case, I’m trying to be a bit more focused in my reading habits. I often feel like there’s this weird fetishization of quantity of reading among different groups, and I always feel so outclassed by people who read so quickly, and so much. I actually think I probably read less than most people I know just because I work a lot, and because of writing. But I would like to narrow this down to living with one book at a time, just because I feel like this start and stop behavior is unfair to the books. There’s no “previously on” between chapters for a reason. And while I find it really easy to carry all these storylines with me, it seems like the things I read would have more impact if I just finished things I started one at a time.

I will say, though, I’m looking forward to summer and more reading time. And movie time. And museum time. And pool time. And zoo time. And time.