It is impossible for me to read only one book during any given time period. On average it is more like five. The main reason is that normally I can’t read more than 10 pages of a book in one sitting, therefore I usually have several books on-going so I can make slow progress on all of them. That was in old days. Now the reason is more about the various forms of the books – hard copy, e-book, audio book, etc.
Take these days for an example. Below are the books I’m currently actively reading – not counting the handful of books that I put on hold at the moment (i.e., started but haven’t read for a month).
- The Internet of Things (hard copy from library) – read when I am on the couch
- The Chinese dream (hard copy from shelf at home) – read when I am in bed
- Born to Run (audio book on CD from library) – listen to when I am in the car
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (audio book on CD from library) – listen to when I am at the computer
- The Collectors (audio book on Overdrive) – listen to on iPhone whenever
- Divine Commodity (e-book on Kindle) – read in bed or on iPhone whenever
One risk of having many books in my working memory at the same time is having them all mixed up, so I tend to select books that are different in genre, in time, or in topic. And this is why I have eclectic reading taste. But the list above isn’t ideal – books #3 and #5 are not distanced enough and I already stumbled a few times. When I read about someone went to FBI in #3, I was thinking “oh no, the FBI agent was a bad guy”, then I remembered the bad guy was actually a CIA agent in #5. Or when I read about someone talked to the Secret Service in #5, I was thinking “how come he didn’t know the vice president was dead”, then I remembered the dead vice president was in #3.
As confusing as this sounds, it is quite fun too!! Hopefully these short circuits won’t damage my brain but generate interesting ideas instead. 🙂
Okay, reading time!