Multi-Book Multitasking

An amusing thing happened the other day. I was talking to a friend about the books I’m reading and she stopped me and said, “Wait. You’re reading more than one book at once?”

“Well, yes.”

“How do you DO that?”

Well, I don’t know how I do it, I just do. It’s a gift. Mostly, I only do this when I’m sampling books, which is what I’m doing now. Here are the ones that caught my eye enough to acquire.

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (courtesy of Tor)

I’m having a little trouble with this one. I love this author and whenever I hear of her short fiction online, I go and seek it out. I loved “First Flight“. This novel is a homage to Jane Austen, and I think that’s where the problem is. It doesn’t sound like Mary Robinette Kowal, but it doesn’t sound like Jane Austen either. It lacks that Jane Austen sparkle. This may not be the fault of Ms. Kowal; it may simply be that I am too much of a Jane Austen fan to be able to set that aside. This is the third Jane Austen homage I’ve read (one being a trilogy, but I’ll count it as one) and have not loved (so far). If you don’t particularly like Jane Austen, or, say, if you have only read each of her novels once instead of 5 to 10 times plus multiple watchings of multiple adaptations (I have three versions of Emma!), then this novel would probably work for you.

With all that being said, I’m over halfway through and expect to finish this week. Who knows, I may love it by the ending. It’s happened before!

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

When I saw that this came out in paperback, I snatched it off the shelf and purchased it. So far, I am only a few chapters into it, but I’m finding it a little slow going. It doesn’t feel much like a YA novel so far, with a young woman having to run her father’s wool mill after his unexpected death. She has to deal with workers and her father’s debt and grasping sellers. I wonder why it was classified as YA. There’s not many YA issues presented here so far.

Scene Stealer by Elise Warner

This is a cute kidnapping mystery featuring a sweet old maid protagonist–a retired schoolteacher. She’s using her harmless-old-lady guise to get places and question suspects. Of course, the police know nothing about this–yet. Should be fun. I’m only a few chapters into it.

Masked, edited by Lou Anders

Still reading the short stories in this anthology. One day soon I’ll give a report on the stories I’ve read so far.

On my nook are the following ebooks, all which looked interesting to me:

Bloodgate Guardian, a fantasy by Joely Sue Burkhart

In Enemy Hands, science fiction by K. S. Augustin

Song of Seduction, a historical romance by Carrie Lofty

Allegra Fairweather, Paranormal Investigator, an urban fantasy (or paranormal) by Janni Nell

The Price of Freedom, a paranormal romance by Jenny Schwartz

Venom, an urban fantasy by Jennifer Estep (advanced ecopy)

Do you read more than one book at once? Do you ever find it confusing? I do sometimes, but usually, I’m reading such different books at the same time that it doesn’t often become an issue.

23 thoughts on “Multi-Book Multitasking”

  1. I always have half a dozen books on the go. Or a dozen. Or more. Depending on which you want to count. Some I haven’t picked up in a while, and would have to back up in to get the flow of the story. {Smile}

    I’ve learned reading different books is essential. The only time I had trouble keeping them apart was when I tried to read The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and Hero’s Song by Edith Pattou. Two young men setting out on dangerous quests in more-or-less Celtic settings were too hard to keep separate. I had to pick on, and pick up the other again when I was done. As long as the characters, settings, and plots are different, I have no trouble keeping track of which event happened in which story. If a scene happened on a space ship, it obviously wasn’t part of The Black Cauldron. And so on. {Smile, wink}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. I TOTALLY read more than one book at once fairly regularly–and this isn’t even counting the podcasts I like to follow, which are sometimes just an author reading his or her book, and sometimes a full-cast radio-play-style adventure.

    I often find that I’ll work on a book too big to carry and read that at home, while carrying my Nook or smaller books for reading on my commutes.

  3. Some totally kindred spirits! When I spoke to my friend, I was able to rattle off five books, but I finished one and will post the review tomorrow, and the other I forgot about. Oops! It will make it into the next reading post.

    Anne, I like how you called reading multiple books “essential”. So true! Sometimes I’m in the mood for this, sometimes for that. And sometimes if a book is a bit intense, I have something lighter going at the same time.

    All in all, I’d have to say my book diet is more well-balanced than my food diet!

    1. Yeah. I have to watch my mood, and the time of day. If a book is intense, I need something light to switch off to. I also need a book I’m re-reading right before bed. I keep getting so caught up in new books, they push bedtime too late. {Smile}

      Also, I’ll get a new book I don’t want to wait until I’ve finished something else for. So I don’t. {wink, Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  4. I sometimes read two at a time, but that’s my limit. Right now I’m reading C.E. Murphy’s latest in her Urban Shaman series…but my brain isn’t up to that for me pre-bed reading, so I have a fun romance for then instead 🙂

    1. I need a “bedtime book,” too. I find a book I’ve read before is best. The first time thru, I tend to get caught up in the story. I want to see how it ends, and how it gets there… and next thing I know, it’s an hour past my already late bedtime. {rueful smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  5. I cannot read more than one book at a time!! I’ve asked this question of my friends before, and they say usually if they’re reading more than one book, one is fiction and the other is non-fiction. Maybe I don’t read more than one because I don’t read non-fiction?

    LOVE Jane Austen, though. Haven’t heard of the others you mentioned.

    1. I’m not reading any nonfiction, at least not where I’m sitting down to read in long stretches of time. All the books I’m reading are of different genres, though.

  6. Yes, I can keep a few books going at once as long as they’re of different genres. I usually have a couple non-fiction books I’m reading, along with one (and sometimes two) novels.

    I could not keep more than one fantasy book going, though! I prefer to buckle down to one and get through it fast in intense sessions. 😀

    Btw, A Curse As Dark As Gold is such an intriguing title!

  7. I often read a non-fiction and fiction book at the same time, but otherwise I tend to be a purist. One novel at a time — although I can be persuaded to abandon a re-read midway to devour a new release and then go back to the old favourite. Not sure how everyone else’s brain doesn’t explode with characters and settings 🙂

  8. I usually have two going on at the same time. Never more than three. Usually fiction. Very infrequently, non-fiction. Tia, I’m impressed! You’re like a juggler! I could never have that many books going on in my brain at one time.

  9. I like to read several books at once, but I’ve always put it down to maybe having a slight case of ADD. Hey, does anyone else write two or three stories the same time and switch off, depending on mood? Or is it just me? (Whistles innocently.)

    1. Yes! Always! I have three novels at 20,000 words. I’m forcing myself to be disciplined about my next fairy tale retelling, though.

  10. I’m glad it’s not just me. I always have at least two books on the go, and switch between them depending on my mood. How often others have looked at me like I had an extra head!

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