I’m not going to lie to you; I used to be the one-book-at-a-time kind of girl. I truly couldn’t fathom how people could have multiple books in progress at once, it blew my mind. And now, here I am, at 31, and I’m a multi-book reader. It’s astonishing to the adolescent me who couldn’t believe this was a thing, but it was a gradual progression that didn’t happen overnight. And now, I think it’s the best way to read!
Here’s how I keep everything straight
I do not read two books of the same genre and same format at the same time. What do I mean by this? I mean that at any given time I have at least two books that I’m reading. The first is a nonfiction book, for example Caste The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, and a fiction book, for example, Something to Live For by Richard Roper. I don’t necessarily think about them in this manner, my terms for them, if you follow me on social media are to classify the nonfiction book as my personal development book, while I have no label to the book I’m reading purely for pleasure.
I had to add this clause to the first sentence of the last section because, it occurred to me as I was writing it, that I might have two nonfiction books in progress, but one of them is an audiobook. I like to take walks, especially in the era of COVID, and when I do so I’m either catching up on my podcasts or I’m listening to an audiobook that I’ve rented from the library. Very rarely can a fiction audiobook keep my attention, I’m not sure why this is the case, but I’ve tried and my mind ends up wandering and before I know it I’ve been listening for 45 minutes and have no idea what has been said for a majority of those minutes! I’ve been loving listening to books by Malcolm Gladwell and Brene Brown, both of whom narrate their own audiobooks, which I find to be VERY cool.
In addition to walks, I might hook up my phone to my Amazon Alexa and have her read from the book if I’m doing chores around the house or something of that nature. It’s similar to listening to NPR or the news as you’re putsing about. Anyway, this is how I consume more than one nonfiction book at a time, however, it would not be sustainable if I attempted to crack open two physical books at the same time.
Time and place
Now, I have a very specific time and place in my routine for the personal development read. Specifically, I wake up, drink my preferred caffeine for that day and, while doing so, take in some knowledge in my personal development read. I finish these books at a startling clip in this manner, because it’s only a few pages a day and I’m startled each time I finish one. Now, that is not to say that if I’m completely consumed by the book that I might not decide to read it outside of these hours. But, a majority of the time I start my day with personal development read and then move on from there. I then end it or take a lunch break with my fiction book, escaping the work day or the day day into another, usually simpler, world. It’s a great way to live, in my humble opinion!
Listen to yourself
Just like you might tune in to your body to decide whether you’re hungry or tired, I encourage you to tap into yourself to decide what you feel like reading at any given moment. Don’t limit yourself to the book that you’re reading, if it’s not jiving with you, or a specific genre, if it’s not speaking to you at the moment, it’s totally OK to pick up another book to fit that mood and give your brain and your body what it craves in that moment.
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