Keeping It Straight

14 Jan

I rarely read multiple books at the same time. I used to be able to do it all the time — have one book for my commute and lunch time reading, one book by my bedside table for evening reading, one random that I’d pick up when I didn’t feel like watching TV on the weekends. It wasn’t unusual for me to keep 2 or 3 books going at the same time, but now — I don’t know, blame it on a limited attention span and less energy — I just can’t do it anymore. The plots get mixed up in my head and one book always takes priority; I feel myself getting more interested in one book and the others get pushed aside until I finish that one. Because of that tendency, I found myself in the last  couple of years just reading one at a time. It’s so refreshing to able to focus my energy and attention on one plot, one set of characters, one writing style, that I’d not realized how much energy I wasted trying to keep it all straight.

Sometimes though my reading life conspires to work against this nice little plan. I started reading To Kill a Mockingbird which is on my Must Read: Classics list as well as the Gilmore Girls Challenge list. I was feeling very productive and proud of myself for this — I was also loving the book. But then Gayle over at Everyday I Write the Book blog sent me a copy of Between Here and April for the January book club discussion on her blog. I’m so excited for this book and for the discussion, but it puts me in a bit of a pickle. I decided to just forgo my comfort level and read both of these at the same time. Which, considering the subject matter of Between Here and April, is probably a good idea. The book asks the question, “How could a mother kill her children?” Considering that I just finished After which is also about a mother attempting to kill her child, I’m a little freaked out by this pattern. While To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies, it will keep me from having nightmares about dead babies (I tend to internalizes a tad too much :).

On top of those two books, I also started class for the semester for my Children’s Lit certificate. I’m only taking one class, but it’s called The Art of the Picturebook. I’m a little too excited about the fact that my required reading includes Where the Wild Things Are and The Stinky Cheeseman. I hate when pleasure reading starts to feel like an assignment though, so I’m hoping to get all my current reading out of the way before the meat of the classroom reading kicks in. I can only keep so much in my head at one time and not get confused.

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