Growing up, I almost always read fiction. When I read fiction, if it's interesting, I read cover to cover, only stopping for what life demands (food, sleep, people, laundry, etc.) Non-fiction was something I read because school or work required it. But the last five-six years I've found myself reading more and more non-fiction. I don't read it cover-to-cover like fiction. Some books I pick up and put down and start again later. As a result, I have more than one book going right now. I don't think I could have ever said that in my earlier years. Reading more than one book at a time was the most absurd thing I had ever heard. And yet, the last several years, that seems to be how most of my reading has been done.
Why am I talking about this? I've been encouraging one of my young nieces to read 5 minutes a day while on summer vacation. (HELLO Aunt Monica! This is SUMMER! NO SCHOOL!!!) I've not been successful yet. The last time I brought this subject up (last week), she turned the tables and asked "So what are you reading right now?" And I listed the three books I was working on. She said nothing for a few minutes before finally replying "You can't do that. You're only supposed to read one book at a time." It sounded like something I would have said as a child/teen/young adult. (I told a kid to get down of the railing beside me in a restaurant recently, and realized I am now officially a bossy old woman. Not a very flattering conclusion to face.)
And to add to the insanity, I realized today that I have more than three books that I've started. I found The Love Dare and How to Change Your Church Without Killing It in the study today, both with bookmarks 1/3 of the way through. One of them has been sitting there for about 10 years. I forced myself to read another chapter, and for once in my life, I'm seriously contemplating throwing it away without finishing, something I have NEVER done...not ever. Meanwhile, First Ladies of the Presidency is still sitting in the living room, and I don't even recall how far I read in that book. And in the bedroom...still working on a book on Islam (2/3 of the way through), a historical book (about 1/2 way), and a book on dog-training (Ceaser's Way) that a dear friend just knew was going to help me, and I'm still only 1/3 of the way into it after a year. But at least it's picking up the pace.
We have SO many books here in the house, not read, that I'm forcing myself after a read to seriously evaluate whether I would ever a) read it again, b)loan it to a friend, c)use it as a reference. If it doesn't meet one of those criteria, then it's gone. I've hauled a few bags of books out of the house this year as a result. And we've stayed away from book sales the last few months, so not quite as many are coming into the house as before. Oh. I did order two church history books last week and started one at the kitchen table when I opened the mail. I've already finished the first chapter. :) I don't think I'll revise my statement to my niece, though. If the sun hasn't rattled her brain yet, how many books I'm actually reading would.