In lieu of doing an actual monthly wrap up (which, realistically, it’s too late for me to do anyway) I thought I’d talk about all the books that I’m currently reading.
I seem to have fallen into a bit of an unfortunate habit this year, which is that I’m constantly starting books and then hopping between them instead of sitting down and actually finishing one. A lot of this is due to me trying to keep on top of a lot of university reading. I didn’t have much luck with the books on one of my previous modules, so I ended up starting books because I was so desperate to read something that I’d actually enjoy.
At the moment, I’m about 200 pages into The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch, and I have been for several weeks. This was the first book on my Haunting the Contemporary module— a module that I’m actually almost finished with. It’s about a rather insufferable man who moves away from London and to a house by the sea for, I gather, no discernible reason whatsoever. While he’s staying at the house, people from his past keep turning up, and it’s largely focused on his interactions with them. I’m trying really hard not to DNF it. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I really do want to finish it, I just have no idea when I’m going to make time to read it. It’s one of those books that if I don’t get around to soon, I know I’ll never be motivated to pick it up again!
I’m making decent headway on The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I’m taking my time with this one because I’m really enjoying it so far, and it’s nice to be pulled along by all the twists and turns it brings. This is the first book in the Gentleman Bastards sequence, following a group of thieves. So far its incredibly clever, witty, and fantastically written. Do you ever have moments when reading when you just have to pause and think about how good the part of the book you’ve just read was? I’m getting that a lot with this one. This is the book that I’m most desperate to just sit down with and spend hours reading, but because it’s not assigned reading, I’d feel a little guilty doing so.
Similarly, I’ve wanted to read Mark Z. Danieleswki’s House of Leaves for years now, so when I saw it on the list for this module I was thrilled to finally have an excuse to buy it and read it (given that it’s really expensive, I’d always put it off). It’s a very complicated book; it feels very much like a puzzle that doesn’t want to be solved. After discussing this in class, it’s made me want to get stuck into it. It’s hard to describe, and I’m not really sure that you could call it a novel. It begins with Johnny Truant, who finds a notebook kept by the reclusive and recently deceased Zampano, which contains the heavily annotated story of the Navidson Record. Johnny then begins annotating Zampano’s work, so you have the voice of Zampano, the voice of Johnny, and the occasional voice of The Editors. Like I said, it’s hard to explain, but I’m incredibly interested in it and I’m really hoping to make the time and finish it soon.
I was beginning to get concerned that I was actually veering on the edge of a huge reading slump, but last Saturday I picked up Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (which is, you guessed it, another assigned book) and got through 200 pages incredibly quickly. I ended up finishing it the following day, and it felt so nice to just sit and read for a few hours. Hopefully finishing this one will give me more motivation to finish all the others! Since finishing that, I picked up The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor, which is my last assigned book and is, mercifully, only around 250 pages. As you can probably imagine, I’m keen to get all of this assigned reading behind me.
Given that I’m reading so many books at once, it got me thinking about whether, or how, other people manage it. So, do you read more than one book at any given time, or do you prefer to dedicate your time and attention to just one book? I’d love to know!