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Reading 8 Books at One Time

For someone who reads as much as I do, I have a blank brain for writing my own story. I am reading 8 books at one time:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew
  3. Wicked Girls
  4. Princess Elizabeth’s Spy
  5. I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had
  6. The Art of War for Writers
  7. The Essential Rumi
  8. Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

(Technically, I’m reading 10 including the Bible and a devotional called Jesus Calling. I also plan on starting Rachel Held Evans’s A Year of Biblical Womanhood.) You’re probably wondering how I’m able to read all those books at one time and keep them straight. It’s easy: none of the books are like each other.

For example, the characters in Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, Wicked Girls, and The Magician’s Nephew are so different and distinct that it’s virtually impossible for me to confuse them all. The Art of War for Writers is a bit like a devotional for writers with small bits and chunks for bite-sized reading. The Essential Rumi is poetry—poetry that I’ve never really been exposed to before Anne Lamott’s writing. I’m almost done with Grace (Eventually). Anne Lamott’s writing is so distinct and vocal that it would be difficult to confuse her writing with Tony Danza’s straightforward and (a bit) rambling style in I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.

How do I read so many books at one time? I have ADHD and get bored easily. So I set aside a chunk of time when I can read at least two chapters in each book. If the chapters are extremely long (e.g., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) or too short (e.g., Wicked Girls), I try to do page counts and set smaller marks for myself such as a range of 10–25 pages a day. I think the maximum amount of books I can read at a time are 10.

The closest I got to reading similar books recently were Anne Lamott books. I’ve read three of them in a row: Grace (Eventually), Bird by Bird, and Help, Thanks, Wow. But they were all on different subject matters: Grace was about a compilation of essays about life, Bird by Bird was about writing and life, and Help, Thanks, Wow was about prayer. I probably will confuse some of the stories I’ve read in Grace with material from Bird by Bird since Lamott’s life seems to infuse all of her writing and a lot of the subject matter was similar.

So I read a lot. You’d think with all of my reading, I’d be a prolific writer. But I’m not. Although I’ve begun journaling rather regularly, which I think helps me to keep my writing chops alive. Even if it is on the most mundane of events (“I went to work today”).

Because it’s my blog, I’m simply going to list 10 books that I’m looking forward to reading in 2013:

  1. Untitled (Divergent #3)
  2. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)
  3. Untitled (All Souls Trilogy #3)
  4. Nickel and Dimed
  5. The Happiness Project
  6. In the Garden of Beasts
  7. Uglies (#1)
  8. Generous Justice
  9. The Paradox of Choice
  10. The Myth of Multitasking

I read quite a bit of non-fiction because I enjoy learning about subjects. How I will ever put my knowledge to use is a different story. In my top 10 list of 2013, nearly half of my books are fiction books. That’s not usually the case. Of the books I’m currently reading, only three are fiction. Of the books I’ve read in 2012:

  • 35 were non-fiction
  • 28 were fiction (not including children’s books but including Young Adult [YA])
  • 18 were children’s books (for ages 10 and under)
  • 3 were graphic novels
  • 1 was not finished

When it comes to fiction genres:

  • 7 were regular fiction
  • 7 were mystery
  • 4 were YA
    • 2 were dystopian
    • 2 were paranormal
  • 3 were romance (the Fifty Shades trilogy)
  • 3 were short stories
  • 3 were paranormal/sci-fi
  • 1 was juvenile (ages 11–14)

I don’t typically read romance and I thought I read more paranormal/sci-fi than my statistics show.

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