The Plurality Problem

I usually read one book at a time. I like to finish one, then select another one to read and go to work on that one. Okay, I’ve occasionally had two or even three books going at once. But right now I’m in the midst of a real muddle, and I’m not even sure how I got here.

I have NINE books sitting here with bookmarks in them! Yes, I said NINE (9) books. I feel overwhelmed. This has never happened to me before. I had a couple of books underway, then another came that I had to start, then I needed something older for a Friday Forgotten Books post, then something else popped up, then one came from the library (always a drop-everything-and-read situation), plus two thick collections of short stories I’m slowly working my way through, and I think there’s something else. I can’t even keep track of them all! I’ll try. To the best of my memory, without going to look at the nightstand, Here’s the list:

  1. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan (library book)
  2. Nemesis 
  3. The Private Practice of Michael Shayne
  4. Agatha H and the Airship City
  5. The Stainless Steel Rat
  6. The Mother Goose Murders
  7. The Gift of Rain
  8. 50 for 50 (short stories)
  9. The Black Lizard Book of Pulp Stories (short stories)

I’m within a few pages of finishing Nemesis (a re-read), and only a few pages into Stainless Steel Rat (also a re-read), just a few chapters into a few of the others, just slogging along on the two thick short story collections.

My plan is to read the library book, then finish Nemesis and the Shayne as that’s the next closest to finished. After that I’ll read a few short stories and get back to the others, in the order shown, all without starting anything else! We’ll see how that goes. Sigh.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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8 Responses to The Plurality Problem

  1. Biill Crider says:

    Looking forward to your comments on JANE.

  2. We all do that, Richard.

  3. Richard says:

    I’ll do a review of some kind when I finish, Bill.

    It’s not usual for me, Randy!

  4. Carl V. says:

    I’ve evolved into that kind of reader over the years but am not thankfully in the process of dialing it back down. Up until my 30’s it was always one book at a time then move on to the next. But in my 30’s I started buying more books, collecting them, and with that urge to purchase came the urge to read and I’d often have several books going at once. A few years ago I made a conscious effort for much of a year to just read one book at a time and although I was never entirely successful in doing so I have become more of a “two or three at a time” reader, which feels less overwhelming. Right now I’m reading Juggler of Worlds by Larry Niven and Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. They are not similar, so no confusing the characters or plot lines, and I don’t feel like I’m sinking under the weight of too many books at once. Hopefully I can keep this up. If not I’ll be right back to where you find yourself now!

  5. I generally read at least 2, one fiction, one nonfict. I often read three. But I’ve never tried 9. that suggests to me that not many of them are really interesting to you.

  6. I only read one book at a time becauase of the very situation you find yourself in. Your solution sounds reasonable…if you don’t start reading any more new books!

  7. Richard says:

    I just got a notification from the library: another book for me is in and ready for pick up. Cripes, what’s a guy to do?? It’s that Books To Die For book, highly recommended by George and others. But I can’t pick it up now and have it go on the clock. Sheesh. Well, I have a week until it goes back in the stacks for the next person. Gotta read fast.

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Now nine books is a lot even for me! I can generally keep one non-fiction book (occasionally two) and one novel going along with one or more short story collections.

    It can be a problem with library books as I’ve had up to a dozen sitting waiting to be read but like George I read one at a time.

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