As a voracious reader and an ambitious writer, I am member of many book-clubs where we share what we are reading and discuss it. So, when I say that I am reading 3 books at a time, people get surprised and ask how it is possible to do so and still not mix up themes and characters.
First of all, it’s not a matter of pride for reading more than one book at a time. People who read one book at a time normally plunge themselves in the book and become lost into it, which is a great thing and truly depicts how one should enjoy a book.
But as for me, like many others, who reads many books at a time gets a different experience, neither superior nor inferior to the previous case.
Let’s get to point about how someone does read a lot of books at a time, let me tell you from my own experiences. I am currently reading Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy; all of which are well respected. Each of these has separate plot, themes, styles and characters. As a writer who doesn’t say he earns his bread by writing, he has to go through separate realms of life-styles/thinking processes; for example: a writer who also works as an accountant has to be a good serviceman, good reader, good husband, friend etc etc. So many personalities where you are supposed to think separately and behave accordingly. Do they mix these up? This is the source for me to find the reason of my reading many books at a time. While I am reading the story of Caulfield I am thrown into different world and different tone and while I am reading Elizabeth Costello’s story which revolves around struggles of a writer at old age, I see a new style and premise and a lot more though provoking literature. But I do not mix them up because I do not read them as a reader, rather I read them to find the tricks the author is using in his writing. I do not get surprised/delighted to face a plot twist, I normally get drawn to a novel solely because of the writing style and set up and how the writer is building the whole plot. I do get lost into the stories but on some level, I’m also aware of the techniques the author is using.
That’s is most probably the case with me. I don’t know if I am able to make myself clear enough, but right now, this is all I can think of (and blogging because the thought is tormenting me).