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Literary stashes

December 5, 2011
tags: ,

I used to be baffled by Mr. Sparky’s reading habits.  He would have a book on the nightstand for nighttime reading, a different book in his backpack, and yet another one in the living room…and he would be reading them all during the same time period.  I just didn’t get it.  My tendency was to find one thing to read and them immerse myself in it until it was finished, and then move on to something else.  It was all my brain could hold.

My one-book-at-a-time habit was probably an outgrowth of my inability to multitask in any reasonable or useful capacity.  Seriously…when I am trying to do more than one thing at a time, I can produce more chaos and disaster than most folks ever realized was humanly possible.  Just ask my family what it’s like when I’m trying to time a meal.  I am good at cooking but not at producing a complete meal with everything done at the same time.  Oh, I can pull it off now and again, but by the time I sit down to eat I’m an emotional, hyperventilating, crazy-eyed mess.

There came a time, however, when I realized that my old book habits needed to change.  I am very picky about the fiction I read.  I love it, but I no longer read much of it.  Part of that is about my insistence on quality.  Some of it is also about my genre preferences.  But a very large part of it is due to my propensity to get sucked into a good book and forget to come up for air for days on end (yes, “for days on end” is indeed code for “until I’ve finished the book”).  And the worst is nighttime reading.  I always read before I go to sleep.  When I have good fiction in my hands (and even good non-fiction, on occasion), I have trouble making myself stop reading, especially if the author ended the chapters with cliff-hangers.  I have to read just a little bit more…well, until a paragraph break…ok, maybe until a section break…shoot, might as well just finish the chapter… and this cycle could go on for a good portion of the night.  When I finally force myself  to close the book, I find myself  lying in bed awake, thinking about the story.

In short, I literally lose sleep over a good book.  We won’t even talk about the chores that don’t get done.

So in time I found that I was reading fewer and fewer books, and when I did they didn’t tend to contain stories.  It’s easier to close the book when I’m processing information rather than following a story.  Magazines also became a more prominent feature in my reading cycles.  And before I knew it…

I had one book or magazine for reading in the afternoon, another one on my nightstand for pre-sleep reading.  And I was reading them during the same time period.  There were also several magazines in various states of literary consumption, too, and the growing list of blogs I faithfully read on the computer.  And let’s not forget the pile of magazines and catalogs that are stacked on the back of the toilet.  Hey…even 30 seconds is enough time to read or shop a little!

Still couldn’t multitask my way out of a wet paper bag, though.  Not even with a sharp stick in one hand and a blow torch in the other.

And for the record, I would never recommend letting me have a sharp stick in one hand and a blow torch in the other.  No matter how much I beg you.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sparky permalink
    December 6, 2011 9:15 pm

    A piece of advice for y’all: Do not ever, EVER, ever, … ever ask Sparky what time dinner will be ready. All you will get is a baleful glare and totally useless information anyway, so it really is not worth the anxiety you just caused.

    …just sayin’

  2. December 7, 2011 10:21 am

    I think dinner in courses is the fancy solution to not getting it all on the table at the same time.

    But I’m with Mr. Sparky on the reading habits. With my Kindle on the ipad and on my desktop and on my iphone I find myself reading a dozen or so books at the same time.

  3. December 7, 2011 2:35 pm

    Oh I am totally with you on this one, Lisa. Only whereas in the past, I was a ‘one book at a time’ person….now I am one heavy read that requires some processing, and 1 lighter read, fiction or non (mostly love non-fiction). I can do both at the same time quite well without exploding my brain. Bathroom reads are either magazines or short snippets of inspiration. BTW…Mr. Sparky’s ‘two cents’ were a hoot! :-)

  4. December 7, 2011 2:42 pm

    So, Mr. Sparky, when I get there for the Sparky Shrimp boil, I should just wait patiently? Oi!! You have given the little sister in me way too much information!!

    • Mr. Sparky permalink
      December 7, 2011 9:39 pm

      You should just wait patiently. Sparky actually has Shrimp Boil down pretty good. Very tasty and everything’s ready at the same time – but then, it is all in one pot. It’s just best not to ask.

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