18 May 2009

Currently reading

It used to be that I would only ever read one book at a time. I'd start one, and if it were any good, might have it finished in a day or two. And if it were not good, I'd pick it up and put it down, but would stay with it until I'd made a conscious decision (rarely) not to stay with it. This might mean that I would be stuck on one book for several weeks, perhaps longer. There are few books that I have abandoned, and it's usually because of a sludgy writing style -- think too many adjectives, too many adverbs -- rather than a lack of things happening. Sometimes it might be because I don't empathise with the characters, but most often it's to do with style and my own desire to take a blue pen and start paring these books back.

These days, however, I seem to have multiple books on the go. I might pick one up that someone has left somewhere and read a few pages. Next time I'm looking for something to read, it may be that book again or something I can more easily lay my hands on. We're constantly hearing talk of how our attention spans these days are shorter, that the TV age and computer age have made us almost illiterate for longer works. I don't really subscribe to this theory -- well, not in total, anyway -- I can easily believe we have shorter attention spans, but I still enjoy long books. Length is a bonus -- I get to stay with characters I love all that much longer. And yet here my own reading pattern has changed.

I'm currently reading a YA book, a biography, a genre novel, two literary novels and one classic. And I'm having no problems at all jumping from one to another. Interestingly enough, though, I still can only work on one writing project (happily) at a time. I've included "happily" as an aside because I am capable of doing more than one, but I love best just immersing myself in my work in progress, sinking through its layers. I wonder if that too will change with time.

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