Yes, I Can't Read Just One

I have a tendency to read more than one book at a time. In fact, it is very rare that I only read one book at a time. Often times, I will have three or four books going at a time. Usually there will be something I am reading in analog form,1 one I am listening to as an audiobook, and a couple that I am reading digitally.2

This shocks a lot of people.
3 The question I get asked most often is “Doesn’t that get confusing?”

I’ll admit, that I have occasionally mixed up which minor character was in which book, but for the most part, the answer is no. Part of this is because I tend to read a wide variety of things and rarely have two of the same sub-genre going at the same time, although I do make exceptions. My most common answer, however, is to compare reading multiple books at once to watching television programs.
7

“What TV shows do you watch regularly?”

The person then answers, often shyly, with a number of television programs.

“And are these shows one offs every episode or are there through-lines that extend over multiple episodes or even seasons?”

The person ponders this for a while, and then understanding dawns on them. Or it doesn’t. Whatever. I’m just saying that it is no more difficult to keep multiple plot lines of books straight than it is for television programs.

I realized recently, that this comparison my be losing its validity. Last year we stopped using a satellite dish which provided local channels and switched over to a couple of streaming services. To be honest, most of the people I know have done the same. This, of course, has lead to — say it with me now — binge watching.
8 I assume that most people are the same.

Which leads me to an interesting question. Do people binge watch more than one program at a time? Or is the very nature of the binge watching experience predicated on the idea of watching an entire series lip to label?
9 If the former, then my comparison still makes sense. If the later, which I suspect may be the case, then I need to come up with another way of explaining the whole reading more than one book at a time.


1 Sometimes two, a paperback that I carry with me and then a hardcover, larger book, or otherwise special book that I don’t want to leave the house with.

2 At the time of this writing I am reading
Harrow the Ninth in hardcover, Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter at home (because it is bit unwieldy), Arkham County on audio, and Ring Shot on my phone when I am in waiting rooms.

3 Sadly, the fact that I enjoy reading shocks a lot of people.
4

4 I mean, you know that I am a writer, right?

5 I actually feel really bad for people who never learned the joy of reading.
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6 Excuse me, I need to go text my parents.

7 Yeah, yeah. I know.

8 This is more of a thing for The Mrs. I tend to only watch television with her. Most of my screen time is taken up by movies or jumping down YouTube rabbit holes.

9 For you young-uns, that is a reference to something called a “record” or “LP.”
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10 No I won’t. Look it up your damn self.