Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Salon - How Do You Read?

I spent the whole week attending programs to listen to authors - Alafair Burke, S.M. Stirling, Margaret Coel and Jennifer Lee Carrell. That means I didn't get much read in the last week.

And, with the way I read, I tend to finish three or four books quickly, and then have a few days when I don't finish anything. I'm one of those readers who read at least three books at a time, so I can pick up something that fits my mood. Usually, it's a mystery or crime fiction, sometimes a nonfiction book, a novel, or a juvenile or children's novel.

Right now, I'm reading a perfect mystery for football season, The Green Revolution by Ralph McInerny, set at Notre Dame. I need to finish Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon before Monday when we discuss it for The Big Read. My review of Ingrid Law's Savvy will appear on Monday on the blog. It was a terrific juvenile novel that I just finished. And, I have Dennis Lehane's enormous novel, The Given Day, to finish by the end of the month. Lehane is going to be at The Poisoned Pen on October 3, and I want to have finished the book by then.

So, how do you read? Do you read one book at a time? Or, like me, do you read multiple books? Why? I read them to pick up one to fit my mood. Do you do it for the same reason, or some other reason? How do you read?


Jen said...

Oh geez! Now I'm really jealous! I would like more than anything to meet Dennis Lehane (can you see me just turning green?). I so admire his work. It's amazing. I have The Given Day on reserve for me at the library when it's released - but I'll probably end up buying it myself anyways. I absolutely can't wait. Lehane hasn't disappointed me in anything he's written to date!

Anonymous said...

I usually read one book at a time. Well, actually, I don't any more. But the one book thing works best for me. I have one book I'm reading for pleasure, one book I'm listening to in the car, and then sometimes I'm slowly reading book club selections. Sometimes I get caught up in the book club books and finish them as a pleasure read. Sometimes, if I am struggling to stay interested, I read a certain number of pages each day. As the leader of my two groups, I feel that I should finish those books even if I'm not loving them. Otherwise, I don't continue books that I'm not connecting with (50 page rule).

I know many people seem to have several going at once, but somehow that is more difficult for my brain.

Exciting to see Dennis Lehane. I'm planning on reading THE GIVEN DAY.

Lesa said...


It sounds to me as if you're reading a couple at a time even when you "think" you're only reading one. (grin) But, it sounds as if it's one for pleasure, and a couple for book groups.

I'm looking forward to seeing Dennis. Actually, we hosted him for our very first Lee County Reading Festival, so I have met him before. I'm looking forward to it, though.

Lesa said...


I can't wait to hear what he has to say about The Given Day.

I have met Dennis before. We hosted him for our very first Lee County Reading Festival, which will be ten years ago in March. I was the Chair of the Authors Programming Committee. What a great way to kick off a festival. Carl Hiaasen was our keynote speaker. Among others at the festival, we had one panel with Dennis, James Hall, Jan Burke, and Les Standiford.

What a remember - Dennis answered my email instantly. He was in the middle of writing Mystic River at the time, and I think he was constantly on the computer. And, Jan was wonderful! She couldn't fly in on Friday night because tornadoes hit the Dallas airport. She took a red-eye into Tampa, rented a car, and drove down to Ft. Myers to get there just before the Saturday morning panel. And, then she was kind enough to tell people at Left Coast Crime that we put on a good festival.

What a way to kick off my five years with the festival!

Meghan said...

Lucky! I'd love to see some authors, even if it took away from reading time.

I do best when reading only one book at a time, but lately I've been branching out and reading a few. I have a lot of non-fiction to review, so I've been reading a required number of pages of each and then moving on to fiction, which moves much faster for me. I like the non-fiction, but I seem to get through more this way.

Lesa said...

That's almost exactly what I do, Meghan. A certain number of pages in each book. Then when I get within a hundred pages of the end, I just finish up that book. It probably sounds a little weird, but it works great for me.

Anonymous said...

I usually have just the one book on the go unless I'm reading non-fiction for any reason, when there will always be a fiction book there as well. The only exception to this is if I have a book to read for discussion that I'm finding hard going. Then I will try and read that during the day when I'm more alert and have something lighter to enjoy when I'm tired. If I don't do this there is no chance at all of my having anything decent to say in the discussion.

Jill said...

I'm a great multi-tasker in life..but not when it comes to books. I have never been able to read more than one at a brain just can't keep up with more than one storyline. Usually, when I'm in a book, I'm IN the book.

Lesa said...

Table Talk,
Sounds as if a number of us read fiction and nonfiction at the same time. And, I agree with you with trying to read something for a book discussion. Not always easy to get through a book that's not my cup of tea.

Lesa said...

You're right, Jill. And, it's something my husband doesn't understand, no matter how much he likes books. At times, I really am IN the book, and I don't hear him talking to me. He just doesn't get it.

Literary Feline said...

Hi, Lesa! How are you finding The Maltese Falcon? I read that one last year. I am so envious that you have a Poisoned Pen near you! Ho hum.

I tend to read one book at a time more often than not, although I sometimes will try reading two. On the rare occasion, I might have three going. I have this tendency to prefer sticking to one book at a time simply because the one book grabs me and I don't like to switch to another book until I finish the first. I get so immersed in the story of that one book.

Lesa said...

I'll finish The Maltese Falcon, or enough to appreciate the talk tomorrow, but it's just OK.

When I get a terrific book, I'm with you. I'll finish it all the way through. So many books are not great, though, just good. So, until I really get caught up in them, I can read a few at a time.

Ruth said...

I'm a multiple book reader. I always have at least two going -- usually four. I never read two books from the same genre at the same time. It's too easy to mix up similar plots. I don't have to worry about confusing a modern thriller with historical fiction, or young adult fiction with literary fiction, though. It works rather nicely for me.

Sometimes I divide my time between them evenly, other times I'll be more focused on one particular book, not reading it exclusively, but giving it a larger chunk of my reading time.

Great question!

Lesa said...


It sounds as if you read the exact same way I do. And, the part about focusing more on one book than the others sounds just like my style.

Nice to know others are doing something similar, and I'm not a crackpot! (grin)