A dozen, give or take…

… books I am currently reading.

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There was a day, not so very long ago, that I was not able to keep more than one set of pages on my plate, and even then things might linger for months unread. At some point, I remember venturing into multiple reads, hesitantly, like a Florida native checking the temperature of Lake Superior. I made sure to keep my genres distinct, to never choose 2 books that had anything more in common than their jacket color.

I don’t know when the filters came off, but a quick glance at my Goodreads list shows that I am smack in the middle of 13 books, not including 4 books of the Bible. Can I count those? I dunno. Colossians is just a letter, and pretty short one at that, but Deuteronomy qualifies as novel-length or better, given its riveting writing style. We’ll call it a draw.

Tables have turned, and I now have the attention span of a flea. More often than not, I get in about a page each of my entourage daily. On a good day, I rip through a whole chapter of one or two lucky winners. On a really good day I make significant progress.

I’m not sure how I feel about this flitting about. I’m learning a ton, slowly, which is sometimes the best way to go. But that satisfaction that comes with finishing a book is quite fleeting. Last week when I blew through How to Be Good it was partly because it is an easy, quick read, but it was also because I needed to finish something fast. It is marginally satisfying to watch my myriad bookmarks wade their way through pages like molasses, but every now and again, you just want to dive in, sprint to the wall, heave yourself out, dry off, and get back to life.

Today, as we watch the Packer game on our miniature tube TV and the snow that is still falling outside the windows and the fire that is beautiful despite its incessant belching of smoke into my house, I am glad to have choices. When I tire of learning how to be a millionaire in the 90s (check out the latest helper, the PDA!), or how to grow my non-existent nest egg into a full-fledged retirement, I can delve into some great discussions on creativity and insight or the evolution of eyesight, pour over another of Natalie Goldberg’s inspiring essays or fall into the comfort of Frederica’s easy writing, or I can follow General Washington into the forge of the Revolution.

When all else fails, Deuteronomy is always waiting. I’d better stoke the fire.

Thank God for public libraries,
KJ

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