Reading One By One

For the first time in months I’m only reading one book.

And it’s heaven.

I’ve tried to be one of those people that can multi-task their reading. I see and hear about fellow book bloggers juggling two, three, four and five books at any given time and I envy that. I can’t do it. I’ve tried to do it before and found myself doing that for the past several months.

Reading two books at once was bad enough but then I added Persuasion to the mix and I thought I was going to lose my mind. I finally sat down and finished the last 150 pages of The Count of Monte Cristo and the day after that I sat down and finished Persuasion and then I only had one book left and it FELT SO GOOD.

I keep trying to be the kind of person that can read more than one book and keep the characters and narratives straight; the kind of reader that has no problem jumping from post-Revolutionary France to Regency England to modern day Switzerland and back again.

But I can’t do it. I’m not that kind of reader and I will contribute much more to my own happiness if I just accept that and stop trying.

I love that I can focus all my attention on one book now. I feel lighter and freer.

My TBR list stands and I will read them all, one at a time.


Taking My Time: The Count of Monte Cristo

Do you remember that time about 10 years ago that I asked you to choose a book for me to finish reading by the end of the year?

You probably don’t because it was AGES ago.

Well, I asked you to pick a book that had been languishing on my shelves unread for eons and you chose The Count of Monte Cristo. I started reading it near the end of October and…finished it the night before my birthday.

It took me nearly 5 months to read.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s a classic for a reason and I’m always surprised by how accessible the language of Dumas’ work is. It was published in 1844 but it reads like it could have been written now. Obviously there are certain situation and technologies that are very much of the time, but I find the writing very digestible and when I was reading, I found that I was getting through pages rather quickly.

The story itself is one of vengeance and exciting and interesting, it takes a number of surprising turns. I liked Edmond Dantes and understood his quest. The language was beautiful, it had lighter moments that made me laugh. There was honestly nothing about this book that I can use to explain why it took me so long to read.

Except of course this is one long ass book. I’ve written before about not being intimidated by large books but this time, I did not live up to my own expectations. The size of the book left me itching to finish it and looking at other books piled up around my apartment longingly.

And eventually I gave in to that. The idea of only reading The Count of Monte Cristo for as long as it took me to read it (my copy weighed in at 1462 pages, realistically it would have taken at least a month) was one that I couldn’t reconcile myself to. Which meant that the poor Count became my bedtime read, relegated to second place, his story parcelled out in chapter pairs before I drifted off to sleep.

But I finished it and it was great. If I were to read it again (which I hope to one day) I will devote myself to it like the Count devotes himself to his quest.


What Should I Read?

If you’re a book lover than I know you have the same problem as me: buying more books when there are still loads of unread books sitting on the shelves.

In an effort to get some of those read sooner rather than later, I need some peer pressure, which is where you come in.

I would like for you to choose one of the books I read before the end of the year. The end of the year probably sounds like a massive amount of time to get this reading in but actually we’re already well into October and November will be here before you know it and then the holidays will hit and I’m not heading to any cozy, log house for the holidays this year. That’s where I get my best reading done!

Without further ado, here are some of the books languishing on my shelves. Which should I read? Vote at the bottom!

Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin. I’ve read about his children and I’ve read some of his work and I really want to read this bio but I haven’t yet. I’ve also just found out that Tomalin wrote a biography of Jane Austen which is something I’m going to be looking into!

Carry on Jeeves by PG Wodehouse. I read a Jeeves omnibus last year and it was looooong. Which is probably why this little volume has been flying under the radar but I do love a good Jeeves story or two.

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two by Caroline Moorehead. I realized the other day how long I have been holding onto this one – Moorehead just had another book published about a village in France. I think I shy away from this one every time because I think it will be a difficult read but maybe it’s time has come?

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. When I first got this book (for Christmas) I was so excited to read it. And then every time I went to go and do just that, I would flip through it and think that maybe it was too scary for me. But Halloween is coming up…

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I know that reading this book will kill my book stats but since there is very little hope of beating my insane 2013 reading total of 115, maybe now’s the time to take the hit?