Too many books?

I may be getting myself into, oh, just a tiny bit of trouble. I had a nice list of three “currently reading” books going for a while, the Proust, Gaskell, and Brewer, but then I got the urge last weekend to begin another book, and when the Alberto Manguel one on reading didn’t work out, I decided to try some poetry. So I’m now reading Rilke’s Duino Elegies. There are ten elegies, and I’ve finished the first. It’s quite beautiful, and I may post on it soon; for now I’ll say that I’m enjoying the dual-language edition, with German on one page and English on the other. I can read a little German, so I had fun thinking about the decisions the translator made.

So that’s fine, not a big deal, but then I decided to request some books from my library, and one of them turned up much sooner than I thought. I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and couldn’t help but begin it right away. I’ve now read about 50 pages and may have trouble putting it down to spend some time with my other books. I find her breezy writing style occasionally just the tiniest bit irritating, but otherwise, this is exactly the kind of book I like — a mix of genres (travel, memoir, spiritual autobiography, food writing) and an appealing persona — she’s open, honest, courageous, and smart. I’ll be writing more about this soon.

Okay, so that’s a lot to be reading, but what’s really got me worried is that I’m supposed to be starting Don Quixote soon. I will be starting it next week, definitely, and I’m excited about it, but I think I’d better get a lot of reading done this weekend, or I’ll soon enough find myself in the middle of 6 books, a number I haven’t yet reached and won’t really know how to handle.

13 Comments

Filed under Books, Reading

13 responses to “Too many books?

  1. LK

    Oh, do I know how you feel! I am determined to make it through Proust vol 2 AND Don Quixote. So, through this weekend, I am plowing through Proust — I figure I’ll hit a tipping point, at which time I will be committed and able to move forward even while taking on Cervantes.

  2. I felt the same way about Gilbert at the beginning but her voice grew on me and by the end she had me completely. The first part, the Italy section and beforehand, is pretty easy to breeze through but by the time she gets to India I found her thoughts more developed and found myself putting the book down to think about it. I’m definitely anxious to hear your thoughts on this book!

  3. Sounds familiar. Sometimes reading just overwhelms, doesn’t it? :)

    I was tempted to sign up for the Don Quixote reading blog initially – but my sluggish progress on “Sodom and Gomorrah” made me decide against it. I want to finish Proust this year. Have to keep off – have to try to focus. But will be swinging by the blog to see how you guys are doing.

    I was curious about “Eat, Pray, Love” when it first came out, but after talking to a few friends about it, my interest kind of waned. Will be interested to get your views on it.

  4. Cam

    I’ve been wanting to read Manguel and you make Eat, Pray, Love seem interesting. No wonder I have some many partially read books — I keep reading enticing suggestions for additional books to read.

  5. Oh I’m facing a similar situation too, not including all my precious journals and the Slaves of Golconda read (aren’t you luck that you’ve already read it). I’m hoping I can finish either my Hollinghurst novel or Stern before the month is over.

  6. I’ve just had the same experience with Rose Macaulay’s Pleasure of Ruins, on which I will post when I’m finished. All other books might as well not exist at the moment (which is very unlike me). Meanwhile, I’m tempted by Eat, Pray, Love (was looking at it at Borders the other day), but have stayed away, because I tried to read Gilbert’s Stern Men a few years back and just couldn’t get into it. However, so many have been saying such good things about this one (and I’m thinking since it’s not a novel, it might be very different) that I’ll probably end up reading it.

  7. Bwahahahahahaaaaa! It’s a slippery slope when you go from reading one book at a time to two to oh I’ll just read three at a time. Soon you will be up to six and then before you know it you’ll look at your books and realize, like I did, “Good gracious! Am I really reading 12 books at once?” The day you have that realization and then start reading another book anyway, you’re a goner and will never be able to read just one or two at a time again :)

  8. Had to laugh at Stefanie’s comment above!! Yes, oh, I so know the feeling! Normally I don’t mind having a stack started (as you know I’m sure), but I did honestly want to try and whittle things down while I read DQ. I’m not sure how all this is going to work out–I am trying hard to finish Virginia Woolf at least and one or two other shorter books, but the problem is I won’t be able to stop temptation to start something else new. Must think Don Quixote, must thing Don Quixote…Good luck getting those books under control! The Gilbert should really go pretty fast for you though, so that will be one less to worry about!

  9. Oh no now you’ve done it :) I actually seem to be going the other way and am only juggling two books. I think I need to do some mental preparation this weekend for DQ!

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed the Rilke! I adore those poems so much. I often think I ought to read a little of one every day, just to keep my morale up. I know what you mean about the juggling, but I’m looking forward to the Cervantes too.

  11. LK, do enjoy the Proust and Cervantes — I didn’t quite expect I’d be reading them together, but why not? Courtney, I’m already won over by Gilbert, I think. There are parts of the Italy section I’m really, really liking. I’ll be posting on this more soon, I’m certain. Dark Orpheus, I have a feeling you’d like Gilbert’s book — or at least be interested in it. I can already tell I’ll be raving about it when I write on it next. Cam — I have exactly the same problem! Except not quite so many unfinished books :) Imani, with the Slaves read, I’d be completely overwhelmed! Yes, I’m glad I’ve already read it. Emily — I’d love to hear what you think about Gilbert’s book if you do decide to read it. Stefanie — I do think I can get away with blaming you and other multiple-book-reading bloggers just a little bit for my current predicament :) Let’s hope I’ll fly through something this weekend, Danielle, so I’ll feel a bit better about DQ, but if I don’t, well, what can I do? Best of luck with your reading plans! Iliana — I’d like to read the DQ intro this weekend to get ready — my own mental preparation. Litlove, yes, I really loved the first elegy, and am looking forward to the rest — thanks for speaking of them so highly and tempting me to read them!

  12. Before I started Eve’s Alexandria I only ever read one book at a time. It never even occured to me to do otherwise! But now I read so many – I have 3 on the go at the moment, and really more like 4 because I keep dipping into a book of essays. And I keep thinking: hmmmm…why not just start something else? Sometimes I think ’tis a worrying trend, but at others I realise that it makes my reading more exciting and fluid. :-)

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