I finished up my mystery book group selection a couple nights ago: Sarah Caudwell’s Thus Was Adonis Murdered. We are meeting tomorrow night, so perhaps I will write about that soon. Last night I read a decent-sized chunk of the biography I’m in the middle of: Richard Holmes’s Coleridge: Darker Reflections. I am really enjoying it, even if it is quite grim. It’s not called Darker Reflections for nothing. I was planning on reading steadily in it until I finished or got close, but it’s just slightly too heavy to be my default read — by which I mean the book I read to relax and the one I feel I can read in for hours, if need be. I always have something going in that category, and it’s usually a novel.
So it’s time to pick up a novel, it seems. I’ve been thinking about Eva’s post on reading at whim lately, a concept I can really get behind. I’m in the mood to read exactly what I want without thinking about reading plans or what I should read or whether I’m challenging myself enough. I have some reading I have to do for school, and I’d prefer that all other reading be exactly what I want and nothing else.
This brings up a little problem for me, though, because I’ve been realizing that reading at whim isn’t easy when 1. my whims change frequently, 2. I’m a slow reader, 3. I like to finish books I start, except in rare cases, and 4. I prefer not to have a huge pile of books I’m in the middle of to suit my every mood. That would be too confusing. The problem is a lot of times that the whim of one day is entirely different from the whim of the next or the day after, at which point I’m still in the middle of the book I began following my whim on day 1. I’m sorely tempted to pick up Margaret Oliphant’s The Perpetual Curate, thanks to Amateur Reader, but it’s a long book, and what if I get in the mood for something short and contemporary a few days from now? I’m sometimes in the mood to read something challenging, but what if just a couple days from now, I need something easy? I’d rather not put a book down in the middle of it if I’m not hating it, and I don’t want to just keep adding books to the pile of ones I’m currently reading, so it seems I can read at whim only now and then.
That’s why I agonize about what I’m going to pick up next, I suppose. So, off to the shelves …