Is it wrong to read everything you like all at once?

The other day my friend Ron and I were in Barnes and Noble killing a bit of time. Since I loved Americanah so much, I looked to see what other Adichie titles they had (only one Purple Hibiscus), and then I noticed the new novels by Michael Cunningham and Joshua Ferris. I had all of these in my hand and was ready to go to the cashier when I realized that I should be buying them at my local independent instead. This may not seem like such a revelation to most of you, but I buy so few new books I often forget the fact that Politics and Prose, probably the best indie bookstore in the DC area, is in my neighborhood. And it just so happened that we had plans for that night to go out to dinner just a few doors down from the store. So while we waited for our table at Comet Pizza I made a beeline for Adichie, the new Cunnigham and Ferris novels, and for good measure, I looked to see if they had any Eric Ambler on their shelves.

It isn’t often that every single book I buy in one trip is a book I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. Usually I pick up a few thing that I feel I might get to at some distant point in time. My dilemma is: is it wrong to just go ahead and plow throw these seven books? Have a bit of an orgy of enjoyable reading. I’ve already started the Ferris and am having a great time with it? Should I ration these or should I make up time that I lost earlier in the year to less than enjoyable books that I forced myself to read and others I gave up on?  If I toss in the three D.E. Stevensons I bought a month or so back I could really go on a fun book binge.

Hmm. It is summer after all. Why not? It is possible I will want to throw something else into the mix along the way. I have about two stories yet to finish in a Doris Lessing collection, and I still have 3/4ths of the 800-page Forsyte Saga to go. And it would be nice to read and review a novel or two that are still in hardcover. I know a few of you couldn’t believe that I got to Americanah so soon after publication.

What would you do?

14 thoughts on “Is it wrong to read everything you like all at once?

  1. ana June 8, 2014 / 4:16 am

    Read what you love Thomas! Have noticed so many bloggers with reading slumps recently It is a joy to read of your refreshing dilemma Wish I had it


  2. Susan in TX June 8, 2014 / 8:30 am

    Not what would I do, but what I am doing…go ahead and join me in BINGE-READING! :) I was so distracted from reading/relaxing during the month of May that I not only went crazy at the bookstore, I brought home 14 from the library as well (this from one who usually doesn't even visit the library!). I'm loving every minute of it and highly recommend it. (Besides, you'll have a busy season once the house is done and you have to move again – you can read now what you might not have time to read later…yes, I can rationalize ANYthing. ;) )


  3. JoAnn June 8, 2014 / 9:22 am

    I love this post. My advice: go for it!
    Enjoy your reading, Thomas.


  4. Heather June 8, 2014 / 9:59 am

    I'd end up binge-reading all of them. No self-control when it comes to authors I love.


  5. CarolS June 8, 2014 / 3:31 pm

    totally agree, go ahead and binge.


  6. fleurfisher June 8, 2014 / 5:26 pm

    Not wrong at all – read the books that are calling the loudest!


  7. Karen K. June 8, 2014 / 8:11 pm

    Hmm, that's tough. I suppose it depends on whether you really want to stretch them out and make them last, particularly if they're dead and not publishing any more! I usually try to ration them out, or at least alternate between authors. I have authors I love so much that I try to stretch the reading out as long as possible, like Barbara Pym and Dorothy Whipple. Of course I still have another 35 book by Trollope on the list so there's no danger there!


  8. StuckInABook June 9, 2014 / 6:13 pm

    I doubt you'll run out of books you want to read – go for it! Although I imagine that many 21st century books in a row might pall, and you'll want to diversify before you finish anyway… Looking forward to your thoughts on the Michael Cunningham!


  9. Frances June 17, 2014 / 6:01 pm

    Just read them all! Rationing is such an unpleasant thought. The Snow Queen is up next for me so I'll look forward to your thoughts on that one.


  10. June 18, 2014 / 10:44 am

    What happened to the “Read on from my TBR pile this year” thing. That was this year, yes? ;-) I'll have to get the new Cunningham from my own indie bookstore. Even though I've not really been impressed by the last two, I loved the others. I say go for it and read what you want, but you might want to skip Adichie short stories. Half of a Yellow Sun is one of the best books I've ever read, but I'm finding the short stories a very mixed bag.


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