My journey to becoming the type of person who
actually finishes books.

Recently finished. Let's talk about it.

I used to be the type of girl who liked to go steady with a book. I was loyal and committed until the relationship had run its course, and then I would finish the book with fond memories of our time together.

But lately, I’ve been flirting all over the bookstore. Barely 50 pages in, and I’m already peeking over at the bookshelf to see if something else looks better. And I think it’s time to admit that I might have a commitment problem.

I am slowly making progress through the stack of dog-eared books on my nightstand. I enjoy each one and think we’re in it for the long haul, until a more attractive genre comes along. The old book is relegated to the stack of incompletion, to be glanced over later with feelings of remorse and guilt. The book has treated me well. Maybe it deserves a more avid reader. Why did I ever leave the book? When I go back to it, will things be the same? Or will we settle into a dull ritual of obligatory reading before bed?

I blame my newfound literary promiscuity on college. My attention is divided between three or four books of moderate interest rather than one book that I furiously read with a belly full of butterflies. It was uncomfortable for me to start serial-reading. I felt like I was betraying each book, and that I wasn’t able to give each character and storyline the attention they deserved.

What I’ve realized, though, is that literature overlaps in surprising ways. Every story becomes a bit more vivid when it’s painted on the background of other reads. By taking in more than one book at a time, my imagination is constantly building synapses between the narratives. The resulting experience is deeper and richer than when I read one book at a time.

As I finish my last year of college, I’ve finally embraced my wanton reading.  My hectic book list will undoubtedly lighten up when textbooks drop off next year, but my newfound habit will continue. Maybe I’ll finally work through that stack of half-finished books on my nightstand. That’s a great thing about books. No matter how long it takes you to finish, they’re always still there, patiently waiting.

In the works. Suggestions welcome.