By Liz, wondering when, exactly, my reading habits got so out of control
First, let’s be clear. This is not about how many books are too many to own. There’s no such thing in my mind. Books HAVE to be everywhere, it’s just the way it is. No, my question is a bit different. So here it is:
Just between us girls, I’m wondering how many books are too many to be reading at once. I’m asking for a friend, of course.
Here’s the thing. I went through this phase recently of feeling like I’d sacrificed a lot of learning in recent years. Like, I hadn’t stayed up to speed on, well, pretty much anything—the podcasts I loved, shows I wanted to watch, books (omg, the books! My current TBR list and all the new stuff), and even the latest on marketing and communications, where I spend my daily life.
So when I found myself in possession of some time that I didn’t normally have, I went on a crusade. I created space in my Passion Planner to track all the books I read, the podcasts I listened to—both current favorites and new ones I heard about—and shows to catch up on. And I started getting up to speed. It felt really good. Then, like I tend to do, I got carried away.
Because when you’re constantly consuming, it means you’re going to, by default, keep hearing about new things you want to consume. For me, that looks like this: I listen to a podcast, that directs me to another podcast, that talks about a new author or speaker that resonates with me, which leads me to their website and inevitably a book or two, along with a whole slew of other videos to watch or articles to read that keep leading me to other new people, or people whose content I want to revisit, hence taking me further and further down the rabbit hole.
Also, I had a conversation with someone about the classics, and how reading them again years later could be really enlightening. So of course I pulled a couple of those off my shelf too.
The result? I have literally nine or ten books in progress right now, all with varying degrees of progress made. And that doesn’t count the audio books, of which I have one fiction and three non-fiction in progress.
And then at night I’m torn. Do I watch a show on my list, or do I read one of the books? What if I’m not in the mood for crime right before bed? I can turn to a personal development or self-help book. But which one?? Do I want to heal my inner child, or my relationships, or read the latest branding book, or dig into something to help renew my creative writing spirit?
I’ve always been a learner. I loved school (well, once I hit college) and to this day am always taking new classes and adding things I want to learn to that list (yes, another list – someone save me). But I’ve always also been one of those people who overwhelms herself. Instead of devoting 15 minutes a day to reading one thing, I feel like I can’t read anything if I can’t spend a couple hours on it. So then I just look at the whole pile of stuff and feel like there’s no point because I’ll never get through it all. And head to the TV to watch one of my shows, and then Netflix gives me a new recommendation…
Yes, it’s a vicious circle. Probably the easiest thing to do would be to limit myself to one thing at a time. But what if I’m not in the mood for that thing? The struggle is real.
Readers, what about you? How many books do you read at once? Do you know a good support group for my kind? Leave either of those insights in the comments!