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On Being Polyamourous

When I finished Villette, I thought that maybe my venture in reading two books at a time was at a close. It seemed realistic to me that, having finished the long and often dull classic, I could go back to giving my attention to a solo object of my bookish desire. And it worked, for a short while. I read Kimberly Derting’s Desires Of The Dead, my focus not blurred by the affections of another novel.

But I realised after finishing Derting’s book that the date I had agreed to post a review of another book loomed near, and thus that I did not have the power of choice over what my next read should be. I begun the book, but during breaks my hands were itching to caress the pages of another.

The thing is, I don’t think that, in practice, it would work, and I say this because of a revelation that came to me in a way not unlike the regular situation of turning on a light switch. I believe I understand the situation that must exist if a second book is to join me and my first in a tryst.

They must each be different, more so than in personality. A different personality is good, but it is not the catalyst.

One of them must be an ebook.

Part of me screams “for shame!”, considering the fact that just a few months ago I was unrelenting in the idea that Call Me Kate should be my one and only ebook until at least paperbacks were hard to come by – but the rest of me recognises that the big difference in format means that somehow, the section of my brain that might get confused and twist the threads of different plots together, won’t have a problem as long as only one book is in print.

I think my unwillingness to accept that ebooks are on a par with print books is the key, and I can exploit it.

I may be in a threesome tonight, but I don’t think anyone will question my morality.



March 20, 2011, 12:21 pm

I like ebooks. But you’re right, at times they feel like “different reading”. I often read more than 1 book at a time and have no trouble with it.

Charlie: It’s in part the situation, I think. Because ebooks don’t look or feel like books, obviously, it’s easier to not get confused with stories. I can sometimes read a non-fiction as well as a fiction, but not so well.


March 20, 2011, 5:01 pm

I agree with you and Iris about the ebooks. Since I’ve had my Sony Reader I’ve found it much easier to read two books at the same time – one ebook and one physical book. I also try to pick two books that are very different so that hopefully I won’t have any trouble keeping them separate in my mind.

Charlie: Two very different books is a big help, I agree. Vastly different writing styles on top of that help even more, I find.


March 26, 2011, 3:33 pm

I’ll admit, I’ve always been fine with reading three books at a time, as long as one of them is an audiobook. I used to have one audiobook going, plus a book I read at bedtime and another I read any other time. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with five books going at once, which was too many! Right now, I have an audiobook, a paper book, and an ebook going, and I must say, it’s working quite nicely.

Charlie: I keep forgetting about audio books, I’m not sure if it’s a type that would work for me but I’d like to give it a go nonetheless. The variety you’ve chosen, I can see that being very successful. I always thought that as long as the story and genre was different that would be enough. Maybe a book about an inanimate object, rather than people, would work.



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