Why I Read More Than One Book At A Time

When I started developing interest in books, I could barely finish a book. If I do, it would probably take a longer time than it should. Well, despite all that, as I recounted here, I kept on with the rhetoric of I love reading even though it was being a difficult adventure.

Things have changed over the period. I used to believe that it is wrong to carry a new book to read when I’m not done reading one. So I could go for 3 months carrying just one book around. I won’t complete it on time and I made no allowance for myself to read a new book.

Also, I will pick up some books that in reality are so boring (to me) or too much for me to comprehend at the moment. Yet, I won’t allow myself to read another one until I “finish” reading it.

I guess a lot of us do that. We do that because we want to make statistics out of the number of books read and it doesn’t make sense to count a book you didn’t finish. We are truthful and so we endure what I refer to as the cruellest intellectual torture; the reading of a book just so it could add to some statistics. It’s time to put a stop to that.

Why we read

I didn’t know why we read myself until I started reading. And when I say read, I mean all forms of reading – educational and fun, assigned by others and self-assigned, compelled or willful reading. 

After a lot of reading I concluded on one ultimate reason why I (we) read; to know more. The ultimate reason for reading I believe is for the sake of knowledge. Either it’s fiction or nonfiction, when you pick a book to read, there is one thing that is sure to be accomplished in you when you are done, more knowledge.

Knowing more than you once knew means you can do what you couldn’t do before. It means you can enter rooms you couldn’t enter before. It means you can lay claim to a certificate you couldn’t have before. It means you can teach what you couldn’t teach before. It means you can make the kind of money you couldn’t make before. Knowledge is the key that opens many doors that we all covet.

What then is the essence of a reading that doesn’t amount to knowledge but just a mere statistics of book red?

Reading more than one book at a time

Since the essence of reading is knowledge, I started seeing books that way as well. No more as a statistics of book red but as a means to learn, to acquire knowledge. More importantly, I started seeing books as a conversation with the finest of the minds that ever lived or still living.

What do I mean? When you were in school (you may still be), you could have 4 lectures on different subjects in a day. You will attend them, take notes, think about what you learnt and probably even research to learn more. It never occurred to you to assume one lecturer must teach all contents of his subject before another can teach theirs.

Also, while you are out of lecture halls, you probably attend a church where you learn something new again from your pastor. In addition to that, you may also have a conversation on a topic (politics) entirely different from all you’ve done so far. 6 different “conversations” in just one day already.

All these are different knowledge sources and they do not conflict with each other. However, when we pick books to read, we have this sense of urgency or obligation to finish the conversation we started with this brilliant soul before we can move on to another conversation. I had to stop that practice and you should as well. If the purpose of reading is knowledge, then it should be treated as such and allowed to be acquired over time just as any other knowledge.

Here’s what you should know, just as you don’t go back to all conversations to complete them, you don’t have to finish all books as well. I say this because you need to also free yourself from the mental condition you’ve developed that forces you to finish a book. 

There are different reasons why you may not finish a book at a time. One, you don’t understand it at that time. Two, it’s currently irrelevant. Three, it’s a poorly written book. The list could go in but those are my top 3.

Seeing books as a conversation with the finest mind liberated me from the idea of having to read just one book at a time. I could have a conversation with a brilliant professor, entrepreneur, spiritual leader, and an unsung person all at the same time. One knowledge won’t stop the other.

6 thoughts on “Why I Read More Than One Book At A Time

  1. This is so enlightening and very illuminating as well. I never saw reading this way, I always felt very unaccomplished when I don’t get to finish a book

  2. I learnt not to read for the statistics of already “red”…
    Thanks so much David

  3. I was going to add that you do not need to finish a book just cos you bought it. But you have already added that as well.

    Something I am taking with me is: see books as a conversation. This also means paying attention to the book once I start to read without being in a hurry to share what I am reading with others. Aim of reading is to learn and not to show off.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad you could relate with it.

      Yes, the burden of the need to finish a book was something I had to drop a long time ago. My experience changed after that.

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