This jumped off the New York Times page (web page) as I wonder if I have a problem with piles of books (totalling 25 or more) either bought and not started or on the go to some degree.
When taking my fledgling steps toward literacy, I lived in a neighborhood with no library. Luckily, there was a bookmobile that came around every week. Each Tuesday night, I would borrow as many books as permitted, devour them and come back next week for more. I would also read any palatable materials my sisters brought home, excluding obviously unsuitable items like “The Child’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ ” or anything involving Trixie Belden. Like many children growing up in crummy neighborhoods, I honestly believed that if I read enough books, I would one day possess a gorgeous house with two cars, two children and a white picket fence. This is exactly what has come to pass.
Unfortunately, my youthful experiences got me into the habit of reading too many books simultaneously. Most of my female friends read one or two books at a time; my male friends insist that they are always reading at least one, though I suspect this figure may be aspirational. But I am never reading fewer than 25 books. I am not talking about books I have delved into, perused and set aside, like “Finnegans Wake” or Pamela Anderson’s first novel — that would get me up way over a hundred. I am talking about books I am actively reading, books that are on my nightstand and are not leaving there until I am done with them. Right now, the number is 27.