Table of books

The Next Chapter: Torn Between Two Books

I would describe myself as a dinosaur type of reader. I usually read just one book at a time and I am a slow reader at that. However, recently I was very tempted to read two books at the same time, which is very unusual for me.

I have read the same book since January 3rd (according to Goodreads) Americanah by Chimanadana Ngozi Adichie. It’s a book I’ve been obsessed with for a while now. My friend Lisa sent it to me as part of her project to encourage people to read books by authors of color. Americanah is the story of a young Nigerian couple, Ifemelu and Obinze, who meet at a party and continue their relationship into college. Both of them plan to move to the United States to further their studies. Ifemelu makes it first and has a hard time adjusting to American life but soon starts a popular blog about race and racism. Obizine, though, gets stuck in England due to tighter immigration laws after 9/11 and struggles to make a living despite an expired visa. It’s a great book about immigration, racism, and even the importance of natural hair.

The other book I’m interested in reading is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. It won the Man Booker Prize back in 2008. I don’t know much about it except that it takes place in modern-day India and its main character, Balram Halwai, is according to the blurb on the back “a servant, philosopher, entrepreneur and a murderer “. The Netflix film is out already but I want to read the book before seeing the movie. And before Netflix takes it off their service. My Bookstigram friend Andy said it’s a fast read and not even 300 pages.

I have, at times, read two books at the same time but I wind up reading more of one book and ignoring the other as if it was a guest that bored me at a party. Once though, I took a week off from reading Don de Lillo’s epic masterpiece Underworld to finish the book I had been reading before I started reading it, Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. Last year, when I was not working yet at home but still on the State payroll, I wound up reading The USA Trilogy at the same time reading mystery novels by Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Marjorie Allingham. It actually helped break up the long days where I couldn’t go anywhere and had to do something all day long.

I posed the question if I should read both books at the same time on Bookstigram and was happy to find other dinosaurs like myself who stick with one book at a time. Some other people say they tend to read two books at a time, but they usually have to be different genres (fiction and nonfiction, classics and sci-fi) for it to work for them. One person said they read five books at a time. That blew my small dinosaur mind.

I decided to keep reading Americanah. The White Tiger will have to wait. Sometimes we multitask at work or at home. It seems the thing to do these days. It’s not enough to walk and chew gum but you have to run a marathon while juggling tennis balls. For me, the joy of reading is immersing yourself in a book. I remember reading Charles Dickens’ Bleak House a number of years ago and I felt immersed in the last 150 pages. I resented having to go to work or go grocery shopping. I just wanted to read my book. And I made the right decision. I’m loving Americanah and am getting close to finishing it. More power to people who read more than one book at a time but I know that it isn’t me. I’m content to be a dinosaur munching on one book at a time.