Monday, December 10, 2018

Multi-reading

I read a thing about reading multiple books being bad for your sense of the narrative structure that that author is trying to create and I get it and also I want to say pbbbbbbbt. 
A few years back David Simon got in some hot water for saying he thought the current state of TV where things get recapped and discussed after every episode was harmful because as a TV creator he was making a season of TV, and it wasn't fair to judge it on discrete parts when for all you know they addressed or had a plan for a thing you didn't know yet. 
And sure. And that's been discussed to death elsewhere so I'm not going to rehash it here except to say that yes, a novel is intended as a complete form and so yes, sometimes I have told people mid-book a thing that turned out to be resolved or worse entirely abandoned by the time I got to the end. Yes, as a reader I can better immerse myself in the author's work if I focus on it and only it. It would also be great if I read everything on my couch, curled up with my cat, and with elves bringing me fresh drinks on a regular basis. Look, books are rarely ever read in a single sitting. And when you consider Charles Dickens was serialized in the paper, we can stop blaming it on modern life and our phones. (Except that I read on my phone now sometimes, which is super cool.)
I could return to the same book each time but also sometimes I am more open to this story, and sometimes I want that. Most TV makers understand that their show is being watched in between other shows. And similarly even if the only thing that interrupted my reading a book was work, people, eating, and sleeping I would still have to develop skills to return myself to the story. That's why we have "unputdownable" as a thing, books we were able to block everything else for are unusual. Will I have a better sense of authorial intent of I read one thing at a time? Probably. But we live in a busy world and so I'm going to do all the things I can to keep reading. Including switching between books. 

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