Why I read more than one book at a time

Welcome back! Today’s post is all about reading habits, namely : reading multiple books at the same time.

I was picking up some books to bring back to the library today when I realized that I had read almost all of them at the same time, piece by piece. It’s a habit I have with certain books, but not all, and something I’ve been doing for quite some time now. So why do I read multiple books at once?

I’m a mood reader

If I don’t feel like reading a book on topic A, I will do anything but that. Including reading something on another topic, until I want to get back to book A again. This usually means that if something isn’t fully captivating, I’ll probably be in the middle of at least two books at the same time, if only to get back to the one I’m most interested in on that specific day.

Photo by @daanouthere on Unsplash

They’re non fiction

If I read a fiction book, it’s only one and it’s all in one go or nothing at all, but with non-fiction, it’s much easier to stop in the middle, pick up something else, and come back to it later.

If I get a little bored (because, even if I often only post reviews of four to five stars books, I rate half of what I read below that, which means I do, sometimes, get bored) while reading something, in a non-fiction work, I can just finish the chapter and put it down without fearing that I’ll have trouble remembering what it was about when I start it again.

It helps sort my priorities

If I’ve got more than one book at a time, I can roughly see how much reading time I have left in all of them, how long I have them for (if they’re from the library) / want to give them, and prioritize accordingly.

It can also be helpful in identifying which books I should consider DNF-ing and which ones are worth the effort.

Photo by @florenciaviadana on Unsplash

If I’m in the middle of a book, and it’s been sitting on my bedside window (I don’t have a bedside table, but I do have a bedside window corner – just enough space for one person to sit under the window and see the tiny courtyard shared with the neighbor) for more than two weeks, it might be time to let it go and admit I’m just not that interested in it. I don’t often DNF books, but when I do, it’s usually because I’ve been stuck trying to read them for too long.

Time is of the essence

Since I’m a full-time student (and hopefully still a straight-A student at the end of this semester), have a part-time job (when not in lockdown), try do do sports every two days, try to practice photography and to blog in my limited spare time, I don’t really have long spots of uninterrupted reading time.

I used to read the most during my daily commute, but my university has converted fully to online classes, so when I do go somewhere to study, it’s to the university’s library, and I go there on foot – not the best time to take out a book or my phone to read comfortably.

I’ve been adding small reading times to my timetable every day, to help me relax and take some time for myself in the middle of all this. Recently, being able to just pick up something, put it down 30 min later, and pick up something else on my next break has been a really useful skill!

Do you read multiple books at a time, or only one? Did you read or post something interesting on the same topic? Link it in the comments so I can check it out!

A day in my life during the summer

Continuing on with the personal posts, this one is more of an “about the blogger” type – I’ve been thinking about making a “day in the life” post for a while, so here’s a summer-themed one!

During the summer, my days are mostly split between rest days and work/study days. During the rest days, I mostly… do nothing, watch some TV, and maybe go out to do a short jogging. The work/study days are much more interesting.

Regardless of the day, I usually go to sleep pretty late, so I tend to wake up late in the morning too : it’s rare to see me emerge before 10 am on a day when I don’t have any video calls scheduled in the morning. Breakfast tends to be optional, depending on how close to 12pm I’m getting up : if it’s too close, I’ll just directly get lunch and get on with the rest of my day.

It’s taken me a while to go beyond the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mentality, and actually listen to what my body is telling me – if I’m hungry, I’ll eat something. If I’m not, and just want to eat for no apparent reason, I’ll think about it and try to figure out if the real reason might be boredom, sadness, anxiety, tiredness…

I use a bullet journal to keep track of my daily, weekly and monthly tasks, and I’ll usually check it in the morning after I wake up. If my laptop is on, I’ll also open feedly and check out what new blog posts have come out in the past day or so, and try to comment on a few of these.

Related posts : check out Kal’s post on @reader voraciousWhy I switched to Feedly for blogopping ! It’s an excellent guide on how to use Feedly to your advantage.

A part of my – relatively short – morning is spent studying : I’m taking two intensive classes this summer, and exams are fast approaching (in fact, I have one today!), which means I need to do my best to stay on top of the course work. I’ve been having some difficulties with one of those classes, as the teacher posts videos online and asks the students to watch them at home : the videos are longer and the content is more dense than in an in-person class, and it requires a lot much work to take notes on all of it.

I’ll also try to write some more on a future blog post during that time, as the building is calm and silent in the morning and I can focus much better than in the evening. I try to have a consistent lunch, but it depends on whether or not I have a lot of time before I have to go to work – for the moment, my work schedule is alternating between days when I start at 3:15pm, and days when I start at 4:15 – and it makes a huge difference in what I’m able to do at home before I have to leave.

Our apartment is located downtown, and there’s a big park nearby where me and my boyfriend sometimes go to play American football, or do some jogging – we’d like to do some boxing too, but so far haven’t found the time to do so. Often, after lunch (around 1pm), we’ll go out and spend some time outside before I have to go to work or get back home to attend my online classes.

On an average work day, it takes me about 40 minutes from the moment I leave my apartment to the moment I start working. I walk for about 10 of those, then take the metro, and get to work 5 minutes before my shift begins so I can put on my uniform shirt and grab my cashier bag to open a cash register. (And, if I’ve slept extra late the day before, I leave home 5 minutes earlier and grab a small coffee at Tim Hortons on the way to the metro station. The perks of living in a big city where you don’t have to walk half an hour to get to the nearest Tims…)

I have relatively short work days – the longest one lasts about 6 hours – since I’m not a full-time worker : my heaviest week so far is going to be this week, with a total of 27 hours planned. But I really like this job, and it helps me keep a somewhat good work-life balance : mornings are mine, afternoons and evenings are for work, and I’m home by 10pm every day so I can eat dinner, relax and spend time with my boyfriend.

In all of that, I usually manage to find some reading time during my breaks at work, and in public transport, as well as in my wake-up time before I try to do much of anything else. I’m currently trying my best to get through The way of kings by Brandon Sanderson – I liked his Skyward series so much that I decided to give a chance to his other writing too – and even if it is super interesting, it’s taking me a long time to read.

What does your day-to-day look like during the summer? Does it usually change a lot, or do you have a regular schedule you tend to follow? And how do you fit your favorite activities into your “work” days?

5 things I want to do in May + my May TBR

May is almost here, and as much as March and April have been terrible, hectic months, I’m sincerely hoping for a much better may 2020 – and as such, I’m making plans !

I’ve just recently started a new job in a grocery store, packing online orders for customers who are self-isolating at home, so I don’t have as much free time as I had over the past few weeks of quarantine – but I’m really excited over what I have planned, so hopefully I’ll be able to tackle at least some of these monthly goals !

The goals part

Blogging goals

Maintain a regular posting schedule

This month, I’d like to post twice a week. This is honestly a goal that I’m probably just going to repeat every month for the whole of 2020 – keeping a regular schedule is sincerely difficult for me, and I want to improve on that while still keeping all the fun of blogging ! I’ve read a lot of books I haven’t reviewed yet, and I want to try writing one or two discussion posts, so we’ll see how that goes.

Personal goals

Keeping up with university work

I’ve signed up for two summer classes at my university for this summer ! It’s the intensive summer schedule – instead of 3 hours of class a week, it’s 6 hours per class, which means two full days of class every week – which will split my summer weeks into 5 days of work (if all goes well at my new job) and 2 days of class. Hopefully I can stay on top of all of this, get good grades, and not overwork myself too much !

Playing video games

My boyfriend got me a copy of Harvest Moon : A new beginning this week, and I’ve been playing it every evening since then on my 2DSxl – and enjoying it a lot ! Playing video games helps me relax in stressful times, and Harvest Moon is such a sweet and wholesome game that I really want to make time for myself and play it while curled up on my bed in my comfy heating blanket !

Watching TV shows

I’ve been slowly making my way through the latest seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles, and I’m now halfway through season 9. Watching this show is such a fun time for me, I’d love to be able to take some time to watch one or two episodes per week on the days I don’t have too much work to do !

Writing something

I feel like it might be a silly thing to post about, but I really want to try my hand at writing fanfiction in English – I’m just having a hard time taking that first step and actually daring to write the stories I’d love to share. I’ve been feeling like no matter how much I try, what I’ll end up writing will never be as good as what a native English speaker would be able to write, and so I shouldn’t even try – and even if I know that’s not a very rational thought, it’s been preventing me from doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years now.

If you’ve got any advice on how to get past imposter syndrome when English isn’t your first language, please feel free to share it with me !

Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

The TBR part

I’ve got a pretty ambitious TBR (for me !) this month, mostly because I might have bitten off more than I could chew while putting books on hold at my local library and requesting ARCs. Since I’m not planning on backing down from that challenge, I’ve got a total of 10 books I absolutely want to read this month : 5 from the library, 3 overdue ARCs, and 2 books I have in my bookshelf that I really should have read a long time ago.

Library books

Men explain things to me, by Rebecca Solnit

I had this one in my last library eBook haul, and managed to get halfway through it… and then my library hold expired and I had to request it again because I forgot to renew it. So this month, when my hold comes in again, I’m finishing this book !

Crown of feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto

This one is a case of “judging a book by its cover” – and by that, I mean that I saw it on my library’s website, the cover looked amazing, so I placed a hold on it and it came through this week ! I’m pretty excited to see if the contents are as good as the cover promises they are !

Furyborn, by Claire Legrand

Ooooh this one also has an amazing cover ! I actually saw this book at my local bookstore a while ago, and didn’t have the cash to buy it at that time even though it really made me want to read it – so when I saw that it was available on the library’s website, I didn’t hesitate one second !

The 30-day money cleanse, by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

My love of personal finance books strikes again. I have no excuse for this one. I just love reading personal finance books and comparing different authors’s advice. Sue me.

Better than before, by Gretchen Rubin

This is also a book I had in my library eBook haul ! I didn’t have the time to read it these past few weeks, but I’m hoping I’ll get to it sooner than later this month.

Late ARCs

Buy yourself the f*cking lilies, by Tara Schuster

I’m a little more than halfway though this one, and so far it’s… meh. I usually love self-help books, but this feels like more of a memoir than self-improvement advice, and as far as memoirs go, it’s not the most relatable one. But I’ll keep my judgement until I’ve completely finished reading it.

Followers, by Megan Angelo

I’m super super late in reading and reviewing this book ! I got it through NetGalley, and it was published in January this year… I’m putting this one on the high priority list and hoping I can be done with it and review it before the middle of the month.

Surrender your sons, by Adam Sass

Finally, an ARC I’m not late for ! This one will be published in September 2020, so I’ve still got quite a bit of time to read and review it – still, it looks really good so I’m adding it to this month’s list just in case I’ve got some spare time lying around at the end of May to read it.

On my bookshelf

The rise and fall of the dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte

In December (or was it November ?) 2019, I borrowed this book from the library, and got through around half of it before my hold expired and I had to give it back for the next person to read it. Since then, it’s been bothering me so much that I finally caved and made an exception to my one book a month book-buying ban, and ordered it on the online store of my local bookstore ! From what I read so far, it’s an absolutely excellent book about dinosaurs, and honestly, that’s all you need to know to borrow it / buy it for yourself / buy it for your sister with a never-ending love for dinosaurs.

Caliban’s war, by James S. A. Corey

My parents actually gifted this one to me for Christmas, and I started reading it in January, but stopped a hundred pages in ( why ? I don’t know ! My reading habits defy logic) even though it was a perfectly enjoyable read. I’d love to get back to it this month !

Did you set any reading or blogging goals this month ? Feel free to link your posts in the comments so I can check them out !

Me and my boyfriend will be moving out of our basement apartment into a much nicer one downtown on May 1st, and a lot of changes are on the way during the next week, so I might have some trouble keeping up with those objectives, but I’ll do my best !

Stay tuned for June’s TBR, where we’ll see if my unrealistic reading goals were somehow miraculously met this month !

Stay at home book tag !

I saw this tag on Louise @ Foxes and fairy tales‘s blog, and thought the questions and book recommendations were really cute ! It was created as a booktube tag by Madison Mary on her channel Princess of paperback – you can check out her super fun video about it !

Laying in bed : what is a book you could / have read in one day ?

Out of all my recent reads, I think the one I read the fastest was The loneliest girl in the universe. It’s a short YA sci-fi novel of less than 300 pages, which is why it took me so little time to finish – you can see my review of it in this book review post !

Snacking : what is a guilty pleasure book ?

Definitely the Harry Potter series. I don’t appreciate the author that much, and stay away from her social media accounts (honestly, every time I see her name trending it’s because she tweeted / said / wrote something bad again, so, no thank you) but these books bring me so much joy and comfort that I don’t think I could stop liking them even if I tried.

Netflix : what is a series you want to start ?

The kingkiller chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss !

I think I remember reading part of the first book, back in high school, but it was the french version and I have little to no memory of it at all. There’s – so far – 5 books in this series, including 2 short stories and a companion novel to the main series.

I’m just a bit wary of starting unfinished series, so I haven’t gotten around actually reading it again – but I definitely should !

Deep clean : a book that has been on your TBR for ages ?

Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. I first heard about this book when it came out in 2017, added it to my TBR, and then…. never touched it again. I 100% should borrow it from my local library, but I’m a bit intimidated by the 500 or so pages it says it has on Goodreads…

Animal Crossing : a book you bought recently because of hype ?

This question is a bit tricky because I don’t usually buy books, but the latest book I did buy was a preorder of Aurora Burning, the sequel to Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ! I really enjoyed the first book (then gave it to my boyfriend, who also enjoyed it) so when I saw that the sequel was available for preorders, I didn’t hesitate one second !

Productivity : a book you learnt from / that had an impact on you ?

Digital minimalism, by Cal Newport. I got this as an eBook loan fro the library, and did not regret it one bit : I learned a lot about social media, technology and the hold it has on our lives, and it really helped me put into question my own habits and my behaviors regarding my phone, my email, and my constant use of technology every day.

FaceTime : a book you were gifted ?

The Guinevere deception, by Kiersten White ! I keep meaning to write a review of this book because I really enjoyed it, so hopefully that review will be up by the end of may – I’m really excited for the sequel (and the cover is gorgeous !)

Self care : what is something you do to look after yourself ?

Lately, I’ve been going running in the park behind my apartment building : it’s a small, quiet place, and running 4 times around the park is exactly one mile, which really helps when I’m trying to set a time goal or a distance goal. I only go there late in the evening, though, when it,s almost dark outside, so I can make sure there’s no one else there and no risk of getting sick or bringing the virus home.

Doing some sort of intense physical activity really helps me feel better in my body and lifts my spirits on the bad days – and lately, there have been quite a few more of those than before, due to stress and accumulating anxiety.

Bonus question : what is an upcoming release you are excited for ?

Unravel the dusk by Elizabeth Lim ! I’m so excited about this… I preordered the first book when it came out last year, and it was amazing, so I did the same with this one as soon as I could !

If you’re from the US, there’s also a preorder incentive available on the author’s website – you just have to upload your proof of purchase and your mailing information !

That’s it for me ! If you like this tag, please consider yourself tagged and feel free to link your post in the comments so I can go check it out !

My stay-at-home time is coming to an end – my last final is coming up today, and I’m going to work tomorrow, which means I’ll probably only be spending two to three days a week at home. I hope you’re staying safe and indoors as much as possible – and for all the university students out there : good luck for your finals !

Inside and out book tag

I’ve had a very productive day today : I applied to 5 job postings, had a business phone call for 20+ minutes and faced my mother for a full hour before running away and hiding in a Starbucks with my laptop and 2 grande coffee frappuchinos.

Which means : I’m feeling extra lazy tonight, haven’t done any grocery shopping, and am distracting myself with a book tag instead of writing my planned post for today. So here goes the Inside and out book tag !

I first saw it on Morgana’s blog (which is awesome, by the way).

1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

I love reading what’s inside the flaps and on the back of the book before I buy/borrow something. If there isn’t enough information, I’ll probably open the Goodreads app and check the book info on it before deciding what to do – those summaries save me a lot of time and effort.

If it’s clearly something I do or don’t like, I’ll be able to make my decision way faster than if the back of the book is just a collection of compliments about it form various authors or newspapers – as good as a recommendation from the New York Times is, it doesn’t really tell me if the book I’m holding is right for me or not.

2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

Short answer : I love hardcovers.

Long (and honest) answer : I come from France, where the publishing industry just doesn’t do hardcovers – the very first hardcover I ever got was the cursed child screenplay book, because those shipped from the UK as soon as they were published and the french publishers didn’t wait until we had a paperback french version before selling the English hardcovers in the whole country. I’m pretty sure at least 50% of the fun I had reading it came from the novelty of having a hardcover book in my hands.

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

I used to hate the very idea of writing in books, but now… not so much. I had a french teacher in high school that told the class to write as much as we wanted in our copies of the books we had to read for her class, and I remember feeling horrified at the moment, but I kind of see what she was trying to do now.

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I’ve taken to annotating them with sticky tabs I can then write on if I’m not 100% sure to keep the book forever, and just plainly writing on them if I’m planning to keep the book and just buy another copy if I want to lend it to someone else.

I try to write somewhat neatly, though, if only because I want to be able to re-read my annotations later and still be able to understand what I was thinking when I read that book.

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I have no idea why, it’s totally not a conscious decision, but most of the books I read in the past few years were written by women. Maybe it’s because reading something written by  woman gives me hope that someday I might be able to do the same ? I don’t know.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Never ! Although I do really appreciate trigger warnings in reviews and sometimes look for a review from a trusted blogger before I start reading.

6. Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

I used to have very organized bookshelves when I was in France and had all the space I wanted to put my books in a nice way. Right now, most of my books are in cardboard boxes in a storage unit, and I just have one shelf with the few I’ve been able to buy and keep with me during the past three years.

7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Totally ! And I also borrow a lot of books based on the cover alone.

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Depending on the weather ! I live in Canada now, so I take my books outside during the summer, and keep them inside during the winter – no need for any snowflakes to fall and melt on the pages !

I don’t usually tag people, but if you haven’t done this tag yet and are looking for an excuse to do so : consider yourself tagged ! And don’t hesitate to tag me so I can go see your posts and check out your blog !

My reading habits

I’m always pretty curious of how other people read, and where/when they do so : do they read in their bed ? In the bus when they go to work in the morning ? I know my father’s been keeping a book in the pocket of his coat for some time now, just in case he gets stuck waiting in line for something, or has some free time and no additional work to do – but how do others read, and how does it compare to how I read ?

When I thought about making this post, my first idea was that I don’t read that much in my day, and to be honest, that thought didn’t make me feel good about myself. But I spent some more time thinking about it, and realized that wasn’t actually true. So here’s a short post about my own reading habits !

WHAT I read

First things first : in examining my daily habits, I actually realized that I read a lot of stuff throughout the day. Most of it, though, falls under one of four categories :

  • Books

I wish those made up most of my daily pages read, but they sadly don’t : books are expensive, and since I moved to a new city at the beginning of the semester, I haven’t found the time to make myself a new library account, so I can’t borrow any books for free yet. (It’s written as a task in my bullet journal, but I haven’t been able to do it yet – I’m hoping to find some time for that this week though !)

  • Fanfiction

Maybe one third of my daily pages read. It’s easy to read, I can access it on my phone whenever I want, and it doesn’t take as much effort as a brand new book since I already know the characters and the world they evolve in. I usually select fanfictions only over 15k words, so I’m sure to have enough to read for the whole ride home after my last class of the day.

  • Blog posts

I love blog posts. I usually open a bunch of those on my laptop whenever I open WordPress, and bookmark tweets and posts that sound interesting in order to come back to it later during the day.

  • Class reading material

I have so much class reading material in a week, it’s terrible. I’m currently taking 5 psychology classes, and each of those gives me at least two documents every week, of between 10 and 20 pages each – that’s at least 100 pages of academic reading material every week ! And that doesn’t include chapters from the class book, and optional readings (which I sometimes try to do, when by some miracle I get to have some extra time to do so).

I had some extra time on my hands while writing this, so I made a pie chart to illustrate this post :

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This is way too simple for me to be this proud of it, but I like it, so. Here it is.

WHERE I read

With physical books, it’s usually at home, in my bed before going to sleep or in a comfy chair when I’m taking a day off and having some time for myself. I read eBooks and fanfictions on the move (since I live in a big city now, I usually spend at least an hour a day in commute, sometimes up to two and a half hours) and blogs on my laptop after dinner or in the afternoon when I have some time to relax between classes.

HOW I read

I actually own an e-reader, but I haven’t used it in a couple f years – I bought it in France in 2012, so it’s a bit old and probably needs a ton of updates before I can get it to work well again, but I haven’t had the heart to get rid of it. I mostly read eBooks on my phone now, as well as fanfiction.

I mainly use my laptop for blog articles, but I prefer to print my class reading material before reading and annotating it : it’s so difficult to annotate a PDF on my laptop, it’s not worth the effort. And, of course, I love having access to actual physical copies of books, especially hardcovers !

What about you – how do you read, and when ? Do you have any unexpected reading habits ? Feel free to comment about it !