Monday, April 17, 2006

The Voices Made Me Do It

As I've mentioned recently, I have bookmarkers planted firmly in five books at the moment. The main book in progress is The Virginian since I have a deadline of April 30th. It's slow going though and last night I grew weary of it. Any Slaves of Golconda who may be reading this should not worry though, I will finish it. I just needed a break.   So I turned to Cloud Atlas which I am reading for my occasional book group. We haven't set a meeting date yet and I am afraid the other members are lagging behind (ahem!). I am enjoying Cloud Atlas immensely and want to dedicate my full attention to it. But in order not to zip through it and because of the Virginian deadline, I am reading it in short spurts (usually on my lunch break at work).   Last night, and in spite of my enjoyment of reading multiple books at once, I had a moment. I decided that as soon as I finished the round of books I am in the middle of, I will make an effort to have only one fiction and one nonfiction book going at the same time. The voices in my head began screaming NNNNOOOOOO!!!! (you've got voices in your head too, don't you?) But I hushed them up and told them we are about to turn over a new leaf. Focus, focus, focus. That's what it's about. How else are we ever going to get to all those new acquisitions? They grumbled, but were soon quiet and I felt good.   Until this morning. I was packing up my bikebag and about to grab Cloud Atlas when a voice told me not to do that. Then another voice said that I read such a chunk of Cloud Atlas last night taking it with me today would be bad. I argued that I couldn't take The Virginian because then I'd have to haul all my notetaking things with me. Another voice urged me to take Beyond the Promised Land because it was a slim book. But I can't read nonfiction on my lunch break. Lunch breaks require fiction and I am not about to schlep Clarissa to work in my bikebag.   Then another voice, smooth as silk, suggested I take a new book. I protested. I made a resolution the night before, I can't start yet another book. Then all the voices began whispering and encouraging me to start a new book. The silky voice told me to take Margaret Atwood's The Tent. It's small, and short. It will only be for lunch breaks. The other voices agreed and one suggested that there is no reason why my resolution could not include a second book of fiction for lunch. I hesitated, maybe all the voices were right.   Since I hesitated, they knew they had me. It was only a small matter for them to get me to pick up a bookmarker and insert it at the first page of The Tent. And such an easy thing to slip the book into my bikebag.    What a lovely lunch I had sitting outside in the sunshine, reading Atwood. And the voices are still murmuring we told you so.