It seems I am capable of being the kind of person who reads more than one book at a time (not including the couple books it's taking me years to get through and which I will not consider abandoned).
Even while I promised myself I'd make a concerted effort to move through The Magic Mountain this winter, it turns out that the book I consider myself to be reading (ie, the one I'd name if someone asked, so whatcha readin' these days?) is too cumbersome to carry on my commute as it doesn't slide nicely into either my purse or my lunch bag, and even though I carried it with me a couple times anyway in my hand, basically I've had enough of that shit, I don't like carrying stuff, I can't handle the extra baggage, it doesn't sit well in my psyche, so it's become my at-home book to read, usurping Thomas Mann at bedtime, and I've had to start reading yet another novel but this one chosen specifically for its virtue of travelling well (so it be one of several I've amassed lately in digital format).
So I read for a few minutes this morning, my at-home book, with my coffee while the child breakfasts and I await my turn to shower. I don't remember what I fell asleep to, but the caffeine jolts me into realizing oh my gawd he's dead and decapitated and he's watching his body be torn apart by wolves. And with this thought in my head I start my day — walk the kid to school, head down into the metro, and open my other book.
There's something very zen about my metro book — the long probable-ascent of the silent elevator, the blank office, the idyll of the animals outside the gate, the labyrinth of caves. Time to go to work.
I read again on my way home. "He spreads wide my right eye with his fingers and pushes the knife into my eyeball." Ew. "The knife sinks into my eyeball soft and silent, as if dipping into jelly." This time I say it out loud. Eww. On the metro. People look at me. It's my stop.
I don't know how people can stand the intensity of more than one book at a time, when you don't know what happens next and you can't balance your choices for mood, or attitude, it's too much of a good thing, or at least, too much of a thing, I don't think I can go on like this.