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Day Books vs. Night Books

January 5, 2010

So I am making progress with “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” however, not as quickly as I had with my first two. I think that something is preventing me from really getting into it–it might be the complete lack of dialogue or that the characters are always merely described from a third-person point of view…Something about them is so guarded by the author. And while I usually can flip through pages quickly without losing the story, I haven’t been able to do that with Kundera’s story.

So even with my lack of any real progress, I wanted to post something that I found interesting within the novel. It’s nothing of real consequence to the plot or the characters themselves, but something that a woman states at a dinner party one evening: ‘

“Really, there are books meant for daytime reading and books that be read only at night.”

I wonder if anyone really reads that way (or maybe I’m the only one who sits down in the early afternoon for a few chapters and wraps them up as I am falling asleep at night). Would you start a night book and not read during the day? Or just have two books being read concurrently–during their allotted time, of course–constantly? I don’t know if I could handle that. In addition to having overzealous reading goals and being an obsessive worker (my slowdown in books these past 2 days might be because I started back at my job a week early), I am a musician. Not a bonafide concerto performer or anything, but I have played piano since I was about 5 and even though there is no remote chance that I would ever use it in my career, I still enroll in music classes every semester at school.

I only mention this seemingly irrelevant fact because it demonstrates very well how my brain works. I play one piece at a time, no matter the difficulty of it. Whether its a study in fingering that takes a day to memorize or a 17-page masterpiece, I play one at a time. This might be a weakness of mine, but after the first few times playing it, I stop reading the music and stop thinking about it and let my fingers and hands play what they already know. When they know too many things, they can’t perform.

I think I’d be the same way with books. When I read a book, I try so hard to relate to the characters. I put myself in their position, attempt to anticipate their actions, feel what they feel in their relationships. If I were to read two books simultaneously, I think I might just have an empathy overload.

Maybe I’ll try it later on this year, re-reading a book I have already known while also reading a new, lighter novel. I’ll make one my day book and one my night book and report on whether this is actually something that anyone should do. Tonight, I’m going to put off sleep and continue to read. For now, its my night book.

Cheers, Christine.

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