The Five-Books-At-Once Challenge

There’s one thing I hate to admit: I’m a slow reader. In fact, so slow that in the past 22 years of my life I’ve read close to a meager 150 books (minus the Goosebumps and other similar fantasy novellas I read in childhood). It’s a shame, I know. Pitiful. Despicable. Cringe-worthy. I should be ashamed to call myself a “book-worm”. But it’s all because I have a few behavioral problems. I need particular “settings” around me that should be in place before I start reading. Everything from the lighting of the room, the snack I’m going to have while reading (be it a cup of tea or a bag of chips), to the position at which I’m going to read in; everything is calculated beforehand. Yes, when I’m out of home, I bend the rules a bit, and just go with the flow. But inside my home, everything has to be just perfect.

Relaxing Read

And then there’s the matter of speed. I read S.L.O.W.L.Y. I savor the words and then I like to play them out in my head and direct that entire scene to my taste. What accent, tone of voice and pitch the character is speaking in, what gestures they must be making, at what “camera angle” that scene is being shot in, how the cuts are being made from one scene to the next. I’m the director, I’m the cinematographer, I’m the film editor, I’m the actor, I’m everything except the writer. That’s why until I complete that shot (till perfection) in my mind, then and only then do I progress to the next page. Yeah I know I’m not a Special Snowflake. A lot of you can relate to this methodology. You too must admit that it gets frustrating sometimes, but it carries its own reward which the reader himself/herself can appreciate.

Thinking while Reading

But I’ve realized I’m not reading half as much as I should be, so I think it’s time I challenge myself. Expand my horizons! Therefore, for my love of putting myself through discomfort, I’ve decided to do the Five-Books-At-Once Challenge. This will not only allow me to have a go at tackling multiple books at once, but will also widen my literary experience in a taxing yet fun way.

Speed Reading

The books I’ve selected for this task span across a variety of genres, each entertaining in its own way. Those Five Books are:

  1. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (contemporary, adult, romance)
  2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (mystery, thriller, crime)
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (autobiography, memoir, historical)
  4. Infinite Jest by David F. Wallace (contemporary, literature, humor, philosophy)
  5. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (nonfiction, humor, romance, sociology)

Now many of you who have read Infinite Jest or Anne Frank’s Diary must be thinking, “This is a disgrace! This is no way these classics should be read!!” I know that, and I also know I won’t waste my experience with speed-reading. I’ll try my best to never compromise on my understanding of these masterpieces and do them justice. But I need to push my limits. Some of my friends have also said to me, “Reading multiple books at once never works, you idiot. You always end up finishing none of them.” This is exactly the reason I’m naming this a CHALLENGE. And when I commit to a challenge I don’t back off until I give it my all. I’m planning on finishing all of these and my stubbornness will help me along the way.

The method I’m going to apply is that I’ll set different time slots of one day to two different books and I’ll dedicate one whole day to Infinite Jest, because I can’t mix up that book with any other in the same day. IJ takes up too much mental capacity, and to be honest, I’m always emotionally drained (and confused) after finishing every single chapter.

So now that I have a job (oh yeah just recently got my first real job.. I’ll tell the details in a future post), all the energy of my free time will be dedicated to just reading. The timeline I’ve decided for this challenge is 2 months, but I know due to the 9 to 6 job it’s gonna be a pain in the bottom, but still, I’ll do my best to complete these as soon as possible. It’s time I do something to justify myself as an “avid reader”.

If anyone else is up for this challenge please do let me know. I’ll have a reading buddy whose willing to go through the same torturous/pleasing journey I’m about to embark in 😀

Trust me, a lot of people do this without losing their minds.

Anywho, wish me luck *_*

Best of Luck


10 thoughts on “The Five-Books-At-Once Challenge

  1. iqby91 April 13, 2016 / 7:08 PM

    Great choice in books! I wish I could partake in this challenge but im too much of a slacker :S Sending my best wishes your way 😉
    BTW congrats on the job!! Give details!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. rajivbakshi April 13, 2016 / 8:05 PM

    Wish you All the Best in your # Journey to read 5 Books . 6 th Book I am suggesting is a Book written by me : Journey from Guwahati to Machhiwara available from for 9.99 $ . Book is already IN in 12 countries & also IN in 75 libraries . Ps : Your list contains all famous Authors : Try an Indie Author @ 64 too . Happy Reading your 5 Books .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alisha April 13, 2016 / 9:28 PM

    Hey there Couch Potahto! I ought to take a similar challenge cause there’s this novel of James Michener I’m reading since ages! It’s about bullfighting and like you, I try to imagine the characters. I’m really thrilled with this one. You can imagine yourself in the bullring or shouting ‘Ole!’ with the crowd!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 10000hoursleft April 14, 2016 / 5:34 AM

    I am a slow reader too and have left many books un-read. I figure life is too short to finish a book I don’t really really want to read. Speaking of setting having to be perfect- do you read print or e-books? I had never read an e-book until one I am currently reading (another blogger’s published novel) and I have to say- it doesn’t work for me (the format, not the story). I find it really distracting. It might be because I am reading a pdf version, but still- I just can’t get lost in it as easily as with a print book and I am 100% certain it isn’t the actual story that is the issue. I like your approach as a cinematographer reading- maybe just wait for the books to come out on film? haha.

    Good luck! Also, congratulations on the job, and nothing at all wrong with being a special snowflake 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. archana235 April 14, 2016 / 9:56 PM

    Hahahah I can relate so well to this. That feeling of wanting everything to perfectly fall into place in your mind, the pan of view, speckles of dust, analysis of every thought and every blink- IT’S ALL IMPORTANT. I read in snail speed but enjoy the slow cruise. Although, I am kinda (try super) envious of people who manage to read in jet speed. 😛 mainly because I have SO MANY BOOKS I want to read. And it takes forever to leave the comfy position I’ve taken on my bed as well as inside the universe of the story, so I’m just like I’m going to savour this book util the rest of my life gahh.
    You PERFECTLY summed it up in words though haha. This post is me. 😀
    Good luck on the challenge 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dgkaye April 16, 2016 / 9:05 AM

    I love that you’ll be challenging yourself. And I love the way you choose to enjoy reading with appropriate settings and snacks. I also love your choice in books and look forward to your after thoughts.
    Everyone has their own pace, and now you will test yourself.
    I am always reading two books at the same time; usually one nonfiction – serious reading, and one more light read for pleasure. That way when I read every night, I go by my mood what I prefer that night. It’s nice to have choices to accommodate moods. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. C.S. Wilde April 18, 2016 / 8:52 PM

    Five books at once? Respect Potahto. How about adding a sixth one to the pile?
    Cause mah baby is out!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TK April 28, 2016 / 3:48 PM

    Great books! Apart for number 3 which I read years ago, all of those are on my reading list. And i’m currently halfway through Aziz’s book (which I’m very much enjoying) so if you want to discuss, I’d be happy to!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mahnoor May 2, 2016 / 2:00 AM

    Anne Frank is one of those books that changed me as a person.
    Also I’d like to partake in this challenge. I feel like the universe wants me to go back to being my proud bookworm self :p


  10. The Lunatic In My Head May 4, 2016 / 6:44 PM

    Hahaha… Great challenge to embark upon! Here’s wishing you luck, though I’ll never be as cool as that girl in the GIF wishing you luck! 😛 Good luck, buddy.


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