Book Juggling


Rachel Seigel

One of the great challenges of my job as a book selector/buyer is trying to keep up with the sheer volume of titles being released each season, and the book juggling that seems to occur at various points in the year. You would think, being responsible for choosing the kids books would leave my choices of reading material completely open, but more often than not, I find myself reading for purpose and not purely for pleasure.

Right now is one of those times where I’m juggling several different books, all for different purposes. I’ve got three book reviews due next week, and one of the books  is a title I’ll be reviewing. Next is a book I’m reading from a publisher belonging to friends of mine who have asked me to review their books on my blog. I’m also sitting on a jury for a Historical Fiction prize (Canadian Children’s Books) and I have a box of about 25 books to get through between now and April when we hold our discussion and choose a winner.  Lastly, I have a book that I’m absolutely dying to read, and that while work related, is kind of my guilty pleasure. This can be anything from the next book in a series I enjoy, the latest release by favourite author, or that hot new release that absolutely everyone is talking about.

How do I manage to juggle all of these books? Firstly I commute to work, which allows me just over 2 hours a day on public transit to read. I’m fortunate that I don’t have difficulty reading on a bus/subway, and it’s quiet, uninterrupted time.  Secondly, I have a Kindle, and I take it with me to the gym to pass the time while I ride the stationary bike.  My plan was to use my Kindle exclusively for non-work related reading, but I have already broken that rule a few times.  Finally, I have a book beside my bed, and whenever I find myself alone or with some quiet time where my boyfriend is otherwise occupied, I read. Ironically, work is the one place where I seldom have the opportunity to read, so I have to be particularly diligent about making the time to read.

Sadly I’ve realized  that no matter how many books I read, I’ll never get to read every book that I’d like to, and sometimes it feels like I’ve scarcely made a dent in one season before I’m bombarded with catalogues and boxes of ARCS for the next season and so forth.

So here’s my question to all of you:  How many of you find yourselves “juggling” books, and more importantly, how do you keep them all in the air?

Rachel got her first official job in a bookstore twelve years ago in the children’s section of Indigo (a Canadian bookstore chain) and has never looked back. For the last six and a half years she has been the children’s and young adult book selector at a Canadian National Book wholesaler, and loves having the excuse to keep reading children’s books! You can find Rachel reviewing books on her blog, Reading Timbitsor hanging around Twitter @rachelnseigel.


19 Responses to Book Juggling

  1. Julie Feb 15 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Great post, Rachel! Reading during the commute has always helped me keep up with my growing TBR list. 🙂

  2. Zara Alexis Feb 15 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Hi Rachel,
    I follow you on Twitter and so it’s great to see you posting here for Publishing Crawl. Congratulations! I’m a bibliotaphe (which is part of the name of my blog) so, yes, I completely understand where you’re coming from. My husband, too, is a purchaser of books for his company. Yikes!

    In answer to your question, sometimes I’ll read two or three books at a time, pieces at a time. Most times, I’ll give up and just try my best to read only one book, but with diligent focus (and hopefully some speed!). I pretty much read when the kids are asleep and end up staying up really late.

    But, as a lover of writing, reading, and all things books, the juggling is well worth it, even if I sometimes drop the book(s).

    Happy reading!
    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 15 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Hi Zara.

      Thank you for the follow, and for your comments!

      I agree completely- the juggling can be a challenge, but it’s totally worth it!


  3. Jenn H Feb 15 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi Rachel,

    Like you, I read at cross-purposes, and I find that the juggling never gets better. Between reading for awards and reading for work, reading for pleasure often has to take a back seat. I also find that it affects my blogging; I’m so busy trying to figure out how I feel about books for work purposes that my own observations and thoughts seem to fall by the wayside.

    Still, nothing beats that thrill when you read an amazing book – for any reason – and you can’t wait to share it with other readers!
    Thanks for your post 🙂


    • Rachel Seigel Feb 15 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Hi Jenn.

      I concur! When you read for “purpose” so to speak, and the books aren’t necessarily of your own choosing, discovering a really amazing book that you can’t wait to share is the best part of all! 🙂

  4. Erin Bowman Feb 15 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Great post, Rachel. I don’t know HOW you get through so many books! I tend to read one at time, but if I’m struggling with one, or a bit bored, I’ll pick up a second and then jump between the two as I see fit. I like to “re-read” books by picking up the audio versions and listening during my commute. I’m going through the Harry Potter series again right now — currently on book 4 — and it is such a fun way to pass time 🙂

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 15 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Oh boy! If I started listening to audio books in addition to the reading I already do, I think I’d go nuts. I’ve often thought about them for the gym but something about being forced to look at words on a page/screen seems to work better for holding my attention. 🙂

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Feb 16 2012 at 11:54 am #

      I’ve actually been thinking about listening to audiobooks, since I drive a lot for work and spend hours and hours in my car – especially when I’m driving around to visit my independent bookstores!

      • Rachel Seigel Feb 16 2012 at 10:15 pm #

        I’ll be curious how you find that. I listen to radio/have tv on in the background when I work, but I tend to either tune it out completely or get completely absorbed in what I’m hearing/seeing and lose track of what I’m doing! But then I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time! 😉

  5. Ellen Feb 15 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I’m a constant book juggler, but that’s because there are usually two books I’m reading–the one I’m dying to read, and the one that’s due next at the library. 🙂 Can’t help biting off more than I can chew.

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 15 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      I think our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs so to speak when it comes to books! I know I’ll never get through everything that goes into the TBR pile, but it doesn’t stop me from trying! 😉

  6. Sooz Feb 15 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    25 books?! Wow. Just…wow! I’m impressed how many books you can burn through–I suppose you’re a fast reader. I have so many books I want to read, and then so many books I *feel* I should read to keep up with the industry. And then there’s all the critique reading I do for my writer friends, and honestly: I feel like I’m drowning sometimes!! I’m really amazed at how well you stay on top of it–I’ll take a few tips from your book. 😀

    Great post!!

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 16 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Thanks Sooz.

      The funny thing about books is no matter how many you read, there are always more! I do my best to stay on top of things, but there are always some things that slip through the cracks- I never do get to a lot of book 2’s!

  7. Caitlin Vanasse Feb 15 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I definitely know what you mean. I find that switching formats really helps me so I’ll usually be reading 1-2 physical books, an audio book, and a book on my kindle all at he same time. This works super well for me, especially like now when my audio book is non fiction, the physical books are YA and a classic, and on my kindle I’m trying to devour everything all at once (I recently re-acquired my kindle after leaving it on an airplane.) This helps me keep story-lines etc. distinct between books.

  8. Jesse Owen Feb 16 2012 at 3:29 am #

    Fab post Rachel, I don’t know how you manage reasding all of the books you have to read – the only way I’ve managed to read the (significantly smaller number) is to read two at a time. I’ve been so surprised that I haven’t been getting the storylines mixed up!

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 16 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      I do get stories confused sometimes when I’ve got multiple books on the go, and sometimes find myself thinking about one while reading the other. 🙂 Seriously though, I learned to juggle when I had 3 different books with essays due in school- profs don’t accept the excuse that you had another book to read! 🙂

  9. Vanessa Di Gregorio Feb 16 2012 at 11:53 am #

    And to think, Rach – when I see you next week, I’ll be bombarding you with even MORE ARCs! (Sorry sorry!)

    I tend to read one book at a time, but if I’m struggling to get into a book or get a book I’ve been DYING to read, I’ll sometimes read two at a time. Graphic novels I tend to read while I’m also reading novels, so I juggle a bit there. But I certainly DO have books that I’ve had for YEARS that I still haven’t been able to get to yet.

    • Rachel Seigel Feb 16 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      I’m sure there are tons I’m going to be dying to read, so bring them on! 😉

      Like you though, I have held onto some books for years in the hopes that one day I’ll have time to read them!

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