Generally speaking, I am a one-at-a-time kind of reader (hence why I can have a neat list of What I'm Currently Reading on this blog, and tick the books off one by one). But at the moment, I am making an exception, and reading two books at the same time!
This began as a coping strategy, because I was frankly intimidated. The Luminaries is a very fat book -- over 700 pages. Far From the Madding Crowd is an old-fashioned book, with elaborate phrasing, philosophical digressions and some unnecessary (to my modern eye) detail. Neither of them presented as easy reads. Interestingly, though they were written over a hundred years apart, both novels are set in the nineteenth century, and Eleanor Catton has reproduced the rich, expansive, leisurely writing of that era in her 2013 Man Booker prize-winner. I'm exercising some reading muscles that I don't often use, to be honest. But I needed to ease into it -- so I decided to break these two chunky books into more manageable bite-sized pieces. Ten pages of one, a chapter of the other, back and forth.
The Luminaries has been sitting next to my bed (at the bottom of the pile, natch!) for over a year. I acquired Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd on the Kindle after enjoying the new movie recently -- it was free (I felt slightly guilty, but not much). So far, my side-by-side experiment is going pretty well. I have worked up good momentum on The Luminaries, and I'm nearly halfway through, though I've fallen behind a little on FFTMC (because my Kindle was in the cold half of the house and I couldn't be bothered going to fetch it…)
Which one will I finish first? I'll keep you posted.
*Thanks for Evie for help with formatting this post.