Two Books Perfect for Reading Simultaneously

Do you ever read books simultaneously? I do. I’ve gotten up to five books at a time. I read each according to how much time I have and what mood I am in. Often one of the books in my lineup would be a collection of short stories or a book of poetry. That book, I save for when I have a limited amount of time. That way, I can read through one story or poem in one sitting. I save the books with hard to read content for weekend mornings when my brain is well rested and can better absorb what I’m reading. The easy to read novels, I save for just before bedtime to relax me and get me ready for sleep.

Right now, I am reading two books at the same time but I feel like I am reading one. I am reading one to review and the other for pleasure. Confused? I’m close to getting confused myself.

Their story lines are not quite similar, but can I say complimentary? It’s almost as if one book is answering the other and vice versa.

I am reading for pleasure Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love in anticipation of watching the movie of the same title starring Julia Roberts. I’ve also had several friends rave about this book so I had been looking forward to reading it.

To review, I was sent an advance copy of The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn. I’m only a few chapters in and I’m already hooked and at the same time highly amused that as soon as I started reading the book I started connecting it with Eat, Pray, Love. You see, Eddie’s girlfriend just left him to go to Tibet. In Eat, Pray, Love she goes off to Italy, India and Indonesia in essence to find herself after a divorce from her husband and a breakup with her boyfriend.

I like the way the Handbook is written already. Even the style reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love although the tone is of course vastly different.

For instance, in The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook, while commiserating with his best friend Dan at a pub, the following funny exchange ensues:

“Funny creatures women. Do you think Mrs. Einstein was impressed with all that stuff about Albert’s relatives?

Relativity, Dan

Exactly. Nope, she was more concerned whether he remembered her birthday, or forgot to put the toilet seat down.”

During Dan and Eddie’s conversation about the breakup, they come to the conclusion that maybe the girlfriend wants to be won back. That maybe if he makes some changes he can somehow convince her to come back to him.

While in Eat, Pray, Love during one of the many introspective moments (and in this instance also a moment of weakness), where she had just emailed her ex-boyfriend saying that they should end things now and should he find someone else, she would be happy for him. Even though the email she sent is full of bravado about moving on, she writes:

“I’m trying to ignore the part of me that is dying to find that he has replied: ‘COME BACK! DON’T GO! I’LL CHANGE!’ I’m trying to disregard the girl in me who would happily drop this whole grand idea of traveling around the world in simple exchange for the keys to David’s apartment.”

I almost feel like the two books are answering each other and I find it really intriguing. Sort of like a ‘He said/She said’ situation. I can’t wait to finish both books and I can’t help but swing from one to the other then feel a rather strange satisfaction when they end up responding to each other.

Watch for my book reviews when I finally finish them.

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