Most of my female friends read one or two books at a time; my male friends insist that they are always reading at least one, though I suspect this figure may be aspirational. But I am never reading fewer than 25 books. I am not talking about books I have delved into, perused and set aside, like Finnegans Wake or Pamela Anderson’s first novel — that would get me up way over a hundred. I am talking about books I am actively reading, books that are on my nightstand and are not leaving there until I am done with them. Right now, the number is 27.I'm not quite in Queenan's league. In a quick survey of my nightstand, I've deduced that I'm currently working through only five different books. I think my problem is that I tend to gravitate toward serious, edifying, and sad books. Then, at critical moments when these get on top of me, I pick up other books, generally lighter in tone, for temporary relief. You see where things can start to get backed up -- just call it literary constipation.
So, quick... off the top of your head, how many books are you reading right now?