I used to read only one book at a time. Not anymore. I usually have one book that I try to read at all times, presently Shelby Foote's Civil War, but I always have others around the house, within reach. Tobias Wolff's Old School, A.B. Guthrie, Jr.'s The Big Sky and Lily Tuck's The News From Paraguay on my desk, next to my laptop, where the shadow from my desk lamp covers a quarter of the books, while casting a larger shadow over the Marc Chagall postcard that I'm no longer using as a bookmark.
On my bedside table, I have Philip Roth's The Plot Against America dominating my tiny black alarm clock, but fighting for space with the steel reading lamp. On the bottom shelf the night stand is Thoreau's Walden and Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, which I've discarded for the time being. On the opposite side of my bed, on my unfinished wood crate filled with my vinyl, are the other two volumes of Foote's Civil War and Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I'm hesitant to read because I disliked Everything is Illuminated so much. (Even though I wanted to like it so much. But I loved his wife, Nicole Krauss's, novel The History of Love. Possibly one of the best books I read last year.)
I've never read anything by Roth before, so I'll probably start Plot soon enough, but I don't really know which book I'm going to begin next. I just like to keep my options open.