More Than a Review is delighted to partner with Rhonda Franz for a quest post.  Rhonda and I met several years ago in a women’s bible study.   I think you will find her post entertaining and relatable.

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Bookmarks by Rhonda Franz

As of this moment, I have a bookmark in (or forgive me, the corners turned down on) no less than 11 books. I can’t be the only reader doing this.

Going through one book at a time sounds organized and efficient and so…orderly. I just don’t know how to make it happen.

As any mom will likely tell you, managing multiple things is how we survive, albeit imperfectly. Dishes need washing, articles need writing, and my carpets haven’t been vacuumed in weeks. Even so, the kids are fed and, except for a three-week-long battle with pneumonia and two cases of the stomach flu, our family is relatively healthy.

If I’m to read at all, it’s going to be diversified among whatever books I can reach in any given moment.

Sometimes, I enjoy a story that isn’t particularly easy. Like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, a 771-page novel, which for some ridiculous reason was supposed to be my read-this-while-we’re-on-vacation-at-the-beach book. It certainly takes me several notches above the pre-reading books my four-year-old works on and the sight word lists sent home with the older boys. But not even the formidable Ms. Tartt competes on the same level as an ocean view three children encrusted with sand. I think I’m on page 145 or thereabouts; it appears someone yanked out the bookmark.

I usually have a bookmark in a few quick, fun reads, too. These are perfect when I need to feel like I’m actually making progress on something. John Grisham’s law thrillers are great for this. And right now a bookmark holds my place on page 137 as I coast my way through The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

I must have moved around the house with Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend because I can’t find it. The author, Matthew Dicks, writes impressively from the perspective of a child—an imaginary one. Of course, I have no shortage of kid-perspectives, but it’s often in the form of cackling, complaint, or a lengthy description of how a ladybug peed on someone’s shoe.

The collected poems and sonnets of William Wordsworth, Shakespeare, and Robert Frost rest—one upon the other—on my coffee table. For one thing, those books are pretty.  They do serve a purpose, though. On days when one child has performed a meltdown and the other wipes out on his bike, reading through Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 calms the spirit. Same goes for “Surprised by Joy” by Wordsworth. Just picking up the book slows my heart rate, and since I read these out loud in my special cadence, my children get exposed the classics via osmosis.

I also hold bookmarks in treasures I’ll be rereading throughout my life. The Bible has multiple bookmarks and underlined passages because I can’t do life well without Jesus. I’m also rereading The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock (page 461), a 1990 novel that has not received its due attention, but is one of the finest works of literature I have ever read.

Serious parenting books, always in the reading queue, hold worn out bookmarks, and a few tears. (Thank you, Cynthia Tobias, Laura Markham, et al.) I certainly don’t live without the laugh-out-loud parenting books like The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan and This is Ridiculous, This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists by Jason Good. Fiction offers a great escape from the daily grind but the most de-stressing tool for me is laughter about real life.

I’m not even sure that adds up to 11 books. I’ve lost count, of course. That’s the point. My reading material is forever on standby, always in progress. When so many other pursuits take priority, multiple bookmarks reign supreme. An orderly life is highly overrated, anyway.

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Rhonda Franz is freelance writer and educator raising three lively boys in the woods of Northwest Arkansas with her husband. She works with The Women Bloggers/Arkansas Women Bloggers, writes for several sites, and contributes to small parenting magazines around the country. Her work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and on the NBC News Today Show Parent blog. She writes at on the adventures of being a pilot wife and home operations specialist. Yesterday, she started another book.