There are several people I know who have a rule about new books--they must finish the most recent book they purchased before buying new ones.
While I understand the benefits this may provide those on a tight budget, I've always thought this rule to be a little bit ridiculous. It seems to me that the optimal mode is to be reading at least 3+ books at any given time. My typical menu consists of one deep, complex theological/philosophical work, one book on practical spiritual matters (prayer, meditation, personal reflections etc), and one work of fiction. I may also include some non-fiction/historical works as well. (Although they tend to fit into the first category most of the time).
This way, depending on what mood I'm in, I've always got something on my plate to dive into. Being able to move from book to book also allows one to ingest powerful works without overdosing. For example, imagine being stuck trying to finish "Being as Communion" by John Zizioulas without something lighter in the mix!
But the main reason I don't care for this rule is that it restrains one from picking up bargains at the local sale racks at bookstores!
Here is a short list of some of my most recent acquisitions this past week. Between the local Powell's in downtown Portland, PSU's bookstore, and a church sale, I managed to pick up the following books for less than $40 *total*:
* "At the Corner of East and Now" by Frederica Mathewes-Green
* "Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness" by Jim Forest
* "The Monastic Journey" by Thomas Merton
* "Everlasting Man" by G.K. Chesterton (I know, you can find this on the Net, but I like having hard copies of classics)
* "Women of God" by Freida Upson
* "Henri Nouwen--Selected Writings" ed. Robert Jonas
Speaking of new reads, for those interested in studying more about the relationship between "Just War" theory and the Orthodox Church, as well as the role of repentance in war, check out the latest issue of St. Vladimir's Quarterly Journal (Vol. 47, Issue #1 2003)
The entire issue is devoted to the topic and, while I've only read a few pages, it looks to be a stimulating read.
(Derek, you may find some answers to your previous questions here).