I come from a Very Christian Family. Growing up, I could never understand how my mom would easily spend as many as four or five hours a day reading religious books or being engaged in her own private practice of her faith. She must have hundreds of books on a vast array of topics related to it. Naturally, I swore I would never be weird like that, then have slowly begun doing the same thing.
I read quickly, and usually have four or five books going at once. But when it comes to something like magic, where taking time to process, internalize, and sort out how it fits with what I already believe is of paramount importance, it's hard to plow through things. It's also difficult to decide where to focus my attention. There's my trance work, which has been absolutely clamoring for attention recently. There's whatever sabbat is next, plus whatever normal stuff I'm working on in my life. I've really enjoyed getting into hoodoo and rootwork in the last year. Its practicality clicks for me. Lately, my practice and focus has gotten more primal and bloody than I would have guessed it would have as little as a year ago. I have super highly recommended books in both areas arriving this week.
But there are other things that important to me to read. I think I should go deep to understand and know the sources modern authors are often drawing from. There are at least a couple thousand pages in PDF ebooks that I have to give me a very basic, more accurate foundation in the old occult books, the Solomonic stuff, and systems that aren't my own (like Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca). I don't trust some modern book whose cites nothing telling me to draw some stuff and call on the power it represents. I want to know where to look it up, how to cross-reference it.
I want to know how other people manage this load, how they decide which area to spend time on at any given time. Especially when it comes to reading the more classical texts that are harder to understand, harder to apply, and much longer-winded than modern books. At no time do I ever sit down and think that it's a great time to pick up 800 pages of forgotten book and snuggle in. Maybe I'll find some sort of glorious discipline. I wonder if it's even really necessary to have that foundation, or if that's just academic conditioning rearing its head. Honestly, I'd rather spend those hours outside wandering, or in trance, or making stuff.