We've all had the graduate student who is a sponge. The last thing he or she has read has to go into the dissertation, relevance aside. It's hard with this kind of spongy student because the attention tends to wander a bit. The absorptive impulse isn't bad in and of itself, but sometimes it becomes too associational (this reminds me of that) and lacks depth.
I'm a little like that too. When I'm working on a project, everything else I read just happens to bear a relation to it. Now, I happen to be teaching a novel by Unamuno and working on a section of an article where Unamuno comes up. Naturally, I turn to that novel and to another by Atxaga I just happened to have taught just now in my other course. Maybe I assigned these novels subconsciously knowing I would need them?