Let’s Talk: Reading Multiple Books at a Time

Do you read multiple books at once? Or are you strictly a one-book-at-a-time reader? I usually only read one or two books at a time, but as I work on making my way through my physical TBR, I find myself picking up several books at once.

I’ve never been particularly opposed to reading multiple books at once, which is probably best or else I’m not sure how I would have managed to graduate with an English degree! I definitely understand why people have a strong tendency to read only one book at a time, though, as it makes it easier to follow the story and allows you to give it your full attention.

But I’ve been really enjoying reading a bunch of books at once lately. I’ve been trying to push myself to listen to more audiobooks when I work out, since at the end of the day, reading is probably what I’d rather be doing with myself if I weren’t at the gym. So they’re one less excuse for me not to work out, and sometimes audiobooks even encourage me to go work out so I can make progress on the book I’m listening to.

I’ve also been trying to read some business books I borrowed from my dad that I know have some good information in them, but that I’m not particularly excited to pick up when I sit down with a book. So I’ve started reading a third book so that reading doesn’t start to feel too much like a chore. I’ll make myself read a chapter or so from the business book, and then move on to my current, more enjoyable read. And then I’ll switch to my audiobook when I go to the gym or do the dishes (dishes are way more tolerable when I’m listening to an audiobook).

As if that weren’t enough, I’m also slowly working my way through a book of poetry I picked up for the Read Harder challenge. I figure it’ll be an easier challenge to complete if I tackle it in small segments than if I sit down and force myself to read the whole book at once. If I do that, I know I’ll get absolutely nothing out of completing the challenge. It’ll be reading words on a page so I can say I did it, and it might even turn me off of reading for a while if it feels too much like a chore to pick up.

That puts me at four books. It sounds like a lot, but each of them fulfills a different need for me, and the content is so different that I don’t have any trouble keeping them straight. It just makes it easier for me to tackle some of the reading that I want to accomplish but that I struggle to force myself to do. Though I have to admit, after a while I feel the need to clear them all out and start fresh so that I don’t let a book linger for too long.

I’m planning to finish up the books soon that I’ve borrowed from my dad, and I have no plans to read any more poetry after I finish the current book I’m working on, but I think I’ll still keep reading multiple books at once even after those are out of the way. I have a bunch of short story collections on my physical TBR that I think will be easier and more enjoyable to get through if I only do a story or two at a time, plus there are a bunch of essay collections on my Goodreads TBR that I’d really like to read but that I think are better consumed slowly. Limiting myself to one essay at a time will give me a chance to think more about what I’ve read and process it before moving on to the next one. I also think I’ll use this strategy to tackle some of the biographies on my physical TBR. Reading only a few chapters a week will make something like the 1,200-page Truman much more manageable (and hopefully more enjoyable).

How about you? Do you like reading multiple books at a time? If not, do you think it’d be worth trying? Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Reading Multiple Books at a Time

  1. I’m kind of the same as you- it depends on what’s going on in my life! Sometimes I’ll be rereading a book and also reading a new one, or reading one for school and also for pleasure. I’m not the type to get my books confused or think more than one is too many, that’s just how I am. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Generally I don’t read multiple books, but at the moment I’m actually reading six (according to Goodreads). Like you, a couple are collections of short stories and poems so it’s a bit different with those…

    Also, I just did a post on this too! How random (great minds think alike)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The most satisfying part is when you finish all of those books around the same time and your Goodreads makes you look like a crazy reader!
      And what are the odds?! I’ll have to check it out!


  3. I do! I generally read two at a time, mostly a physical book and and audiobook. 😂 I never get them mixed around when they’re on different mediums like that so it’s very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, using different platforms is super helpful! I’ve struggled a bit getting into audiobooks, but they’re such a great way to sneak in more reading that I can’t not listen to them.


  4. I usually have two going at once: my “train book” and my “bed book.” My train book is whatever I read during my commute, often a new-release novel or a nonfiction book I really have to focus on. For me, reading during the commute is a nice way to get through books that may otherwise be difficult, since I have an hour a day devoted to it, or a nice way to stay on top of the best-sellers list. My bed book is usually a slower-burn classic (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass recently) that I read intermittently when I need something to do before falling asleep. When I really get into a novel like I did recently with Crazy Rich Asians, though, all bets are off!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a good strategy! The main thing I miss about commuting is the built in reading time. And I’ve heard great things about Crazy Rich Asians; I’ll have to bump it up my tbr!


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