Discussion – how many books do you read at one time?

My curiosity is getting the best of me here! I’ve found that there are two types of readers:

  1. The person who reads only one book at a time
  2. The person who has 3 or more books on the go at all times

I’m personally number one. I’ve only really ever been a book monogamist and stick to only one book. I’ve found that I get my head into a book and when I try to read something else I get the story lines confused. I also read a wide variety of genres so going back and forth between a science fiction and a contemporary just feels weird. The atmosphere’s are totally different! But, having said that, I’ve always admired those who could read multiple books at a time. My mother in law has a different book in every room and picks them up as she pleases. But it makes my head spin!

I feel like both sides have pro’s and con’s. Reading only one book at a time allows you to power through a book quickly. It also allows your head and heart to stay within that story 100%. But then if you’re not into the book completely then it can lead to a wandering mind. It can also push you towards a reading slump and slow down progress.

Reading multiple books at one time seems like more progress is made. I don’t know why I think this way! It can also allow you to read different genres and plots, pushing you to read a little faster. Also, if you’re in a slow spot in one book you can always move to another one! But, this also leads to finishing a book slower. If you’re reading many at once, your time is divided. Also, say you have three books that you started relatively at the same time, it would take longer to make any progress at all, then finishing them all at once.

So both sides have good and bad. I have tried many times to read multiple books at once and I just can’t! I’m sticking with what works for me, but I will always envy those who have a stack of books with their places marked 🙂

What type of reader are you? Curious to see how many each side has 🙂

Until next time, happy reading!

95 Comments Add yours

  1. fictionologyst says:

    I’m definitely number one. I’m amaze tho with people who could read multiple books at a time. If it were me, my brain must have been cooked up!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I usually have two books going, always two different genres. I mostly read contemporary and fantasy and sometimes I’m simply in the mood for light and fluffy, while other times I’m totally up to lose myself in an entire different world. So there’s that.
    Also, one of those is always a physical one and the other on my Kindle. Makes it handy when I’m going somewhere and don’t feel like dragging my book with me. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think if I had a kindle I would do the same. I totally admire you for being able to have different genres going at once!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, at first I didn’t really like my Kindle because.. not physical books, haha. But right now I’m just happy I don’t have to drag around tomes anymore. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol I literally have shoulder problems because of books! My ribs are constantly popping out of place. The pain I’m willing to go through for books! I should really invest in a kindle one of these days…..

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yikes, that sounds pretty painful!
            You should. I bought a cover for it that makes it able to stand it up so I can read, laying down without holding it – except for tapping to go to the next page. I love it, haha. And no more books falling in my face. Huge bonus. :’)
            Oh, and I also noticed I read way faster on my Kindle these days? Kind of funny. 😛

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Lol books to the face – yup. That hurts. Probably why I prefer paperback to hardcover – they hurt less!!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Between two options. Usually 1 or 2. Usually mainly reading 1 but have another book at parents that is easy to pick up and down. On holidays have done 2 at once. One hol was doing Tony Blair auto biography in the morning as serious bit … three years on not finished it. Another hol found book to read in villa which did not want to take out so only read in villa and took different book out.

    Sometimes as go to book club have to pause a book in order to get a book club one read. Technically at the moment few on the go ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s the only exception for me as well – non fiction. If I’m reading a non fiction I will bounce back and forth because I find it hard to get through them. I admire you and being able to read more than one at once!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CJR The Brit says:

    I’m defo number 1. I can’t cope with reading more than 1 book at the same time! I would be worried I’d mix up the stories!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same! I usually mix up the stories or characters. Mostly the characters. And I feel like I completely lose the atmosphere of a book if I stop and read another one!

      Like

      1. CJR The Brit says:

        Yes! Totally. I think I’ll stick to my 1 book and not get confused!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. R.K. Lander says:

    Three books at the same time? No way! I can’t see how you can immerse yourself multiple worlds and feel them all. In fact I am sure this is not possible. Surely those readers are getting much less out of a book than they could if they would just concentrate on one at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is like you have different friends and can remember their back stories however far apart see them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a beautiful way of looking at it!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My thoughts exactly!!! But a few close friends can do it – I don’t know how! I’m such a mood reader that I need to place myself in that world and feel everything. If I read something else, the mood goes away!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. R.K. Lander says:

        That’s exactly it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. jillianthebookbutterfly says:

    When I was younger (before college) I used to read more than one book at a time. Now, I generally read one book at a time. However, if I pick up a book 500 pages or over, I usually pick up another book to help me get through that one when it drags.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ok I think I’ve done that with longer books too. Sometimes it drags and I’ll get to a shorter book in between. Those books are like reading 2 books all in one anyway! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Justine says:

    I usually have at least two or three going in different formats! I have a physical book, an audiobook, and an eBook right now! The one thing I have to do is make sure that they’re different genres so I don’t get confused!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I so admire you!! I wish I could do that!! But see that confirms my thoughts in a way – you read a lot in a month!! I wonder if you’re reaching that because you read multiple books at a time…… it’s a scientific mystery 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Justine says:

        It sometimes gets to be…a bit much. But I try to not go higher than 3 at a time!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. carenksr says:

    I usually have two books going at once. But I may not read them both each day. I have a paperback/hardback I read before bed. I also have a book I’m reading on my Kindle. I don’t read my Kindle past 7 because I think the light/glow messes with my sleep, so I will then read a paperback. I try to make them very different books so that I don’t confuse the stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh that’s a great point! I don’t read ebooks so that’s not an issue for me, but screen time would definitely be a factor in reading more than one book at a time!

      Like

  9. I am exactly the same, people who can read multiple books at a time are like mythical creatures to me! Saying that I do sometimes do it but only when I have books to read for uni and then I can distinguish them in my mind because I read the academic books critically and take notes and stick in post its and all sorts so its more like work than reading, I could never read two books for pleasure at the same time, my brain just couldn’t take it! 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. EXACTLY!!! They’re like the bookish version of a sparkly unicorn! 🦄

      Liked by 1 person

  10. J.W. Martin says:

    I generally have 3 books on the go. 1 is my “main” book, and that’ll be a physical book that I read when I’m at home. 2 is an eBook on my phone. Whenever I find some time to read and my “main” book isn’t available, eBook it is. And 3, I always have an audiobook on the go for when I’m walking the dog, doing chores, or the odd time while at work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve tried the eBook thing on my phone but my old eyes weren’t happy with the situation! I guess sometimes I will start or finish an audiobook while I’m reading a physical one, but that’s rare. My brain can’t handle two books at once. Book multitasking isn’t my thing lol

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Max 2 at time otherwise I’m 1 book at a time person. It doesn’t affect my reading speed though. 😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ok see that’s what I always wondered. If reading more than one at a time would increase reading speed. So thanks for that! If it did I might have to give it another shot…. even though I know I would fail lol

      Like

  12. I am a multiple books at one time kinda reader.
    I used to be a one-book-at-a-time reader though and have converted to what many of my friends consider “the dark side”. I am currently reading 6 books. *sheepish grin* My strategy is this; multiple forms of reading and multiple genres of reading. I usually have at least one physical book, one digital book/ebook, and one audiobook going at one time. This strategy helps me to differentiate between the stories. I try to ensure that the physical book and the ebook are different genres as well. I usually opt for fiction and nonfiction in this regard. I listen to audiobooks on my commute which definitely helps relieve the stress of traffic and I still get to ferociously consume books at the same time – win, win.
    The reason I have 6 going at the moment is because one is a literary classic that’s heady and dense in content that sometimes I’m just not in the mood for but have an interest in reading it nonetheless, one is a collection of poetry that I pick up from time to time when I have a moment to fit in one or two poems, and the other is a book I’m reading for a reading challenge that’s completely different from my normal go-tos, which also means I have to be in the mood for it. Honestly, 6 is too many for my liking, but I’m making it work. I cant force myself to power through the ones that require the right mood to read them, I’ll end up hating the book as a result.
    I will say though, my reading speed has not slowed in the slightest. In fact, it’s gotten better. I used to be a painfully slow reader and I think the improvement is largely to do with the amount of reading I’m doing and the different styles of writing I have exposed myself to in the process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SIX?! You’re a magical unicorn of books 😂 that’s a good point though – when reading dense books (classics, or non fiction) I might take a break and pick up something lighter to keep me going.
      So you think this has helped your reading speed improve? That’s what I always wondered with people who read more than one at a time. I might see if I can give it another go if that’s the case. I’ll probably end up massively confused, but it’s worth a try if it helps me read more! Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeeeeah, I’m ready to whittle that down some, but those three I mentioned are have-to-be-in-the-right-mood books and I hate forcing myself to read something regardless of my level of interest in the title.
        Like I said, I like to keep things separated by genre and form. I don’t care if the ebook is fiction and the physical book is non fiction or vice versa, they just have to be completely different from one another. The audiobook can be anything because that’s just a wholly different way of “reading” in itself.
        But I can definitely see how it’s improved my reading. For perspective, I have currently read 35 books this year…my goal is 50…I expect I will far exceed that goal. (Bear it in mind that I usually only get about four hours a day – two of which is for audiobooks on my commute – that I can read.)
        I recently converted a friend to “the dark side” who was woefully behind on her own reading goal for the year and she’s managed to read 9 books this month, which got her caught up and on track to complete her goal.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I just reached 33 books so far this year. My goal is 100 and I am determined! I’ve never reached triple digits in a year. So far I’m 3 books ahead of schedule! I’m happy with that! And yes, audiobooks are a totally different way of reading. I’ve done it a few times where I’ve read a physical and listened to another. But that’s rare!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Very nice! It’s always wonderful to be ahead of schedule!

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Guess poss to keep up with several tv programmes so, if one of books is audio that is poss. Anyone used digital fiction? One I used alongside physical books was Karen. I have just got Alexa and briefly played the magic garden, which was billed as a game but actually choose own adventure type of story.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I used to be a strictly 1 book a time gal, but these days I find myself reading two or three books at a time? I’ve noticed that some books just stress me out too much to read in the evenings (and sleep well) so I usually have two books going, one for mornings and one for evenings. I also often pause a book and read another book before picking the first one up again, but that’s technically not reading them ‘at the same time’.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh that’s a good way to do it! I know what you mean though. Some books just have a topic that’s either difficult or hard to immerse yourself in completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ive never understood people who can read multiple books at one time, my brain just can’t do it! I don’t think I could understand what was going on and fully immerse myself in and appreciate the book if I didn’t read one at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you 100%! I’m an emotional reader so I know that if I bounced I wouldn’t feel the same way about a book as I could have

      Like

  15. thebookprophet says:

    I always have to have at least 2 books going at once. My moods tend to change so with the mood I’m in I pick up book 1 or book 2. I don’t seem to have an issue keeping the storylines straight

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two seems like a doable number. Maybe lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thebookprophet says:

        like sometimes i feel like reading fantasy while other times i’m more in the mood for contemporary so i always try to have at least one of each genre going at the same time for when i get bored of the other xD

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a good idea! One of these days I’ll try reading more than one at a time. Though I still think I’ll fail 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Up until about 15 or so years ago, I was a one book at a time reader. But then I re-discovered audio books, and I quickly moved to the 2 book camp. The two different platforms helps. Then when I discovered NetGalley, I went to a 3 books at a time lifestyle. I also try to keep the genres varied which does make it easier. I find that 3 is the limit, although if I’m running a book club at school I can push it to four if I need to. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve read two at a time before but one was physical and the other was audio. I still found it difficult. My brain doesn’t compute for some reason! But it seems that the majority of readers read more than one at a time. I’m jealous of you all 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Birdie says:

    I’m a one book at a time reader too. Not only does it keep the story straight in my head, I also don’t feel the pull of one book over the other. When I have tried to read two at a time, one is usually forgotten.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Same. I think that people who read on a more emotional level can’t read more than one at a time. But then again, a few friends of mine still feel emotional attachment even though they’re reading 4 at once! I wish!

      Like

      1. Birdie says:

        I can’t even imagine connecting like that, even though I know they can.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I am number one, I tried to read more than one book at a time but it didn’t work well 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I have always only ever read 1 book at a time but saying that there has been a couple instances where I’ve had 2+ books going at once. Like right now I’m currently reading 3 books. I used to not be able to focus on more thank one book but it’s starting to work for me now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great! I hope it continues working out for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hopefully it will!! I’m actually been enjoying being able to read more than 1 book at a time.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Priyasha says:

    Well I am also the first one kind of person 🙂 Great discussion Shannah

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Suziey Bravo says:

    I tend to read one book and listen to one audiobook at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time. But you know what I mean lol. But if I’m reading an extremely long book, I like to pick up a shorter book in between.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love being able to listen to an audiobook that you’re also physically reading. It seems to add some depth to the story! I’m doing that right now with Red Rising 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Rachel says:

    I’m definitely the second type – I always have 2-5 going at once! I think for me it helps ward off reading slumps; if I’m not feeling one book, I can always retreat into another until I’m ready to go back to the first one, rather than procrastinating on reading altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s my biggest problem with only reading one at a time. I rarely ever DNF a book so I end up reading at a snails pace until it’s done. That’s the main reason why I would want to read more than one at a time!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Same here Shanah! One at a time of I get confused 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! It’s a curse I tell you!

      Like

  24. I’m definitely a book polygamist. I usually have two to four books going at once, though I’m managing to read only one right now. It’s very similar to following several tv shows at once.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True! And even still only watch one show at a time! It’s so inconvenient lol

      Like

  25. My mother used to read two books, one in the kitchen and one in her bedroom. And she would tear through 5 or 6 books a week. And I’m just like… oh boy I can only read one book a week. If I read more than one at a time I get stressed out haha.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My mother in law is the same way! She read three books in the Outlander series in one week!!!! She’s crazy!

      Like

  26. I’m a mix haha. Sometimes I’ll just read one book at a time, but sometimes I like to pick up multiple books and have options. Like right now I’m reading a non-fiction book and I’m also reading a thriller because I’ve decided to read a chapter a day of the non-fiction book. It kinda depends on my mood i guess

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ok this is the case where I will read more than one book. Non fiction can sometimes drag and seem dry. So I’ll read a few chapters at a time in between another book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly! 🙂 For me multiple book reading is situational haha

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I typically read 2 at a time! One physical copy that I carry around everywhere with me, and one kindle that I read at the gym/when I’m running on a treadmill, and then at home in the evenings. I start to lose track if I try to juggle in any more than that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The most I’ve ever read at one time was 2… and it was so hard lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. bookwormgirl says:

    I love your topic for this post! I tend to read two books at a time, so I don’t get bored, but that’s just my way of reading. I admire people who read only one book at a time because they typically finish books faster. That’s the beauty of reading, there’s no specific way to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! So well said! There’s always something different for everyone 🙂

      Like

  29. Readyouleyre says:

    I am a number two all the way. I’m currently reading three different books and my only rule is that they have to be of different genres. If I read two fantasies, I might get the worlds or magic systms confused. On the other hand, if I read a fantasy, a thriller and a contemporary romance, I’m able to keep them separated and it works for me.

    I also always read at least two books. One physical and one in my kindle. It takes me an hour and a half to get to school every morning, and another hour and a half to come back home. That’s three hours a day I spend on the public transport and my schoolbag is already heavy as it is, so I always bring my kindle with me and read whatever book is on it. During the weekends and before I go to bed is the time for me to pick up my physical book and dive into it.

    I’m also a very big mood reader. Sometimes I put books on hold for months because I’m not feeling them and being able to read different genres at the same time makes room for me to switch between them as I please.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All of the comments of people reading one physical and one on a kindle is making me want a kindle lol! I had one of the second gen ones but it died years ago. And I’m the same way with my mood. I started one a few weeks ago and I Don’t think I can go back to it just yet

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Up until the past few weeks I have been number one. But I have been listening to one audiobook, while reading a physical book, and reading my own work that I’m moving into the number two category. But this is a rarity for me, so I have to say that I am a number one. It’s harder for me to focus on multiple books at once usually.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Norrie says:

    Usually just one 😀
    Sometimes a paper copy at home and a kindle one on the move

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I fall under both tbh! Sometimes I just have the one book on the go, but right now I’ve got 4 going, oops! Mainly because I have a blog tour on the 2nd May which I forgot about so had to pick up that book, and then I joined a readalong for an ebook that I’m still reading, even though I’d already started another ebook!
    I do quite like having 2 books on the go because it means if I’m getting bored of one I can switch to the other 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve noticed you do a lot of blog tour stuff and always wonder how you fit it all in… now I know! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha, yeah… I rarely can but I still do them 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Book Admirer says:

    So I used to be a one book person but then earlier this year, I discovered audio, which allows me to up my game to 2 at a time. I listen to my audio books in the car, while I am on my way to work (40 minutes each way); I physically read a book the rest of the time. I think because it is a different type of reading helps me keep the two plot separate in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading a physical book and listening to an audiobook is probably the best way. Some times the different formats and the fact that it’s a different voice always helps!

      Like

  34. hannawsreads says:

    I think I’m going back to just one book at a time. For me it got overwhelming to read multiple books at the same time and then i ended up in a slump 🙈 i definitely made more progress but it’s not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! Hope the slump is going away!!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. kyera says:

    I used to be super anti-audiobooks, but they’ve grown on me in the last year or so. As a result, instead of listening to music I’m ALWAYS listening to an audiobook when a drive to work, wash the dishes, clean, or honestly sometimes when I’m just too tired to read and want someone else to do it for me. As a result, I’m always reading two books at the same time (and they’re usually not the same one) – one audiobook and one physical book. I think the two distinct mediums makes them less confusing, for me at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same!! I got a pair of wireless apple Bluetooth ear buds for Christmas and they’ve become my best friends! I always listen while I’m working or driving. But it’s usually the same book I’m physically reading lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kyera says:

        Ooh fancy! I should get something like that.. I just stick my phone everywhere to listen and hope for the best.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is fancy. Something I never would have bought for myself. Now I can’t live without them!!

          Liked by 1 person

  36. Ellyn says:

    Haha, I try not to be the second kind of reader but at the moment I am reading three different books. I don’t ever aim to be like this but sometimes I just get distracted by the new shiny, ya know?

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I am mostly a monogamous reader, but sometimes (because I don’t like to DNF books very often), if I’m not loving a book I will totally cheat on it with other books, and then come back later!!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Shane says:

    I usually go for 2 books at once. That way I have a choice of what to read depending on my mood. 🤓

    Liked by 1 person

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