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Members' Chat > Reading Multiple Books at Same Time

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message 1: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments Newbie David here, Just wondering if I was the only person to be reading more then 1 book at the same time? I like to have at least 2 going at the same time. I'm reading James Patterson - NYPD Red 4 from a large print book and on my new Paperwhite I'm reading Mary Robinette Kowal - The Calculating Stars (SF). I spend about 1 hr. a day on each title.
Another question I wanted to ask is how much time each day do you spend reading?
Hope I get some responses to these questions! Tks, David N.


message 2: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 3405 comments Hi David, I'm always reading two books at a time: one for me and one Terry Pratchett with my kids.


Nikki ~ The Nocturnal Bookworm (nyxreadsstuff) | 19 comments I'm always reading multiple books at once. I will bounce between books depending on my mood.


message 4: by Olivier (new)

Olivier Gagnon | 4 comments I actually don' ever do that, just like I only seriously play only 1 video games at a time. I dunno, I just like to keep one thing straight in my mind at a time I guess.


message 5: by Ana (new)

Ana (vumblereads) | 2 comments Sometimes I have an ebook and a physical book depending on where I am and what time of the day it is. Most of the time I try to stick to just one book. I also read for about an hour or two before I go to sleep and then maybe about 30 minutes after I wake up.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments I have way too many books going right now. Maybe 2 non fiction and two genre?


message 7: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments I have 7 that I’m in the middle of at the moment. I’m actively reading The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French on my iPad (bloody brilliant by the way) but I’m also reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, Leviathans Wake by James SA Corey (all paperbacks), The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (iPad), Cinder by Marissa Meyer (audiobook) and a book of short stories put together Neil Gaiman on my iPad. It all depends on my mood.

At the moment my mood is half-orcs riding around on massive pigs. A few days ago I was in the mood for Lady Astronauts and Murderbot. I may be in the mood for both of these again this week actually. Or something completely different may jump off the shelf at me. Hubby is going away for a couple of nights and I have a big pot of soup made so I don’t have to do much so I’ll probably read. Lots. And best of all I can wake up when I want and not when the radio blares out at me. I’m actually retired but he isn’t.


message 8: by Dawn F (new)

Dawn F (psychedk) | 1219 comments Hello, David! I’m always reading more than one book at a time. The simplest reason for this is I listen to audio when that’s convenient, doing housework, laundry, walking to and from the bus to work, and also I get motion sick on a bus so I can rarely have my head down in a book and then audio is much better. But sitting down or lying in bed I prefer to read, an ebook or physical.

And beyond that I often try out two or three books to get a feel of them and then finish whatever appeals to me first. Right now I’ve got a couple of unfinished ones as they’re quite terrible and I can’t make myself finish them, and keep reading other things to avoid them. I’m great at procastinating XD

But all in all, I feel that if I always have a book going then it’s easier going from one book to another with no break. It keeps the engine running, so to speak.


message 9: by Shanna (last edited Aug 28, 2018 04:28PM) (new)

Shanna | 43 comments I read only one book at a time. I listen to a non-exciting audio book to put me to sleep at night, but I don't count this as reading the book because I'm not paying attention to it and I often fall asleep before the timer is out. I am also currently listening to a favorite re-read during my workout to provide motivation to keep it up.

If I am interested in a book, I will spend several hours a day reading it and will finish within a couple of days. If the book is not holding my interest, I may only read an hour or so and it feels like it takes me forever to finish it (which would be like a week).


message 10: by Raucous (new)

Raucous | 738 comments I was looking at my "Currently Reading" list earlier this week and also wondering what others did here. Thanks for starting this thread.

I have 8 books on the list, although a few of them are books that I started and then deferred when I found something else that fit my current mood better. Of the 5 books I'm actively reading right now, one is an audio book that I'm listening to on my own, one is an audio book that I listen to when my spouse and our emotionally sensitive dog are in the car (he barks at high drama), one is genre fiction, one is a memoir, and one is somewhat more technical nonfiction. Five is probably the minimum for me. Sometimes it's 8 or 9, with the extras being other fiction, and I bounce around depending on what's grabbing my attention that day.


message 11: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Fry | 46 comments Ive typically been reading two books at the same time, but i find if their not both enjoyable books its hard to focus. I found my self refusing to read one of my two books and felt guilty about reading the other which hindered my reading.

I am trying something new this week and so far I can already see a positive difference. I am reading the Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the ring and Red Mars (SF) and each day switch which book i'm reading. On even dated days i read LOTR and on odd days i read Red Mars. It helps me read more of each book by focusing on a single story each day rather than flip flopping all day.


message 12: by Karin (new)

Karin | 773 comments I virtually always have 2 or more on the go. I used to do this when I was growing up as well--I remember telling my mother why. I have had times where it was one at a time, such as on holidays during university when I let myself read novels and would just read one at a time, though.


message 13: by Alondra (new)

Alondra Miller David wrote: "Newbie David here, Just wondering if I was the only person to be reading more then 1 book at the same time? I like to have at least 2 going at the same time. I'm reading James Patterson - NYPD Red ..."

I read multiples. Usually 3. I am a moody reader.

a book for work (20-30 mins before work, sitting in my truck, decompressing from a commute - 30 mins at lunch)

a book before bed (1 hour; more or less depending on how the old Insomnia is going)

a weekend book (for shits and giggles)


message 14: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
In my perfect life, I read 2 books at once: one audio for menial tasks and one physical book before bed/on weekends.

Due to my imperfect grasp of the library hold system, my boundless optimism and a slight issue remembering how overwhelmed agreeing to every buddy read makes me, I often am actually reading more books than that at once. Right now it's 5 and I'm very upset. Maybe a new book would make it better...


message 15: by Read (new)

Read McReaderson (readmcreaderson) | 1 comments I'm usually reading one ebook, one physical book, one audiobook, and one book I read with my children.

I listen to audiobooks while doing chores, cooking, laundry, dishes, etc.

I read my physical book periodically throughout the day when I have free time. A few minutes here, a few minutes there.

The ebook is typically before bed, after the lights go out, so I don't wake up my husband.


message 16: by Jerry-Book (new)

Jerry-Book | 86 comments I find reading a non-fiction work like "Stamped from the Beginning" (the history of racism in America) requires me to also read a lighter read at the same time. While going to the Beach on weekends, I like to listen to one of Louise Penny Inspector Gamache mysteries on audio.


message 17: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments I only read one novel at a time. I want to be fully immersed in that author’s voice, rhythms, and themes, and to follow through the beginning, middle, and end of the story of that novel. But between novels I like to read short stories, so I have several collections and anthologies that I’ll draw from for that purpose. So technically I have something like 5 books going at once...but not in the way that I think most everyone else in this thread has meant it.


message 18: by Donald (new)

Donald | 240 comments Jacqueline wrote: "I have 7 that I’m in the middle of at the moment. I’m actively reading The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French on my iPad (bloody brilliant by the way) but I’m also reading The Bear and the Nightingal..."

This is pretty close to my system.

I'll often have four or five eBooks going which I read depending on my mood and how much I'm enjoying them. At the moment this is The Sparrow (which is a self-inflicted punishment), Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (which I'm also struggling with), The Third Body Problem (which I really want to finish but...), and Two Serpents Rise (which I'm actually enjoying!). Then there'll be one or two real books, depending on whether I feel like carrying books up and down stairs - currently just Children of Blood and Bone.


message 19: by Trike (new)

Trike 4 bathrooms, 4 books.


message 20: by Kaa (new)

Kaa | 1454 comments I have 11 books on my "currently reading" at the moment, which I would say is pretty typical for me.

I start new things in the middle of other things for lots of reasons. Some of the most common are probably not being in the mood for what I was reading; my phone dying before my bus ride home, thus denying me access to my current ebook; my library loan expiring before I can finish; and trying to read poetry, because so far I am more of a hopeful than actual poetry reader.


message 21: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Trike wrote: "4 bathrooms, 4 books."

Lol Trike 😂Do you pick your bathroom on the particular book you’re in the mood for?


2 of mine are library loans that expired and even though I have sourced them from other places I haven’t got back to them. One of the others I was reading on my iPad but wanted the paperback and the library was going to get it for me but hasn’t yet.


message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 291 comments Hey David


As with so many here, I'll usually have several on the go - usually a fiction, a non-fiction and a collection, short stories or essays or the like. I may also have a book that I just need a rest from for whatever reason, that I'm just not quite in the correct headspace for.


message 23: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 689 comments I also have as many as 6 books going at once. One on my Nook, one by my bed and one in the car for sure, plus more if my mood changes


message 24: by Michael (new)

Michael | 153 comments I don't used to read more than one book at a time, but I find myself doing it now. Usually, they will be very different books (ex. A fantasy novel and a book on astrophysics, or a sci-fi anthology and a history book). Depending on the mood I'm in, I'll jump back and fourth.


message 25: by Carole-Ann (new)

Carole-Ann (blueopal) | 143 comments Hi David! I used to only read one book at a time, before I retired, (and that meant I could probably go through 5-6 books a week!)

Now (although I AM supposed to be retired - I have a bookshop) my TBR pile is enormous! Currently reading a story on Kindle at breakfast time; a paperback during the day; and an e-book on my computer in the evening.

I think that's all that I can manage! (I'd go daft trying to remember 6 or 7 different ones!!)


message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen (librarykatz) | 261 comments I typically have a minimum of 3 books going on at the same time although there are 5 currently on my "reading" pile that I am actually chipping away at. They range in genres so I don't worry about confusing story lines and I can choose what I'm going to read based on my mood. I will listen to one during my commute/house work, have a couple set up on my kindle, as well as having some physical books within reach.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments I rarely have less than 2 books going at any one time. Normally, it's whatever strikes my mood...so it can be as low as one and as high as 8-10. But it's normally around 2-3.

Right now it's a bunch of re-reads because slumped.


message 28: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Usually at least 2 at a time, more if I'm doing an audiobook for whatever reason.

And usually at least 3 total hours of reading a day.


message 29: by David (new)

David Navratil | 25 comments Thank you one and all for your responses! I'm really enjoying this site. I spent the last 15 years handling the front desk at our local library (Now Retired). I never read at all at the library and now I'm catching up with all my free time! David N.


message 30: by Kateb (new)

Kateb | 893 comments For me the number of books has changed as my work situation changed.

When I worked full time I had a book at work for those "spare" moments (eg meetings) , one at home, and one in the car for when hubby was driving

Then came that wonderful invention the kindle. Mine travels with me every where and has over 50 books on it, so I can change if I get tired of a book

But since retirement I have found that I have two books I am reading : a light one for all of those 5 mins where there is nothing to do while you wait for something and a more interesting book for other times

How much time do I spend reading? When working it was a book a week , or maybe a fortnight depending on the book. Now I am retired , on the days I am home I read for about 3 hours after lunch. So nearly a book every two days.

Good luck David on your retirement , the biggest trouble I found was re reading all of those books I loved from years ago and also keeping up with all the new books being published .

Then again if I had the choice of going out with acquaintances ( not close friends ) or reading, reading wins


message 31: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4625 comments Kindle Voyage: The Complete Miss Marple Collection and Wizard's First Rule. I usually always have two books going on this device in completely different genres

Bathroom Kindle: The Chronicles of Narnia (all the books in one file)

Bedtime Kindle: William Styron, The Collected Novels: Lie Down in Darkness, Set This House on Fire, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie's Choice plus Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle

Fire: Ten Women - haven't started this one yet


message 32: by Victoria (last edited Aug 30, 2018 12:29AM) (new)

Victoria Lestingi (vlestin) | 41 comments I try to have more than one at a time, but it just does not work in reality. I tend to get immerse with one and neglect the other, systematically. I do come back when the first one is finished, get immersed again and neglect whatever has been started since and so on. I do work from home, so maybe having all book sources available during the day helps my single lane mentality.
The only exception is if I'm reading a challenging book (English is not my first language, mind) that needs full focus and on the evening I am just too tired for anything that demanding, then I would pick this up only during the day.

I read quite during the day, coffee breaks, lunch, etc., and after my child is asleep in the evening. Sometimes 10 min per day others for hours and hours. But I find that if I read very little one day, I tend to compensate naturally and my week reading time remains mostly even.


message 33: by Inkspill (new)

Inkspill (runinkspill) me too - I read more than one book at a time.

how much I read varies - like others here it varies, a good day is when I can squeeze in about 3 hours - yep, now that's a good day


message 34: by Shomeret (last edited Aug 30, 2018 04:27AM) (new)

Shomeret | 404 comments I used to read a print book and a digital book simultaneously, but I found that this led to a great deal of not finishing books. So I stopped doing it. Now I read one book at a time. Even then, I find that I occasionally have to put a book aside for review commitments.
I'm currently struggling with a way to get back to Shadow of The Fox which is a Net Galley that I was liking very much.


message 35: by Thomas (last edited Aug 30, 2018 09:22AM) (new)

Thomas | 184 comments Hi David

I really like reading multiple books at the same time. Just how many I have on the go varies.

The books I read depend on the mood I'm in and in a way I treat it like watching different TV series or eating different varieties of meals. For example one day I might feel like reading some of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere and on another I might read some of the Wheel of Time.

At any rate I find by reading multiple books at the same time it never leaves me bored or frustrated, particularly if I find a book very challenging.

Some of my main focuses at the moment are David Hair's Moontide Quartet, John Gywnne's Faithful and Fallen Series, Brent Weeks' Lightbringer Series, The Cosmere and Robin Hobb's Elderling Series


message 36: by Lars (new)

Lars Dradrach (larsdradrach) | 79 comments I have always at least 3 books going at the same time

1. I listen to audiobooks driving to and from work (3 hours a day) this is solely books I haven’t read before, at the moment I’m listening to Clive Barkers “the great and secret art” it’s amazing.

2. At home or traveling I read books on the Kindle, here I have just started Ellis K. Meacham “the east Indiaman” actually a reread from my early teenage days. And I have a few other books on hold as they didn’t suit me just now.

3. Walking the dog or running i do rereads as audiobooks, here I’m at volume 2 of Arthur c. Clarke’s Rama series.

I have no problem keeping the books apart as long as I don’t do to similar books at the same time.


message 37: by YouKneeK (new)

YouKneeK | 1397 comments Ah… the question of monogamous versus polygamous reading. :) Until I discovered sites like this a few years ago, I used to think reading multiple books at a time was unusual. From what I’ve seen since joining, polygamous reading is actually really common among people who enjoy reading. I’m still a dedicated monogamous reader, though. I may be a bit more neurotic than most in that I’m also a one-series-at-a-time person. When I start a series I either read it pretty much straight through to the end, with very brief breaks if it’s a long series, or I abandon it altogether if I stop enjoying it.

For me it’s mostly about the immersion. Whatever book I’m reading becomes my world away from the world for that period of time. I like to devote myself exclusively to one story and get as much out of it as I can. With a series, reading it straight through also helps me to keep all the details and nuances fresh in my head so I can better appreciate the connections and pay-offs in later books. When I tried reading multiple books in my youth, I also found that I would resent time spent reading whichever books weren’t the one I was enjoying the most, whereas I probably would have enjoyed those books just fine on their own merits when I saw them as the main event rather than a distraction.

I’m a really bad audiobook listener, but every now and then I give them another try. During those times I do have two books going at once, but I tend not to think of it that way because audiobooks are a separate activity that take up a completely different segment of my time. I would normally listen to audiobooks while driving and, alas, I can’t read a non-audio book at that time anyway. There are laws and stuff...

For the second question, “how much time each day do you spend reading?”, that’s harder for me to answer. It just depends on how much spare time I have and, while reading is high on the list of how I like to spend my spare time, I do have other interests that compete for that time. I also tend to get distracted while I read – by my own thoughts, by the cat, by e-mail, by whatever. So an hour spent “reading” may not actually represent an hour of reading. Over the past three years though, I seem to be maintaining a pretty consistent average of 100 pages a day.


message 38: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4625 comments well, in my defense, most of my bedtime books are slow reads designed to put me to sleep

and the bathroom books are usually short stories or history of simplistic reading that i can pick up for a few minutes read and then continue the next time I visit. I also often do rereads on that Kindle


message 39: by Carrie (new)

Carrie  (icanhasbooks) | 96 comments I always have more then one book on the go at the same time. There's usually 1 audio, 1 e-book, a graphic novel/manga, and at least 1 physical copy, sometimes more.

Like right now, I have an audio, and a library book in HC and of my own collection I have a HC and a paperback started and actively reading....I have many "currently reading" that I'm not actively reading but plan on getting back to.

Depends on the mood I'm in. There was a time I'd have different books in different rooms, bathroom, bedroom, purse book now I tend to take my mini pile around with me, from the bedside table to the table next to my favorite chair.The purse book is whichever I'm feeling at that moment when I'm going out of the house.


message 40: by Joon (new)

Joon (everythingbeeps) | 512 comments I don't deliberately juggle multiple books, but it's not uncommon for me to put one down for a bit to read another one and then go back to the first. I do that kind of a lot.

Typically though I'm just focused on one book at a time.


message 41: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 582 comments I always read one book. If it's part of a series, and I liked it, the next book will take priority over the subsequent book on my TBR pile.


message 42: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mazza (sarah_mazza) I actually can't do it. I don't like reading two books at the one time, unless one is non-fiction and completely unrelated. I watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix at the same time as reading the much later books in that series and it was incredibly confusing!


message 43: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mazza (sarah_mazza) Phillip wrote: "I always read one book. If it's part of a series, and I liked it, the next book will take priority over the subsequent book on my TBR pile."

Phillip I am the same!


message 44: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 404 comments I currently had to put aside a print fantasy anthology to read a book on my Kindle that I'd committed to review. I don't like doing this, but I wasn't in the middle of a story when I put it aside. So when I take it up again, I'll be starting a completely new story and won't have to recall plot or character details. This is probably the most ideal situation I'll ever have for putting a book aside.


message 45: by Marie (new)

Marie G | 49 comments You are not alone. I read multiple books at the same time. My commute to work is over an hour. Currently, on my way to work, I am listening to Baby Teeth and on my way home, I am listening to The Well of Ascension. I also read a non-fiction book for about an hour a few times a week (currently that is The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII. As long as the books are not similar in genre, I won't get them mixed up.


message 46: by Madao (new)

Madao (andromeda_horse) | 21 comments My brain just can't handle reading multiple books, since both the stories end up getting muddled up and I end up being confused. I had tried to do that a lot of times, but I ended up dropping both the books in the end.


message 47: by Kay (new)

Kay White I always have a fiction going on Audible for the commute, and a nonfiction hardcopy. I highlight nonfiction books as a sort of meditation and pleasure, so between that and having less time at home to read print, those books go much slower.

But there's the problem of trying to fit in fiction hardcopy that I wasn't able to get as an audiobook. It's a good problem to have, but I end up reading those as a third simultaneous book. Then the two print books go so very slowly that I feel a little guilt and impatience. 8-)


message 48: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (animeashley) | 1 comments I usually read 2 books at once with manga sprinkled inbetween, the books are rarely the same genre so ill read sci-fi/murder mystery alongside Warhammer Fantasy, or warhammer 40k alongside Druss. Sometimes ill be brave and go for 3-4 (morale permitting) and ive never tried audio books.

As for time spent reading? Hard to say.. id guess on average an hour or so a day, more so on my days off or when work is really slow. (some days i read for 3-4 hours solid other days its more 15mins haha)


message 49: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments I don't read multiple books at the same time and I am careful to not juggle series as well. The last time I did that, I had weird crossover dreams - Eragon fighting Voldemort, for example.
Since then, I usually take at least three days of break between books unless it's a sequel.


message 50: by CBRetriever (new)

CBRetriever | 4625 comments Lakhsesis wrote: "My brain just can't handle reading multiple books, since both the stories end up getting muddled up and I end up being confused. I had tried to do that a lot of times, but I ended up dropping both ..."

it's a bit difficult to do that with a mystery set in modern times and a fantasy set in a medieval type world and a space opera. The only times I've had a problem is when the genres approach each other.

Dresden files and any modern mystery are too close
ditto for
Game of Thrones and a Cadfael mystery


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