Do you read multiple books at once?

02/10/2019 Discussions, Reading 11

If you’d asked me a few months ago if I ever read multiple books at the same time, I’d have been horrified at the very suggestion. Multiple books at once? I mean, isn’t that like cheating on your current read? And how do you even keep track of all the storylines? Madness!

But recently I seem to have slipped into the habit of having multiple books on the go at once, but with one huge caveat: they have to be completely different formats. By that I mean I don’t read three novels at the same time: I’ll be reading a novel, a non-fiction book, a manga series and perhaps an audiobook (which I’m currently trying to get into!).

This works for me, as each ‘type’ of reading has its place. The bulk of my reading will be whatever novel I’m currently on, whilst I’ll read a little non-fiction here and there, maybe getting through one book a month in that category. Audiobooks I pretty much exclusively listen to in the car, and I tend to read a few chapters of manga each morning before work because it just seems a little easier to get through when my brain is still sleepy! Plus the episodic nature of manga makes it feel more like keeping up with a TV show than reading really, so I never feel like there’s a danger of getting it confused with whatever novel I’m currently reading.

Because that would be the main worry, if I tried to read multiple novels at once. I’ve heard of people who do this, but I honestly don’t know how they keep all the stories and characters straight in their head. I can see why it might be nice to have multiple stories to choose from when you sit down to read (because I hate when you’re in the middle of a book and just suddenly realise you are not in the mood to read it right now!), but I think if I was jumping around between different books I would forget what had happened in each of them, or start mixing up the storylines. Especially if they were the same genre!

So do you ever read multiple books at the same time? If you do, are they different formats, or can you read several novels at once (and if you do this, how?! I seriously need to know!)?

11 Responses to “Do you read multiple books at once?”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    Well yes, I do read multiple novels (and other books) at once — and I don’t have any trouble keeping the storylines separate. I’ve been doing it for so long, I just don’t think about how it works! I suppose I would tend to choose books that are quite different from one another, and certainly not with similar character names. That would definitely make it hard to keep track.

    If you’ve read a book that has within it multiple story lines, it’s not such a different kind of experience. I think you look for the same clues to orient yourself: characters, narrative voice, setting, time frame.

    • Laura

      I’m definitely impressed that you read several novels at the same time, and I love the way you describe it as like books having multiple storylines. That makes it sound a lot less confusing than I’ve always thought it would be. Maybe I will give it a try sometime, just to see how it goes!

  2. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I’m the same way! I can be a book polygamist, but the books have to be in different formats. Right now, I’m reading one novel and one audiobook. I don’t like reading multiple novels or multiple nonfiction books at the same time because it reminds me of being in college. Reading in college was stressful!

    • Laura

      I know what you mean. I did English Literature at university, and so had to read loads of different books at the same time for different classes, and it was so stressful!

  3. Angela

    I definitely read more than one book at a time. Sometimes they are all different genres, but not always! I generally have at least a YA and an adult fiction going.

  4. Liliana

    Because I’m such a mood reader, I do! My mood just changes so fast I just start a book even though I’m already reading one. I let my moods guide as to what book I want to read at that moment. I’ve been doing this for a while, but I’ve never mixed up books or storylines. I guess because the books I read are so different, there’s no way I could mix them up. Also, I usually don’t read more than 4 books at a time, so that makes it pretty manageable as well.

    BTW, how do you like Tokyo Ghoul?? I’ve been thinking about watching the anime, but I haven’t yet.

    • Laura

      I’m definitely a mood reader too, so maybe I should try reading multiple novels at once? I guess if they were different enough I probably wouldn’t mix up the storylines.
      And I’ve been loving Tokyo Ghoul so far! I’ve only read the first four volumes, but I’ve definitely been enjoying it. I hope you enjoy the anime if you watch it! 🙂

  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I never read multiple books at once before blogging, but I definitely do it now. For one thing, I constantly have an audiobook going along with my other reading. But occasionally, I also have a book started on the Kindle and a physical book—and maybe a manga as well. I’m a total cheater these days. LOL!

    • Laura

      I’d definitely never considered reading multiple books at once until blogging either! The audiobook thing seems like a good idea, and I’ve been trying that out lately, and I like the idea of having a physical book and an ebook on the go at the same time. Maybe I could read multiple novels at the same time like that? I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

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