Doing Discussions: Reading Multiple Books At Once

September 18, 2019 Uncategorized 19

I recently told someone quite definitively that I only read one book at a time. Then I went to my goodreads page and saw that I had three books going at once! I just wasn’t counting all of them because there was only one I was just reading. The others were all books I was reading for particular reasons. That made me wonder when other people might read multiple books. Do you always do this? Never? Or only for specific reasons? If so, what are the cases where you’re likely to pick up more than one books?

Here are some of the reasons I can think of that people who are typically monogamous readers might pick up more than one book:

Read-a-longs/Reading with someone else

This is one of the main reasons I pick up more than one book at once. I always have a book I’m reading myself, but I may also be doing a buddy read with a blogger or with my sister. And I’m almost always in the middle of a book with my husband, which we read aloud together, typically over several months.

Books in multiple formats

At times, I’ve also had an audiobook going at the same time as a physical book. Typically I’ll do this when I have a long commute. I could also see someone having an ebook and a physical book going, since ebooks are so much more portable.

Books that relate to one another

I’m actually trying something new presently, as part of my effort to read more deeply. I’ve picked up pretty much every book my library had on depression era photographer Dorothy Lange. One is a biography and the others are photo collections. I’m reading the photo collections as I get to the relevant time period in the biography. So far, I’m really enjoying this approach!

Books in multiple genres

I don’t do this any more, but when I was in middle school and high school, I’d often have a fiction book and a nonfiction book going most of the time. I think part of the reason for this was that I was often reading somewhat dry, encyclopedia or text book style nonfiction. It was nice to have something lighter going at the same time!

Do you ever read multiple books? If so, what are your use cases?

19 Responses to “Doing Discussions: Reading Multiple Books At Once”

  1. Angela

    I definitely read more than one book at a time. I have one at home, an audiobook in the car during my commute, and one to read at lunchtime. It helps me maximize my reading time!

    • DoingDewey

      That seems like a great way to fit in the most reading! I currently bring the same book with me to read during lunch and don’t have a long enough commute to audiobook.

  2. Lisa W.

    I usually have 3 books going at once. A print or ebook that I’m reading when I’m settled at home, an audiobook at home for when I’m doing chores or cooking, and an audiobook in the car (I don’t have a really long commute but you’d be surprised what you can get through in a relatively short amount of time! The only trick is that they need to be distinctly different genre wise or I end up getting confused between the details of the different books!

    • DoingDewey

      Doing really different genres sounds much more manageable to me! I only have about a 15 minute commute and I was doing really long fantasy audiobooks when I started this job, so that felt pretty daunting. Maybe I should try to get back into it with a shorter book though 🙂

  3. Emma @ Words And Peace

    I ALWAYS read 4 books at a time or more: 2 on paper (1 is usually a novel, but the other one is always religious, one audio, and at least 1 digital. Sometimes I have 1 digital let’s say on my kindle, and another one on an app on my phone, like Serial Reader, or on Google play

    • DoingDewey

      Wow, you’re another reader who has more going on than I think I could handle. It seems like you’d always have something to fit your mood or the situation you’re reading in though, which would be nice 🙂

  4. Louloureads

    I normally have multiple books going at a time – one novel, one audiobook (this is almost always an Agatha Christie), and often a non-fiction book as well. I also sometimes feel like I need a break from a book, so I will pause, read a completely different book all the way through, and return to the book I was originally reading. I used to be a strictly one-at-a-time reader, and I’m not quite sure when this happened!

    • DoingDewey

      Ooh, I wish I’d specifically asked about people who’s reading habits have changed! I’d be very interested to know how common that is.

      Always having an Agatha Christie audiobook going sounds really nice to me – she’s one of my comfort reads 🙂

  5. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I almost always have more than one book going at once. Typically I’ll have one book that’s my main focus, then some ebooks that I’m dipping in and out of (I really prefer physical books, so I have a harder time motivating myself to read ebooks), and then at least one and usually two and sometimes three nonfiction books that I’m reading a chapter a day of. Right now, I’m reading a Jewish road trip romance novel on my tablet, a YA fantasy novel in print, a nonfiction book for Booklist, a library nonfiction book about conspiracy theories, and a nonfiction book that I own about cults in American history. Oh, and I’m rereading Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers.

    This may not count, but I also do this thing that a friend calling a “book tasting menu” where I’ll sit down with all my library books and read the first chapter or two of each one. So I don’t consider myself actively “reading” all the books I’ve tried, but I have gotten a little ways into a lot of books.

    • DoingDewey

      Wow! I can’t imagine having that much going on, but I do get that it’s fun for some people. Book tasting with a friend sounds delightful! I find that I have a hard time putting a book down after reading even a few pages though, so I’m not sure that method of reading books would work for me any more than reading many at once 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      I haven’t even tried reading multiple fiction books at once, with the exception of buddy reads. I’m pretty sure I’d get distracted too! I’m also worried I’d start mixing the up and getting confused 🙂

  6. Anjana Sundar

    I always read multiple bond/formats just to keep the momentum going …I try not to get into a rut with any genre it format because I then burn out quicker!

    • DoingDewey

      That’s really interesting! I think I’d find that overwhelming, but it seems to work for a lot of people. I’m glad we’re all able to make reading work for us 🙂

  7. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    I usually read two or three books at once, for the last reason you mentioned: books in multiple genres. For example, this week I was reading a book about The Lord of the Rings, an adult memoir, and a middle grade fantasy. This way I usually have a book that fits my ‘mood’ whatever time of day ;P

    • DoingDewey

      That seems more manageable to me than reading more similar books! I’m not sure I’d be able to keep track of what was what if I was reading multiple fantasy books, for example.

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