Lola’s Ramblings: How Many Books Do You Read at Once?

Posted July 30, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 44 Comments


Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me or ramble on about a book or non-book related topic. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from My Limabean Designs.

Since earlier this year I made the big change from only reading one book at the time to reading two books at the same time. I thought it would be interesting to address my opinion about reading one and multiple books and how I handle reading two books at the same time. I think that in general there are three types of readers, those who only read one book; those who only read two or a set maximum amount or a defined amount of books at once; and those who read anywhere from 1 till X amount of books depending on the moment and their mood or other factors. I nowadays fall in the category of reading two books at once. And while I changed from reading one book to two books now I still handle my reading in much the same way.

Reading only one book at once

Smarties and Ghost HoldFor as long as I can remember reading I only read one book at once. In a few cases I might read a non-fiction book for school or university, a fiction novel and a manga at the same time, but as those are all very different ways of reading so that worked for me. I always thought that when reading multiple books, reading different formats or genres must be necessary to keep the books seperate.
So I only read one fiction book at once, I choose a book and keep reading only that one until I either finish it or DNF. And I had my reasons for that. I tried reading more than one book for example when my current read didn’t keep my interest and I picked up another book, but every time I tried that one of the books grabbed my attention more, I finished that one first and then continued with the other one. So in fact I mitgh start two books, but still ended up reading only one and then continuing the other one after I finished that one. I can remember one evening where I kept switching reading one chapter from book A and one chapter from book B as I couldn’t decide which one to continue, both were about equally enjoyable. In the end one of them still won and get read first. After those tries I decided reading more than one book at a time wasn’t for me and I stayed with my tried and true method of reading only one book at once. Then I always thought that when reading more books at a time it would become confusing and I would start to confuse the books with each other and couldn’t remember the plots of the seperate books. So until early 2015 I only read one book at once

Pro’s and cons of reading only one book at once

Below are some pro’s and cons of reading only one book that I could think of. Although I don’t necessarily experience these.

  • Comeplete focus and attention for one book
  • Don’t get distracted by other books
  • Easier to keep track of things/ stay in the story
  • Can’t switch to other book if you’re not in the mood for it or not enjoying your current read.
  • Might finish books faster as you’re only reading one book

Reading two books at the same time and how I handle it

Skittles with Camp BoyfriendEarly 2015 I had this time where I read very slowly, I only read one book a week and I was struggling having enough reviews on my blog. Then I came up with the idea to read a book on my ipad during breakfast instead of playing a silly game I didn’t really care about, except for the fact it was habbit and I don’t easily break habbits. So when the internet was down one instead of playing my usually ipad app game I started reading one of the books I had collected on my kindle app. Eventually I stopped playing my ipad app game during breakfast and started reading instead, even though that second book still took me a week or more to read as well, in total I got two or three more books read each month and I could finally make a dent into that list of books I couldn’t read on my Kobo because I got them from either amazon as a freebies or from netgalley for review.
Ever since then I read two books at once, one is called my “breakfast book” or my “ipad book” and the other is my “evening book” or “read before sleep book”. My Breakfast book I only read during breakfast or during dinner, when I eat dinner alone. I might pick it up when I am eating some apple crumble in the evenings or during lunch now and then, but basically I read this one during the day and often when I am eating something. Then there is my evening book that I read about an hour before I go to sleep. This might be either a hardcopy or on my Kobo.
I never read more than two books at once. And I still very much treat each book like I did when I only read one book at once. I start a book on my ipad and read it until I DNF or finish, same goes with my evening book. The books are also clearly seperated by when I read them and surprisingly enough I don’t find it hard at all to keep those two books seperate. I thought it would be confusing, but it isn’t. Even when I am reading the same genre as breakfast and as evening book I can keep them seperate, although often I do read different genres. They are also on different devices which also helps me seperate them. I never read my breakfast book before going to sleep and I never read my evening book during the day. For me it helps to have such a clear seperation between the two books. I also have come to realize that not having complete focus on one book isn’t a problem when you have different uses or moments for each book. On the other my strict distinction between the two also means I can’t easily switch to the other book, while I think that would generally be one of the pro’s of reading multiple books for most people, but I like having that strict seperation.

Pro’s and cons of reading more than one book at once

Doggy BookrestBelow are some pro’s and cons of reading more than one book that I could think of. Although these not all apply to me. For example so far I’ve never gotten confused when reading more than one book.

  • More variety of books you are reading at any moment.
  • Can switch to another book if not in the mood for one of them.
  • Read different genres at the same time.
  • Less likely to get bored with any of them as you can simply switch to the other book.
  • Might be confusing/ harder to keep track of things.
  • Might have to read different genres or format to make them easier to seperate.
  • Might have one book you are enjoying more and focus on.

How many books do you read at once and why? And if you read more than one how do you handle this? What’s the largest amount of books you read at once?


44 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How Many Books Do You Read at Once?

  1. I used to just read the one book at a time but my book rules have changed a bit. I might read a few chapters of a book and despite enjoying it, might not feel like reading more of it that night so I’ll start something totally different-maybe something non fiction. Then I switch between them as the mood takes me. But my rule is that by the end of the month, all unfinished books need to be dealt with so I can start the next month fresh! Most I’ve had on the go at the same time was 4…one urban fantasy, one tudor fiction, one biography and a kid’s book. I prefer not to do that many!
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Chuckles Corrie Mania #6My Profile

    • I think 2 books is my maximum, but I like how you handle reading more than one book and how by the end of the month you have to wrap them up one way or another. Although at least all those 4 boosk you read at ocne were very different, I guess that does help.

  2. Personally I can only ever read one book at a time. The only time I’ve ever tried to read two at once I read a novel, and a short story collection, but I ended up mostly focusing on the novel, and to this day I haven’t finished that short story collection. I think especially if one book is really good, I would just end up reading that one and forgetting about the other.
    I like the idea of a breakfast book though! I’m a pretty slow reader myself these days, so I would definitely get through more books if I tried something like that.
    Laura recently posted…New Books, Second-hand Books or Ebooks?My Profile

    • I agree when I read two books at the same time and one is especially good that one wins and I just ignore the other book. I think the only reason that I can read two books nowadays is because switching isn’t an option, I won’t read my evening book during brekafast, so I will read both books anyway and neither can win. And I would hate for my Kobo or physical book to get dirty, so my breakfast book always is my ipad and I don’t care as much when it get’s dirty. It often has a few splatters of milk form my breakfats on it and I clean the screen once in a while.

  3. I’ve started reading one book and listening to one audio at the same time. I find this works best for me and I usually ake sure they aren’t in the same genre as each other to keep them straight. I usually listen to the audio in the car, when I take my kids for a walk or when I am cooking dinner. I read the rest of the time. I don’t think I could read two actual books at the same time though for some reason.
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Burn, Rewrite, Reread tagMy Profile

  4. Great discussion! This is a really interesting topic, because I used to only be able to read one book at a time. And then I changed that when I was given reading material for school — I’d read the required reading at the same time I’d read something of my choosing. Now that I’m not at school though, I still read two books at a time generally — sometimes (although VERY rarely) three. Lately I’m finding myself reading more and more adult novels… but the problem with that is that they’re usually larger, and I get through them slower. Which is frustrating. So what I do is I’ll read one book — usually large or quite thick — and then I’ll have another (smaller) book on the side. Haha. I’m not sure that really made much sense, but I guess I just like to feel like I’m making some progress toward my reading.
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…The Martian || An Out of this World Novel (Oh, you totally saw that coming!)My Profile

    • Oh another person who switched from one to two books, yay! Glad to know I am not the only who did that. I usually get slowly through both books I am reading, but at least I get twice as much books read as I use time to spent reading which I didn’t spent readign at first.

  5. I use to be a monogamist when it came to books. Not anymore. I listen to one and read two. One book I read about 100 pages day, the other 50 then listen to an audiobook. I make sure each book is a different genre. For example right now I am reading a fantasy and psychological thriller. On audio I am listening to a victorian era urban fantasy.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…The Forgotten by Heather GrahamMy Profile

    • I hear from a lot of audiobook readers who do that one audiobook and one normal book. I think the different format would probably help to keep them seperate. I usually am not in the mood for the same genre, which I why I read two different genres, I just finished a contemporary romance for my evening book and historical romance for breakfast book.

  6. I was a monogamist when it comes to books until I found audiobooks. For some reason, audiobooks feel like they “don’t count.” Lol. Isn’t that weird? SO I now allow myself to listen to one audiobook and read one regular books (paperback or kindle) at a time. I can’t handle any more than that.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Teaser Thursday: PensMy Profile

  7. I read just one book at once and if I’m going to write a review for it, I have to do that right after I’ve finished the book. I can’t just right into another book and then write two reviews. I lose my focus and end up forgetting things I wanted to write down. Lots of time I will even take notes a I read a book so I don’t forget something I want to mention in a review. My mom though, she would read two or three books at once. She would have book in the bathroom, one in the bedroom and one in the living room and she would only read those books when she was in those rooms. I always thought it was weird. lol
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Product Review: Tiny Toys Bath Toy OrganizerMy Profile

    • Same here, I can’t start a new book before I have written my review. I don’t take notes, but I do force myself to write my review as soon as possible as then everything is still fresh and I remember most of my thoughts and feelings and will be better able to communicate them in my review. Oh I like that idea of how your mom had a book associated with the room, that probably helped for her, for me having my two books seperate by when I read them really works.

  8. The most I’ve ever read was four books at one time. I was listening to one book in the car, one in the house, one I was reading at home, and one I read at break at work. But generally I don’t read more than 2 at once. I will often have an audiobook going and a print book I’m reading and I like it that way.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Audio Review: Castles by Julie GarwoodMy Profile

    • I can imagine reading that many books if you have different formats and places to read them. I like coupling my books to a time/ location to read. I think for me 2 books at once is my maximum.

    • I think you are the first one to say she has no preference, although it does sound like it works for you to just read how many books you want. I have had no trouble keepign my books seperate so far, I always thought I would, but luckily that doens’t happen.

    • I don’t think I could handle 3 books either, I have no clue when I would read the third one, lol. Reading two books in a different format/ device works for me too.

  9. I used to read one book too, but ever since my school allow its student to bring their phone to school, I started to read 2 books at once. Usually, I read books in my kindle/e-arcs when I’m at school (it’s easier to bring!) and read physical books at home. So far it’s great!
    Tiffany @ The Bookish Thought recently posted…Monthly Recap : JulyMy Profile

    • I think seperating them with device and time to read like you do really works when reading two books. That’s neat you can get some reading time in when you’re on school!

  10. I used to only read 1 book at a time. And then I got a job where I was allowed to read at work if we weren’t busy! It’s easier to read on my Kindle at work, so I started having a book I read at home (usually physical book), and then the book I’m reading on my Kindle.

    So now I read 2 books at once. I don’t read the book on my Kindle unless I’m either at work, or driving somewhere (or the book is in the last 10% and I want to finish it.) The physical book I only read at home.

    I used to be worried I’d get the stories mixed up, but they stay fairly separate in my head. And reading 2 at once has meant I’ve gotten a lot more read than I used to, and thus have been able to schedule a months worth of reviews in advance. I don’t think I’d want to try more than 2 books at once though.
    Silvara recently posted…July Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • You know that is pretty neat you can read on your work when it isn’t too busy! I cna imagine you get quite soem reading time in there.

      Same here, I always thought I would confused when reading two books, but so far that hasn’t happened. And I think seperating the two books with when and how you read them really works as well. So none of them can win as you can’t read either of them all the time. It certainly helsp to read two books and I can get more reading done. I haven’t build much of a buffer yet, but hopefully in the future I will manage to stay at least two weeks ahead with reviews.

  11. For years, I had 2 or 3 books going, and as I ‘ve gotten older it has narrowed down to 1 at a time. I am not great at remembering a book once I’ve finished it, usually just if I liked it and sometimes why. So especially with reviewing for the blog I need to stick to one and take notes or highlight so I can remember things for writing the review. If I were going to read more than one at a time they would have to be significantly different. The last 4 books I read were all very similar and if I had read any at the same time I would have gotten confused.
    Elizabeth recently posted…July ReviewMy Profile

    • My memory is usually pretty good, but even so I have to write my review as soon as possible as else I forget things I wanted to say. I usually do read 2 different genres, but also the time and device I read them on helps me keep them apart.

  12. I’ve always read multiple books together. Right now I have an audiobook that I’ll listen to while walking or doing housework. I have a thriller that I’m reading but as I don’t like reading that late at night, I also have a contemporary romance on the go. That way I find I always have a book to suit my mood and I never get confused between them all.
    I think its one of those things that until you try it you don’t know if it will work for you or not.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #73My Profile

    • Oh I can imagine how reading a thriller late at night wouldn’t be the best idea. I like your mindset of always having a book to fit your mood. So far with my two books I don’t get confused, even though I always assumed that was an issue. And indeed you just have to give reading multiple books a try before you know if it works. I never thought I would be able to read two books at the same time, but it’s working out great for me and I get more reading done this way.

  13. I almost always read one book at a time, BUT I have occasionally gotten into the habit of reading a Kindle book along with a physical book sometimes. I read pretty fast, so I usually take only a day or two to read a book, but if I’m taking longer and I need to go somewhere, I often start a book on my phone too. It’s definitely convenient that way!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore – 8/2/15My Profile

    • I think I was tempted to read anither book because I read pretty slow and this gave me the opportunity to read more. I am not sure if I could read on a phone it seems the screen is so small but then again I still have one of those old phones. It is convenient to be able to read everywhere.

  14. I don’t know if I’ve ever read more than one book at once (not counting school books). I just find it hard to jump back into a book when you’ve been so focused on a different one. Especially in fantasy, I want to get sucked into the world building and if I’m reading about two different worlds, it could get very confusing for me. I’d also probably have bad book amnesia with the book that I stopped reading and came back to. I blame short term memory loss haha 🙂
    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted…Everything, Everything and The Girl Who is Allergic to the WorldMy Profile

    • With my way of reading it doesn’t feel like I’ve been focussed on another book, but that’s why I don’t read two at the same time. As then I prefer staying with the one I am reading. As long as the world building is done well I don’t think I would have an issue reading about two different worlds.

  15. I usually read one book at a time, but this summer I’ve taken to reading one book throughout the day, and a romance at night before bed. Partly because I’ve been reading a lot of suspenseful books lately, and I rather not have that in my head before bed. LOL! But you’re right. Usually one book sucks you in more. For me its been the romance, because of steamy action. Plus, they tend to be fast reads. Whatever I’m reading, the books have to be very different, or I’ll confuse them. I don’t take notes on the books I read for review, so this would be a disaster.
    Tiffany recently posted…Cover Reveal: The Divide (Dreamland Series) by E. J. MellowMy Profile

  16. I am a mood reader. Most of the books I’m currently are picked based on my mood at that time. So it’s hard to say how many books I read at once. Sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes even more.

    I agree with you on the pros and cons on reading more than a book at the same time, especially on the confusing/harder to keep track of things point. So normally, I would try to mix only reading one copy of ARC with another copy of book read for fun. In that case, I would only remember the important points read on the ARC to avoid confusion.
    Regina Foo recently posted…Abandoning a Book Due to Comprehension ProblemMy Profile

    • I am also a moodreads, but I still have to finish a book before I start a new one or DNF it. Even though I read two books at the same time now, I still follow that rule. I actually haven’t found reading more than one book at the same time confusing so far.

  17. So until I finished one book today, I was juggling 6 of them! Which is probably a record for me. I haven’t picked up the second Game of Thrones in almost two months, I think, and then there are some different formats (hardback, paperback, ebook, ARC) and different genres (fantasy, non-fiction, sci-fi, contemporary) to keep me occupied at any given time. I’m also doing ARC August, which adds one or two more books to my list. It’s insane right now, haha! But I’m doing okay, even with my horrible memory. 🙂 I do like juggling two or three books at any given time, so I can switch back and forth depending on what I’m in the mood for.
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…The Six by Mark AlpertMy Profile

    • Wow 6 books, I can’t imagine reading that many at the same time. That’s good to hear you manage juggling all those books, as long as it works for you, why not? I do read two books at the same time, but never switch back and forth as I dislike that. They both have their set times when I read them.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.