Books · Interests

Which is better…one book at a time or multiple books at once?

My post today is inspired by when I went to pick up a book earlier on (yes I’m finally back reading again), and I realised that I am reading four books at the same time, which is the most I’ve ever had on the go at once. It made me think about how my reading habits have changed, at least regarding how many books I read at the same time. So, I thought today I’d talk about it a little.

I hope you enjoy!

I always used to read one book at a time, I couldn’t focus on more than that, and if I tried I found myself getting confused. Also, if the genres were too similar then it was even harder to keep the plots separate. However, since I stepped up the book content on this blog, and since I have discovered so many books that I want to read, and accumulated books that I have requested to review or been asked to review I have found myself reading multiple titles at the same time.

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I thought it would be difficult to keep up with but reading slumps aside it has actually been really easy to adjust to. I don’t know what changed, maybe nothing, perhaps I just overcomplicated things before, but as I said it was a really easy adjustment and now I can’t imagine going back to reading one book at a time.

I don’t even shy away from books in the same genre anymore and I think I may even enjoy reading more than before. Why? Well, with multiple books on the go at once I feel even more impatient to get back to whichever title I’m not reading at that moment, even if I’m really enjoying the one that I have picked up.

I’ve read many blog posts by other bloggers where they have touched upon this topic and mostly (from the ones that I have read anyway) it seems like the popular choice is to have one physical book, one eBook and one audiobook at one time. But for me I don’t have to be reading in multiple formats. The four books that I am currently reading are all physical books, one hardback and three paperbacks. In my opinion the format doesn’t make it any easier or harder to differentiate between books so I’m intrigued to know what makes it easier for others to separate their reading if they approach it in this way. If that’s how you approach reading I’d love to hear why you you prefer this method.

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As I said earlier I can’t imagine going back to reading one book at a time now. I much prefer to have multiple titles on the go at once. I think my reading speed has actually increased since I’ve used this approach. I don’t know why that is, perhaps the pressure to finish a book that I have already started is greater than the pressure of a giant stack of unread titles.

This is the beauty of reading in my opinion…it’s subjective. There is no ‘one size fits all’. For every person that loves one book there is bound to be another that hates it. For every person with one set of reading habits there will be another who does the opposite. So, whilst the idea of more than one book at a time might give you cold shivers, for me it’s the reading approach I didn’t realise I needed.

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How do you approach reading? Do you read one book at a time or multiple books at once? Has your approach changed over the years? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x

33 thoughts on “Which is better…one book at a time or multiple books at once?

  1. Non-fiction, I’m reading two books at once – one the Cassell’s Household Guide, 1912, all six volumes, hardback subscribers’ edition, for the secure middle classes, alternating with Round About A Pound A Week, 1913, Fabian report on poverty in Lambeth. Related to work as an O.U. tutor, taking a break from fiction. Β£ 1 was the average wage, not rock bottom.

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  2. This is a really interesting discussion!!! I never used to read multiple books in the same format but since starting uni I’ve taken up this approach – it means I can break up my required reading with books I’ve chosen myself. I often wonder if I’ll continue this habit after I graduate though? It might be nice to have a heavier non fiction book or classic on the go at the same time as a lighter read. As you say, it’s wonderful that our reading habits can be so individual and flexible! πŸ“šβ€οΈ X

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    1. It’s great that you can combine required reading with your own choices, my reading for pleasure really suffered when I was at uni and I didn’t really read anything that I had picked for myself. Yes I agree, I’m reading Les Mis currently and I’ve found I’ve been able to stick with it and not feel overwhelmed by its size because I have other books on the go at the same time…it takes some pressure off 😊 x

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    1. I love paperbacks, so easy and convenient and because I always have a bag with me I don’t find them an issue to carry around with me either, I wonder if that contributes to a lot of people switching to ebooks πŸ€” yes different genres definitely helps to avoid any confusion…some plot lines are just too similar!

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  3. I’m glad you have reached the end of your reading slump, Jess, having just experienced and come out the other side of one myself, I know the feeling. My reading habbits have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years, but I think I have gone in the opposit direction than you. I used to read multiple books at a time, although it needed to be across genres to avoid confusion, but even with this variety, I was starting to experience a serious overload of information, so I switched to one at a time. I also think the size of books may have something to do with my change in habbits. A fair amount of the books I have read in the last couple of years have been very long, the last one being over 1000 pages. Through reading it completely in isolation, I was able to get through it in around 10 days, though if I had been reading other things at the same time, it would probably have taken me months, and I would have lost the thread and become bored. I love the way we all find our own methods to suit our styles and tastes.

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    1. It’s a horrible feeling isn’t it, I’m glad to hear you’ve come out the other side of yours also 😊 it’s so interesting how what works for one doesn’t for another, I was worried that I’d be overloaded on information as you say you were but so far so good 😊 have you found your reading enjoyment has increased since making the switch to one book at a time? I agree, that’s the beauty of reading, it’s all about the individual 😊

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      1. I definitely enjoy reading much more since I switched to one book at a time, and I am able to retain much more information this way I also find I am reading a lot faster, and although I am reading less at one time, it possibly works out as more in the long run.

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      2. That’s great that there are so many positives for you. Interesting as well that the switch has resulted in you reading more, the opposite switch has caused the same effect for me. It’s great to find what works for us because there are so many great books to get through 😊

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  4. I am currently reading two different books, but that is quite rare for me. I usually prefer one book at a time as I like to give it my undivided attention. If I read two at once, they have to at least be from different genres so I don’t get mixed up. Excellent post, Jess! 😊

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      1. Yes, a lot of the book blogging community seem to have no problem reading several at once! I do find it tricky, because when I return to one book after reading the other, I am more likely to forget what happened before, I feel. πŸ™‚

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  5. Like you Jess, I can read two books at the same time as long as they’re completely different genres. Reading two novels at the same time would confuse me. But if I’m reading a novel and anything psychology-related, I can do it πŸ™‚ Thought-provoking post.

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    1. I used to say the same, couldn’t fathom more than one at a time but now I’m the opposite, I wonder how I stuck to one. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself, but then if it’s working for you as you are now then perhaps it’s not worth the risk 😊

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  6. I enjoyed reading this. It’s something I have been considering myself as I want to step my reading up a bit in order to be able to write more reviews. I’m a one book at a time person. However, I am wondering whether having an audio book of something else on the go at the same time might work. Its interesting what you say about different genres and it making you read faster. I suppose with 4 on the go you can choose which one to read according to what mood you are in?

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    1. Thank you 😊 I can definitely recommend it with regards getting through more books in order to review. That is why I gave it a go, I wanted to take my blog in a direction where it had more book content but I wasn’t getting through enough books quickly enough. I’ve noticed massive improvements now. I can’t comment on audiobooks because I haven’t tried one before, I’ve read so many blog posts praising them though that I am definitely going to try one when I’ve cleared some of my reading backlog. Do you use audiobooks already or would it be a new experience for you also? Yes if I vary the genres then I always have something on the go to match my current mood, this is so helpful for me because I do have to be ‘in the mood’ for a particular type of book or I won’t read anything at all.

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      1. Yes, I realised quite quickly after starting my blog that I wanted to focus on including more book content. I have also just started the Instagram page and I wanted to have mainly book reviews on that. The problem is, I don’t seem to be able to read fast enough. I might give reading a few at a time a try. I have quite a low patience threshold with books, so if a book doesn’t grab me, I can’t focus on it. Reading a few different genres might work.
        With regards audiobooks, I haven’t tried this yet but have noticed quite a few bloggers referring to using them or to using a mixture of the audiobook and the hard copy. I have previously thought myself to prefer a physical book in my hands but I can see the appeal of consuming the book in a different way. It might be a quicker way to take in more books but also listening can be done at the same time as other things. One thing I do want to do is start to plan things out so the blog content has a mixture of the different topics and the reviews on a regular day. Do you schedule yours?

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      2. I’m quite a slow reader as well, if I try to speed up I struggle to take in what I’m reading which is unfortunate. I too can see the appeal of consuming books in a different way, particularly audiobooks because as you say you can be doing other things at the same time. I do plan and schedule yes, I try to post twice a week with one book review and one post of another topic just to include some variety. I love books and I love book content but I wouldn’t class myself as a book blog, because I like to talk about a mixture of things 😊

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      3. I like how you say you schedule – that makes sense. You have the benefit of the posts being a mixture of reviews and different topics but the structure to work to. Brill idea. I quite like Florence @ Miscellany Pages idea below – to be reading a heavier non fiction or classic at the same time as a lighter one. Your blog posts are very easy to engage with and I like your topics.

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      4. Yes exactly, I think the freedom but with an underlying structure is what has helped me to stick to it even when busy with other things. Yes it’s a fab idea isn’t it, and one that I think would definitely work, I’m actually reading Les Mis at the moment and I don’t think I’d be able to stick with it if I didn’t have other books on the go at the same time because it would just be too intimidating. Thank you, your blog posts are great also, really enjoyed having a read through yesterday. Speaking of that, I did try to comment on a couple but it wouldn’t allow comments, not sure if you’ve set that intentionally but if not I wanted to let you know in case it’s something you want to look at and change 😊

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      5. Yes, having the flexibility but knowing what to work towards will keep focus and structure without being overwhelming. Also working around other things -my son is moving to uni accomodation tomorrow so a good chance to put this to the test! I love Les Mis but have only seen the musical and the film. I imagine it isn’t light reading but offers things the musical and film do not. Thanks for letting me know, I thought I just had it so I would see the comments as they came and then approve them but that hasn’t worked. The joys of technology! Thank you, I saw that you had liked some of the posts yesterday.

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      6. Wow that’s a big change but I’m sure he’ll love his uni years, all the best to him 😊 I haven’t seen the musical or the film of Les Mis so I can’t comment on them but I’ll certainly seek them out when I finish the book. I wasn’t sure if the glitch was with me because I was having some technical issues as well, when I was liking posts it was registering and then removing my like and then registering it again, it was also registering and removing follows on blogs that I’ve followed for a while. It was only when comments worked elsewhere that I thought perhaps you were having some troubles like me.

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      7. Thank you. I’m sure he will enjoy it. He’s going to Manchester which is not too far from home and I feel reassured having seen the accomodation which is quite smart. Uni days are the best aren’t they?! I saw the Musical of Les Mis as a child and it has stayed with me. The songs are beautiful. Thanks for letting me know about the comments. I just assumed nobody had wanted to leave a comment. I think it is sorted know – I hope!! I hope you managed to get your technical issues sorted out? I did notice something where your likes from ages ago showed up as if they were new again the other day. The joys of technology!

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      8. Yes he’ll love it im sure 😊 musicals have always been a bit hit and miss for me, I seem to love or hate them, this one sounds great though. I think everything is sorted my side as well but who knows, I’m awful with technology πŸ˜‚

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      9. I know what you mean. The songs are very much tied in with the story. When I saw it I only grasped a rough idea of the story but was swept along by the music. I bet it’d be good to see having read the book. Fingers crossed no more tech problems πŸ˜‚

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