Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I’ve always been amazed by people who can read several books at once. I’ve always wondered how in the world they can keep track of where they are at. I think I’d start confusing the characters and struggle to keep any sort of continuity. I personally like to delve into one book at a time and only start another when the prior one is complete.

Although that said, I do have a book on my iPhone that I read on the fly. I open it up whenever I get a chance and read a couple of pages here and there. In my car before work, while I’m waiting in a line for something… it’s my “boredom buster”.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or can you juggle multiple?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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26 Responses to Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

  1. Jay says:

    I have enough trouble reading one at a time…I’m a slow reader. I tried three once but lost interest in all of them.


  2. I used to be able to juggle several books, but now I’m luckt to get through one lol


  3. Abbie Taylor says:

    I prefer to read one book at a time. However, after my late husband, who was totally blind, suffered two strokes that left him partially paralyzed, he downloaded over 100 talking books onto his portable device. He would listen to one for a while and then find another one and listen to it for a while. Someone joked that he might be the same way with his women, but I don’t think so.


  4. Anna Dobritt says:

    I prefer to read several books at once. At least three fiction and two non fiction if possible. 😀


  5. Kathleen says:

    I tend to read more than one book at a time. I have half a dozen I am reading. Sometimes I will read from this book; other times I will read from that book. It depends on my mood which book I choose to read. I do remember where I left off if it hasn’t been longer than a month since I opened that particular book.


  6. Ken Dowell says:

    I always read one book at a time. The only exception I can think of is if I don’t have the book I’m reading available, like if I go on a trip and forget to bring the book. I also almost always finish the book I’m reading no matter how much I don’t like it. I can’t really explain why, all reason suggests its a waste of time to finish a book you hate.


  7. Emily Witt says:

    In the past I used to read more than one at a time, but I’m very much on the one-at-a-time wagon now. It’s not that I get characters confused or anything, more that if I start too many I just forget what’s happened in the time that I was reading something else.


  8. Shell says:

    Funny that as of today I am reading the following:
    – American Sniper
    – Chocolat
    – The Vampire Armand (For the 3rd time)

    I love reading as much as I do writing.


  9. Oh man, my tiny brain cannot handle two books at once. I love the idea of it because I would get through so many more books (maybe!?), but I’d end up getting them so confused.


  10. Jess says:

    I am one of those strange people who can have multiple books on the go. I don’t really know how I keep them separate, I just do. Often i have a fiction and a non-fiction book on the go as well, which helps.
    Although at the moment I have like twenty books sitting on my to-read pile, so I should probably stop dipping in and out of them, and actually sit down to do some serious reading to get through them!


  11. I am an EXTREMELY slow reader. I have several books started at my bedside at once. I find one that captures my interest more than another or that seems to move more quickly, so I read that one. I don’t seem to find reading time until bedtime. Then I am too tired to read very long.

    I get the most “reading” done by listening to books that I download from the library. The ride to work is about 10 minutes and all the trips we take from place to place adds up. I can finish a novel this way in less than 2 weeks. I also have a Kindle book to read, either on my Kindle or phone when I am stuck somewhere waiting.

    I don’t seem to get plots or characters confused, if the book is written well. That helps me in writing my own books. If characters and plots confuse the reader they won’t stay engaged.


  12. Sam says:

    I have a ‘boredom buster’ as well on my phone. It’s great for waiting at the doctor’s office! I’m actively reading three books right now: physical, ebook (boredom buster), and audio. That helps me keep them all straight! Happy reading.


  13. I used to only read one book at a time, but as I got older, I tend to never only be reading one. I normally have one on my phone that I too read on the fly ( in the bathroom too… *ahem*), but I also have two physical books that I read. One of them is normally a longer novel (right now it’s A Clash of Kings) that I read off and on but is generally too long and too complicated to read in one sitting. The other is a shorter book, normally under 250 pages, that I can read within a week or two. I just finished Slaughterhouse Five that I read in 6 days, and now I’m reading The Bell Jar. Oh, and I forgot my nonfiction books. I’m reading one on marketing for books, and one about Native American myths (both to help with my writing career and inspiration). So, five on the go at the moment?


  14. Maggie says:

    When I’m really on a roll, I’ve had to restrict myself to no more than half a dozen books at any given time. I usually have several different genres going at once (a classic, a mystery, a SF, an anthology, a non-fiction, etc.), so I can pick up whatever book I’m most in the mood for. It does slow down my completion time, but it often keeps me reading continuously, rather than finishing something and taking a while to get around to picking something else (and the decision-making of what book that’ll be). 🙂

    Right now, I think I’m reading one classic (Swan Song by John Galsworthy), one non-fiction (The Hub: Boston Past and Present), and one writing-related book (Wonderbook by Jeff Vandemeer). I think that’s all…


  15. Jess says:

    Very rarely do I have two books overlapping. I am a true one-book-at-a-time reader. Just last week my mother gave me a new book (“Death Comes to Pemberley” by P.D. James – I can’t wait!) and since I’m finishing up an old favorite, I had to tell her I haven’t started the new one yet. Thanks for this post and all the replies that tell me I’m not alone!


  16. I do prefer to read one book at a time. I have occasionally read more than one book at a time and haven’t gotten the story line or characters confused. It’s easier if you are reading different genres, I think.


  17. Heather says:

    I am usually reading up to 5 books at a time. I’m so impatient that I can’t wait to start a new book. It’s also the reason I am usually up super late at night (or early morning) making sure I read a little bit of each book. I just love reading so much I try to devour them all at once. I don’t have any trouble remembering what is going on, but I also have a notebook (I call it my nerd notes) where I right down things about the books I’m reading. Comes in handy when I am writing book reviews.


  18. Jean Cogdell says:

    I do both. Depends on the books. Research books I juggle more than one. A fiction story that grips me I don’t put down until finished.


  19. SarahClare says:

    Oh, this was an interesting post because it got me thinking on my own reading habits, and actually, I was surprised how much they’ve changed. I used to have a bajillion books on the go and it was just how I read. But now? I’m a one book gal. I mean, I can go between books if I have to read some for my Masters, but I only ever have one main read open at a time.

    ..maybe it’s a sign I’m getting old… I can only remember one storyline at a time! xD


  20. EJ Jackson says:

    I tend to have several on the go at any one time… but will often start a new one if one (or more) aren’t riveting enough to keep me reading. Sometimes I won’t finish a book, although I will always feel bad about it! I’ve been known to read three or four books on a one-week holiday…


  21. athling2001 says:

    I always seem to have 4-5 books going at once.


  22. Liza Barrett says:

    I can read multiple books at a time if I’m using different media. I usually have one up on my kindle/phone, one real book, and one on Audible at once. That said, once I get really into one, I normally don’t really stay engaged in the others until I finish that one.


  23. anowink says:

    I’m a slow reader, and I’d probably be better off reading one at a time. But I have commitment issues, so I’m always in the middle of about 10 or so books!


  24. Kathryn says:

    I can read a number of books at once, it helps that they are usually really different genres of books though so its easy to keep the stories and characters clear in my mind. When I find a great book I have to read it asap so I wont usually read other books at the same time.

    My main reason for multiple books is that some can be heavy or hardcover and they are easier to read at home. So I’ll take a paperback to work to read during my break. I always have to be reading something 🙂

    Great post!


  25. Crystal says:

    I prefer to read one book at a time. I have tried reading a couple books at the same time and I don’t like it much. When I read, I like to immerse myself into the story and I find reading several books at the same time, makes it challenging to do that.


  26. Brix says:

    One book at a time. I seem to find a lot that I really like. Once I start one, I just have to finish it. That’s my biggest problem… I like a lot of the books I read, so it’s like I check out for a couple of days and just read. And my favorite book is usually the one I just fnished. Now reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.


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