Let’s Talk: Reading Multiple Books At A Time

Let's-Talk-Reading-Multiple-Books-At-A-Time-She-Latitude-Book-Blog

In the stone age—and by that I mean before I discovered Goodreads—I used to read one book at a time. This was not necessarily by choice but more by convenience, more by chance. My step-by-step process kind of went like this:

  1. Fret over what to read.
  2. Finally settle on a book.
  3. Read that book until the end.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Now, though? It kind of goes like this:

  1. Fret over what to read.
  2. Go to Goodreads and add 50 books to my TBR.
  3. Fret over what to read from that 50.
  4. Finally settle on a book, let’s say Title A.
  5. Start Title A.
  6. Find Title A not the right fit for my current mood, so start Title B.
  7. Read Title B until the middle, where it becomes boring, so start Title C.
  8. Read Title C until the end.
  9. Pick up Title D until the middle, where it becomes boring, so continue with Title A.
  10. Read Title A until the end.
  11. Fret over what to read since Title B and Title C aren’t cutting it.
  12. Go to Goodreads and add 50 more books to my TBR.
  13. Rinse and repeat.

Currently I’m in the middle of The Forbidden Wish, Truthwitch, and The Scorpio Races. Some of these I’m just two or three chapters in, but some of them I’ve actually read past the halfway mark, often putting them aside to read something else. Admittedly, some of them will probably become DNF books, but right now I’m still in denial and publicly declaring that I am in fact still reading them. 😛

Certain titles I read cover-to-cover, mostly books that I am super excited for (The Rose and the Dagger) or can’t put down once I start reading (The Impostor Queen). In my experience, whether or not I read a book in one go doesn’t affect my opinion of the book at all — if a book is great, it’ll be great no matter how I read it.

Generally speaking, though, I am firmly in favour of reading multiple books at a time, a habit that’s sometimes termed poly-reading, multi-reading, or even chunking. At any given time I’m probably reading about 3-5 books with maybe one or two of them as my main reads. Here’s why. 🙂

1) I’m a mood-reader. A huge, oblivious mood-reader.

OK, I’m actually just a moody person in general with pretty much everything, but the point stands: it doesn’t matter how well-written and wonderful some books are — if I’m not in the right mood to read them, I just won’t enjoy them.

Apart from being a mood-reader, though, I’m also an oblivious mood-reader. Sometimes I wouldn’t realise that I’m not in the mood for a book until I’m three chapters in, and by that time, usually I’d already feel a bit invested in the characters and the story. I care, but I just don’t care enough… yet. So I’ll put it down, read something else, and then I’ll pick it back up when I actually want to know what happens. ❤

2) It reduces my immediate TBR pile.

Soooo I’m the kind of person who adds things to my to-do list just for the sole purpose of crossing them right after. In the same vein, moving books from my TBR to my reviewing or currently-reading pile makes me feel more productive — even if I end up dropping that book permanently.

3) It helps me get past boring starts.

My best judge of whether or not a book will be enjoyable for me is usually the beginning. If the first few pages don’t capture my attention, I’m way likelier to (temporarily) put the book down and move on to other things.

Chunking a book has helped me get past slow beginnings of great books (think Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands). Until I get to that point where I find my reading momentum, I’ll keep putting the book down, reading something else, and picking it back up again. 😛

4) It’s a great way to read review books I don’t enjoy.

As a general rule, I always finish a book if I intend on reviewing it. This is not to say that everyone should do the exact same thing, of course; it’s just that personally, I feel like my opinions are more valid if I give the book a full, complete chance. 🙂

Sometimes it so happens that the review book is really, really tedious for me (think Estelle Laure’s ARC of This Raging Light), making reading a bit of a chore… at least until I decide to break it down to chunks and read a little at a time. Basically I read only until I feel my attention fully slipping away and don’t force it, making my reading experience overall bearable. Not a bad strategy, huh?

Do you read each book cover-to-cover, or do you read multiple books at a time the way I do? Why or why not? 🙂

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104 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Reading Multiple Books At A Time

  1. I don’t read multiple books at a time but I can see why people do. For me if I’m struggling to get through a bit of a book I usually pick up a comic or graphic novel as it’s usually so much shorter and different to the book that’s causing me problems. Reading a comic gives me a break from the book and once I’ve read it I can go back to the book with more enthusiasm 🙂

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    • I can see why reading a comic is a bit of a break, and I’m glad it often helps you go through a book! I wish I’m the same way but my brain perceives them so differently that reading a comic won’t help my book reading slump, and reading a book won’t help my comic reading slump. 😛

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  2. I’m definitely a mood reader too! Although I fail at reading more than one book at once. I wish I had the ability to do that because I would get so much more done if I could but it’s a concentration problem on my part. I tried reading two books at once one time and ended up dropping one because I got completely invested in the other and have still yet to pick up the book that I dropped haha.

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    • I’m not sure if it actually helps you get more done, actually, because in the end the time spent is the same, haha. For me it’s also a concentration problem, except perhaps the opposite kind – my attention span is too short to be completely invested in something, at least at the beginning. 🙂

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  3. I’ve started reading multiple books at a time lately to help with my net galley pile. As you said sometimes some books that are for review just don’t cut it and I’ll give them at least 80% before I DNF but I’ve found by breaking them up and reading in smaller doses rather then trying to cover to cover finish them and not liking them as they put me in a bad mood. Especially if I’m having to read the same page over and over because nothings sticking.

    I’m currently reading Winger by Andrew Smith, Listening to Six of crows as a re-read and starting on some of my arcs. Its not as overwhelming as I thought it was and I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this earlier! Great post I love all your discussion posts 😀

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    • I try very, VERY hard to not DNF books for review and I’ve been successful so far, and this way has definitely helped me get through those books because then I’m not forcing myself to read it all the time – just some of the time. 😛

      I have never actually read Six of Crows – nothing of Leigh Bardugo, actually – and I sometimes wonder if I should pick it up. It’s so long, though, and it feels like I’m committing to something I’m not sure about. I hope you’re enjoying both books! And thank you for the kind words. ❤

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      • Six of Crows is one of my favorites 🙂 I highly recommend it to everyone. Heists, friendships, and anti-heros all my favorite things 🙂 I’m listening to the Audiobook at the moment, it’s my first Audiobook and I’m enjoying it you should give it a go and see if you like it 🙂 I read the Grisha trilogy as well and while I liked it I’ve forgotten nearly everything about why I liked it so I don’t rave about it to much.

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        • That’s what everyone has been saying! I just feel like I need to read the whole Grisha series before getting into it, despite numerous people telling me I don’t have to. I guess we’ll see whether I get to it or not eventually. 😂

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  4. I usually read like one eBook and one hard-copy, because then I could just switch between them whenever I wanted to. AND the eBook was easier to just pick up when on the bus or just bored at work. But as of these past months I’ve settled with reading only hard-copies (because I have so many I haven’t read) and so I just started reading Harry Potter, so I read one Harry Potter book and one review-book at a time 🙂

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    • Ebooks are definitely easier to read, and I think they’ve helped me read more in general because they’re more accessible (I read on my phone). I do enjoy physical books every now and then, though. ❤

      Hope you enjoy Harry Potter! Is this your first time reading the series or are you rereading?

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