Bookish Discussion · Uncategorized

Reading Multiple Books At Once

Hello, it’s Sabrina!  A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about all the books I was currently reading at the time, complaining that I wasn’t loving many of them.  Well, fast forward a couple weeks and I’m still reading a lot of books at once, but I’m back to enjoying myself again!  So, today I thought I would chat about why I like reading so many books at the same time and give you some tips on how to do it yourself!

Before I get into the post I do want to clarify something – I don’t literally read more than one book at once, I don’t know how to do that, lol.  I have heard of people listening to an audiobook and reading a different hard copy at the same time, but I absolutely could not manage that myself.  I just mean that I am in the middle of reading several books at once – I don’t stick to one and then pick up another when I finish it.


🌸 It’s fun! 🌸

This is the number one reason that I read at all!  I love consuming stories and exploring different experiences.  I like having all these different worlds floating around in my mind at the same time.

🌸 It helps me read more 🌸

Having multiple books on the go, for whatever reason(s), encourages me to spend more time reading and to get through books faster.  I know part of this is because it really gives me a boost when I’m near the end of several books and for a few consecutive days I manage to mark a book off as “read” – it sounds silly, but it’s satisfying for me.

🌸 It helps with “book hangovers” 🌸

It’s much easier for me to move on from one book to another when I’m already invested in the next one!  It’s not so easy to start something entirely new when I’m still sad about or otherwise caught up in the emotions of the last story I finished.  Sure, sometimes it’s nice to sit with a book for a little while, but once a whole day has passed I want to read something else and this method of reading helps me do that.

🌸 I can have something to read for every mood 🌸

I think I’m a mood reader and what I feel like reading changes fairly regularly.  I love having multiple books on hand that I can switch between reading when my mood changes.  Related to this – it’s also useful because I don’t like to read scary things at night, lol, and sometimes at the end of a long day it’s too difficult for me to comprehend a book with a complex writing style – but I still want to read at those times!


I’ve had a lot of people over the course of my life express disbelief at learning that I’m in the middle of more than one book (most often, this is my Dad who just somehow can’t comprehend it, lol).  The question people always ask is “don’t you get confused?”.  Admittedly, this does happen occasionally!  Though I have several methods in place to avoid it, sometimes there will be the most random close similarities between totally different books that I end up reading at the same time.  For example, the names of side characters being the same in different books can really throw me off.  Recently, I’ve been in the middle of three books that have featured a child being abandoned by their parents which has now muddled up a few characters in my brain.  So yeah, I’m not going to say that being confused isn’t an issue, but it’s a rare and usually inconsequential one for me.

The other significant negative is that sometimes I find myself loving one book way more than any of the others I’m reading at the time and it can make me feel even less invested in those other books.  I always want to enjoy every book to the fullest extent that I can, and sometimes I feel like I am being unfair by reading a book I love at the same time as one that I don’t feel as strongly towards.  Sometimes I will try to counteract this by just reading the book I’m loving and waiting until I’m finished it to continue with others, but this isn’t usually effective anyway 🤷‍♀️


Finally, these are my tips for reading multiple books at once.  Most of these are aimed at reducing the chance of confusion but they also help with fully utilising the time you have to read and they keep reading interesting by switching things up.  Hopefully, if you’re interested in trying this out, these tips will help!

🌸 Choose books from different genres to read!  It’s much easier to keep plot lines and characters separate in your mind when their contexts are so different.

🌸 Pick books from different age groups or target audiences.  Once again, this helps avoid confusion between books.

🌸 Try out different formats!  Audiobooks are pretty easy to distinguish from printed ones.

🌸 Reach for each book at a different time of day.  I don’t know about you, but my brain associates books with the time and place that I read them – sometimes even for years after the fact.  Also, going back to what I mentioned earlier in this post, sometimes I just don’t want to read a thriller before bed or a heavy nonfiction first thing in the morning.

🌸 Tying in with the last tip, you can try and read each book in a different place.  For example, you can have one book in your bag for commuting and being out and about, one on your bedside table and one on the coffee table.

🌸 This is a more difficult one, I think, but it works particularly well for me when I am just starting a few new books and that is to rotate them.  I read one or two chapters of one book (depending on chapter length) and then switch to another and read a couple chapters from that.  This is helpful for me in and of itself, but it’s also useful for deciding which books to read when and where.

🌸 Include a short story collection as one of your choices!  It’s super easy to read one short story a day on top of something else, plus, considering the stories in the collection will often revolve around the same themes, it gives you the chance to absorb each one without it blending into the next.

There you have it!  Everything I think you need to know about having more than one book on rotation! 

What do you think?

Do you read more than one book at a time, and do you like reading that way?  What are your tips for making the most out of your reading time?  Let me know!

12 thoughts on “Reading Multiple Books At Once

  1. This was such an interesting read, Sabrina! I’m the same, I’m often in the middle of several books and actually I’ve never gotten confused before but that’s probably because the books tend to be quite different, for example nonfiction, mystery/thriller, fantasy, and contemporary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A few years ago it was impossible for me to read more than one book at a time, but these days I find myself doing it from time to time. Sometimes, however, I’ll start a few books and then I’ll love one so much that I’ll just stick to it until I’m done. It really depends on my mood, but you’re right that audiobooks are a life-saver. I also do the thing where I read them at different times and that helps separate the stories in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly didn’t know reading multiple books at once WASN’T a thing everyone did until a few years back. I’m such a mood reader that I honestly can’t imagine another method of reading. What if your mood changes in middle of the day? What if the lighting isn’t good enough for that graphic novel you’re in middle of at night? If I want to read, I’m gonna read, and if that means being in middle of 5 books at once to keep my mood reading happy, so be it!

    I really like the tips you mentioned! I think that picking different books is the biggest key here. Like you said, when there are similar storylines or similar character names, it can be difficult to keep track. Thankfully it’s very rare that I get confused as to which story is which as I read. I tend to get all mixed up upon reflection.

    Currently I’m in middle of * counts – 1, 2 ,3, 4,5,6 * six books that I’m actively switching between! Usually it’s closer to 3 or 4, but for some reason I have a lot going on this week!

    Great post!


  4. As someone who can’t actually read multiple books at once (whenever my shelf says otherwise, I 1000% abandoned the first book), I am always so fascinated to hear how others can do this because it feels like magic! Your tips definite would be a gamechanger, especially the multiple genres, but for me I can never get into it and it makes me sad. I wish I could bounce between a couple books at once!


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