Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How do you do it?

Since I started blogging (and even before that) I've noticed that there are many people out there who tend to read more than one book at a time. This phenomenon has always amazed me! I wouldn't even attempt to do that (unless I was reading one for school already, for example).

I can picture myself getting confused, mixing up the characters, taking forever to finish one book, and generally being a huge, disorganized mess of a reader.

I get even more amazed when the two books that someone is reading are very similar in terms of genre or plot. Wouldn't it be hard to keep the facts straight? Wouldn't it be hard to understand the characters? And more importantly, how do you manage to choose what book to pick up and read? Please enlighten me!

I guess you could say that I'm a bit jealous of those who can handle reading multiple books at a time. Personally, I like to concentrate and spend all my time on one novel before moving on to the next. But we all have different reading techniques, and that's why I'm writing a post about this topic.

Are you one of those people who reads more than one book at a time? Why? How do you manage?

35 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Oh no...I can't do it. I'm a one at a time girl.

NotNessie said...

I don't understand how they do it, either. I am a one book at a time kind of girl.

InABox said...

Until yesterday, I had 4 going, but I've finally pared down to 2. I've got my appointment novel (for doctor's offices and the like), my waiting-in-the-car book, and two bedside books.

I don't like carrying certain books with me (like if they're big) so I pick a small book for travel. Other than that...I read multiple books at a time out of habit and so I can pick which one I'm in the mood for. :-)

Nely said...

Haha - I used to be a one book at a time girl myself until recently. I now try to do more than one at a time only because it means I read more books throughout the week. And here is my recipe for success:

1 regular hardcover/paperback
1 e-book
1 audiobook

See I can't read while driving and although I'm one to bring my book out during a red light the light changes before I have enough time to get much accomplished other than a sentence or two. So that's when the audiobook comes handy. And then e-books are perfect for work. I sit in front of a computer all day so it works out nicely. The remainder of my time I spend with whatever book I have on hand.

And there you have it. Thanks to these methods I now am reading anywhere from 5-8 books a week. :)

♥Nely

Cindy said...

I often wonder how people can read a few books at a time. I tried that and I got so confused that I am now happy to say that i am a one book at a time kinda girl.

Anders said...

I wish I could read just one book at a time, but with university work its often more like four or five.

That's why my my blog is about things I've already read. I can reference things much quicker than I can digest a whole book, and I think I've got several years worth of material yet.

The Book Mole said...

I am a one book person too. I did try reading more than one at a time once, but I felt that I was not really involved with either of the books or the characters. I tend to think about the book that I am reading at times when I am not reading (if that makes any sense), and reading more than one book made it all too confusing!

Gina said...

I don't mind it - but only for specific genres.
I read my bible every day, but I also read a self help (typically parenting how to's) and then there is always the latest fiction I'm reading.
That's as close as I can come though. For me to be able to do it they each have to be a completely separate wavelength.

Kay said...

I KNOW!!! (As Monica on Friends would say)

I'm not one of those who reads more than one book at a time, but there is an exception to every rule I guess. Sometimes, when i am struggling with a book group read (and I only do this because I am the moderator and feel I "should" finish each book), I set myself a "required" number of pages for each day in order to complete the book.

Otherwise, the only overlaps are the books I'm listening to - sometimes one in the car and another on my iPod.

I'm constantly amazed at people who have 6 or 8 books going at once. Just don't get it.

Good topic, Emidy!

thelittlereader.net said...

i'm reading six at the moment. but, they can't have similar plot lines or characters or i will get them a bit mixed up. so, the books have to be mixed up - a classic, a sci-fi, a YA book, chick lit - vastly different books. this works for me since i like to read a little bit of everything anyways.

but, i'm usually reading something like this:

one book from my shelves
a borrowed or library book
an audio book
something on the kindle
something on my computer
a graphic novel

this allows me to be reading no matter where i am when i have free time, which equates to more reading overall for me.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I not only CAN read one at a time, I actually HAVE to! There is no way that I can be reading only one title! Maybe this is an English teacher disease (because I teach at least 4 titles at a time), but I feel like I've been like this for a long, long time. I typically have about 4-10 books going at once. I guess that I can keep the stories straight because each book is kinda like a movie that I'm watching in my head and I can hit pause and return with no problem. I can even read similar books and I don't get confused. I choose what I'm going to read based on how I'm feeling, but sometimes a title will keep my attention and I'll finish it in a sitting or two.

Whatever works! We all have our own styles, it's just awesome that so many people are such avid readers!

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Lol, I actually can't do it either!! And I'm super jealous too. It's not really a problem of confusion for me, but I feel that reading two or more books simultaneously detracts from the great potential impact one book can have. The only time I read more than one book is when I'm growing bored with the other but am forcing myself to finish... which doesn't happen too often, thankfully. :)

Christina T said...

I usually only read one book at a time but sometimes I do read an e-book as well as a print book because it takes me longer to finish e-books. If I do read more than one book at a time they are usually very different.

Sometimes I will also put a book aside to read something else that is more interesting or something I've been waiting to read for a long time. Currently I'm reading The Dead Tossed Waves but I've also started to read Inside Out by Maria Snyder (e-book) and I started reading Bleeding Violet but put it aside because I wasn't in the mood for such a strange book.

WonderBunny said...

I think my Shelfari shelf on my blog shows like six books. Two of them are textbooks - and if you want to talk about getting confused, start reading textbooks on similar topics. I've had to try to keep those straighten out.

I have a bedside book that is typically hardbound or trade paperback and then typically another going on my kindle (nonfiction or romance since those are the ones my other half doesn't read). Then I have a paperback that I carry around to read since it is smaller then the bedside book. I typically will get anywhere between 1-50 pages in all of them before one grabs my interest and then I finish it quickly. I also try to keep my books different. A nonfiction, a cozy mystery or regular mystery, science fiction, fantasy or urban fantasy. I have started reading two urban fantasy books at the same time and realized I was having a bit of an issue keeping them straight so I set one aside and finished the other before going back to the set aside book. I also have an audio book that I listen to at work and one that I listen to at home with the other half. But those tend to be very different.

Amber said...

I read by mood! So I don't always get to finish a book before I pick up a new one. My Goodreads shows 14 "currently reading" BUUT it's incomplete. So I have at least 25 that I've stopped in the middle of and started a new book. I WILL get back to those books! I just have to be in the mood. It's actually VERY annoying. But the sense of accomplishment is bigger when I do finally finish a book since I have so many "incomplete".

But that's how I live my entire life. I work by mood, eat by mood, write by mood (yes, I have about 7 books I'm writing and only 1 is completed), watch movies by mood.

Luckily, though I may forget key parts until I pick it up again, I can keep them all straight as I'm reading. Even while I'm discussing the books with friends and family :D. I wouldn't dare review a partially read book on my blog though. That could get tricky.

But I envy 1 book-ers! Imagine all I could accomplish!! aaah! :D

Beth said...

I can't, I've tried and it just ended disastrously! I got plot lines mixed up and then forgot all about the 'other book'. I envy people who can do it, but I like focusing my attention on one book at a time.

The only exception is audio books, I tend to listen to one when I'm in the car on my own or getting ready for work etc. But I only listen to audio books I've already read, so it doesn't feel like I'm reading two books at once.

Ashley said...

I do it all the time. I'm currently working on 1 for school and 3 for myself.

Sometimes I get bored while reading a book, or annoyed by a character, so it's almost as though I need a break from them, so I start a new book. But I continue to read all of the books, it just depends on what book I happen to pick up when I get into bed to read. I love reading multiple books at one time. I don't get them confused, because the books I do read at the same time don't have the same kind of premise. I also feel like I get more reading done when I read more than one book at a time, even though I'm not! :P

Kristin said...

I only read one at a time...I am always amazed when I read that people have 2 or 3 or more books going at once. Maybe it's because I only read actual books - I don't have a kindle (nor do I think I want one), I don't do audio books...if I did those, then maybe I could do more than one at a time. I tend to get lost in each book and like The Book Mole said, I also tend to think about the book I'm reading throughout the day when I'm doing other things.

I find that depending on the book and how my week shapes up, I can get through anywhere from 1 to 4 books.

Dana said...

Yeah, I'm the same way. Whenever I try to read more than one book at once, I always end up becoming more interested in one and completely neglect the other one!

Aths said...

I can imagine the confusion. Some times I read more than one book. Currently, I have an audio book going, and a print book. Before finishing either, I may start another book as well. But none of them will be of the same genre or have any kind of obvious similarities between them. I do this sometimes to get a break from one book - maybe it isn't capturing my attention well or something. But if I get really hooked on one of my current reads, I'll shelve everything and proceed with that one, then return back to the others.

Elle said...

Easy :) One I read during waiting time (while on the school bus, for example, which totals to a little more than an hour every day) and any other free time I might have during the day, and one to read before going to sleep, at bed-time. You should try it! :D

Shantal said...

I can't do it either.I can't manage more than one book at a time. I like to focus all of my attention on a single book until I am done and then move to another. :)

Trillian said...

I sometimes wonder how people cope with just reading one book lol! Sometimes I find I want to read but I'm not in the mood for one book so I like to have other options

As for how I keep the plots and characters right in my head - don't know, I've just always done it so never really put much thought into how. To me it's just the same as if you watch 2 shows on TV.

I do my best to make sure I choose different genres (or at least keep away from very similar plots). Often the books are in different formats as well which helps (and is usually the main reason I have more than one book on the go at a time) like now I'm reading an ebook, a 'normal' book and listening to an audio. Sometimes I'll be reading more than one because I don't want to carry a hardback around in my bag.

Nymeth said...

I used to be a monogamous reader, but I've gone astray :P I find that I read more if I have more than one book going, as when I get tired of book A I can read a bit more if I pick up book B. I do try to make sure they're not too similar, though - I pick either different genres, a novel and a non-fiction book, a novel and a short story collection, etc. That makes it more manageable.

Kris (Voracious YAppetite) said...

Sometimes I read three or four books at a time. Getting characters or plots mixed up has never been an issue for me. They can all be in the same genre, too. I do it when I'm too excited about several books at once and I don't know which to read first...so I read all of them. Usually I'll read 50 pages of each book, then go back to the first one and read another 50 pages, etc., until I've finished them. I kinda have a short attention span so reading multiple books at the same time helps me maintain my focus and my interest.

Ky said...

I'm totally on your side! I can't do it either! Unless of course it's for school. I had to read Great Gatsby, Song of a Lark, and then my own book at the same time. Ugh. It was frustrating. I can't split my concentration cuz I always end up straying to one novel over the other.

Emidy said...

Wow, thanks for all the comments! It's great to read all these different opinions. I can definitely see how many people like to read more than one at a time - it does makes sense to have one for quick, casual reading, and another more serious book. Still, I can't get into the habit of starting more than one book!

Candace said...

I prefer to read one book at a time BUT lately I've been getting e ARCs and I can't haul my computer all over the house so I usually have another book going for when I can't read at the computer. Other then that I'm a one book at a time kind of person.

Natalie W said...

I sometimes will start 2 books at once and the one that keeps my attention the most I'll read most of the time. I usually keep notes too. Great question!

Justine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justine said...

Me too, I can only read one book at a time. I've tried to read more than one book at a time though...and yes, I got confused and would often go back a few pages so I could place myself into a story. It's hard! That's why I only stick to one :)

Lauren said...

I almost always read more than one book at time since it's easy for me to keep everything straight for the most part. Plus, I like that I have the ability to stop and read a book I've already start if the one I was reading gets boring.

Lucia said...

I'm usually a one book at a time kind of gal, but occasionally I have more than one on the go. Generally I read multiple books at a time if I find something really interesting looking and can't wait to get my teeth into it, however it always results in one book being left behind and often never finished. I prefer the monogamous approach.

Becki said...

I read two books at once: a novel and a non-fiction book (usually Chrsitian living).

I can't do two novels at once. I've tried, and I always wind up abandoning one for the other.

Teresa said...

Once upon a time I thought that I could never do this. I got tired of hauling my books back and forth from home to work when I was reading the Outlander series (those things are huge). I usually read over my lunch hour so I kept one at my desk and then I was reading a different one at home. It was okay. Of course it took me a lot longer to read two as my time was split. I still prefer one at a time, but have found that I can do two.