How Many Books Can You Read At The Same Time?

My TBR (to be read) list stretches far into the distance, largely because I can only read one book at a time. I imagine most female readers are now nodding knowingly, bemoaning the inability of the male of the species to multitask. Try as I might, numerous novels are a bridge too far for me. I have to plod along until a particular story is told before I can turn my attention to the next book on my list.

This puzzles me slightly as I can manage multiple projects at work as adeptly as a skilled juggler. Take today for example. I was writing two complex reports simultaneously while responding to e-mails and verbal queries from the team. I can be focused in one meeting while also mentally preparing for the next. I’m calm, knowledgable and largely unflappable. I almost always know what I’m talking about.

I’m also currently writing two separate stories. I’ve just passed the 35,000 word mark of my second book, while I’m also working on a short story which forms part of the same story arc. I work hard at both my 9-5 and writing careers. If I wasn’t able to spin multiple plates in respect of either, then I’d undoubtedly sink beneath the waves without a trace. Yet I can’t read two books at the same time.

It’s utterly beyond me. But what about you? How many books are you currently dipping into on a daily basis? Can you tackle fiction and non fiction, contrasting genres and authors? Or are you like me, a one at a time tortoise staring nervously at the pile of paper about to consume you? Put your book or books down and let’s get talking. Post your comments below. Thank you and have a great day.

How long is your current ‘to be read’ list?

How many books can you read at the same time?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 15 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

63 thoughts on “How Many Books Can You Read At The Same Time?

  1. We won’t talk about the number of books on my TBR shelf. That’s a topic for another day.

    I normally have one eBook and one audiobook in play, different genres. I listen to a book when I can’t read the eBook (during chores, in the car, etc.). It’s vital that they be in different genres as when I haven’t followed that rule, I’ve convoluted the two stories. I can’t do more than these two.

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  2. I never read more than one fiction at a time. If the story is worth reading, I’m all in til the end. But I hate that I cannot easily lay aside a book that I do not really like. I feel compelled to read whatever I start unless it is profane. I dump those fairly quickly. 😀

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  3. I just read one at a time as well, its not just you!
    If there is another book i’m itching to dip into tho at the same time, I usually download it on Audibles and listen to it on my commute to and from work

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  4. Some of this depends on what you mean by “reading”. For instance, do you include daily short reads on the list? I read some Stoicism every day, so that book (or the one that replaces it) is something I pick up every day. I also have a non-fiction and fiction book on the go; which I pick up depends on my mood and if I’m feeling responsible and virtuous, or just wanting to escape from my head. I also have a bedroom book – a pile of them in fact, and I read a little from that one every night before attempting to drift off. Nothing challenging in that pile; right now I’m reading a book on style. I’m forever looking for the perfect book that will once and for all let me organize my clothes into something resembling a grownup person’s wardrobe.

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  5. I would only read more than one book at once if one of them was not fully engaging me or the content was so traumatising that I needed to take periodic breaks! I love to be caught up in a book, and it is great when you struggle to put it down! I don’t see any problem with reading one book at a time!

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  6. I can read more than one book at a time, but they need to be from different areas of the bookstore. I love works about my adopted hometown, Charleston, SC and I can read one of those, along with some kind of novel and maybe mix that with something else completely different…like a book about ghosts, for example.

    If I’m going to do this, it’s usually for ease of transportation…like, the Charleston books are sometimes coffee table type books…I’m not carrying that to work with me to read a lunch. So, a paperback novel is best to take with me to work and when I travel. And, quite often, the coffee table book will stay downstairs and I’ll have the third book up on my nightstand ~ wherever I am, a book awaits! 🙂

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  7. My tbr list is non-ending. Sometimes I read 5 books at a time. I don’t recommend this habit and I never mean for it to happen, it just does. Usually it happens because a library book comes in from a hold and I only have a limited time to read it. Normally I always read 2 books at a time. One physical and one on my Kindle.

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  8. I’m usually reading 3-4 books at any given time. I have a stack of books TBR that is over 20 books high. Some are new books, sent to me to be reviewed for a Pagan publication (they’re all more or less spiritual in nature) & some are mine that I took off my own shelves, to be looked at just so I can decided whether to keep them or to trade them in at my local used book store for other books.

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  9. Perhaps it is because I am retired and live alone so do not have a lot on my mind at any given time. I usually have three books on the go at a time. One on my kindle, one audiobook on my phone and a physical book that I read in bed or outside in the sun. I have way to many books on my TBR. I will not read them all before my time on earth is over, especially because I keep adding to it.

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  10. Great question. I’m always curious about how my husband never has more than one book going at once. I try to limit myself to only 3-4 books at once since I know that when I have too many going, it can be distracting and I do not fully engage in any of them if there are too many. Typically there’s only one fiction book at a time, but then I can’t seem to stop myself from reading a couple more non-fiction along with it. Not too close to bedtime though, or I’ll be up all night. 🙂

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  11. I’m a book junkie! I can’t help it; there is just too much good stuff out there—and here! I am currently reading three books—completely different topics–and yet at some point I will eventually meld them all into one book in my mind! It’s what I do. I kind of like the chaos I create in my mind. Keeps it interesting! Ha! 🙂

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  12. I can read one fiction, listen to one fiction, and read one nonfiction at the same time. But, I couldn’t handle listening to more than one at once, or reading two fiction at once! I don’t know why it feels so different for me like this!

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  13. I cannot do it! I end up mixing up stories or if it’s non-fiction, mixing up facts/messages. I am really not that much of a multi-tasker in any aspect of life! Kudos to you for being so prolific in writing and task managing!

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  14. I sometimes have 2-3 books at a time. Currently, reading an allegory of Pilgrim’s Progress (free on Kindle!) and also reading Rachel Scott’s journals. Ever since learning her story of her faith, and then being killed (at age 17) I’ve wanted to know more. Really enjoying the book!

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  15. I have over 40 books in my to read list..I was reading two at the same time and have just finished one and will be starting a new one soon. I read different topics depending on my mood and can easily switch between them all as and when I feel like

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  16. I have many books on my TBR shelf! And I sometimes read 2 books at a time. Usually a non-fiction during the day, to further my knowledge, and a fiction purely for pleasure when I go to bed to switch my brain off.
    When I’m working, I concentrate on my client’s project during the day, but still read a fiction at night. If I don’t switch my brain off I don’t sleep and I’m no good the next day.

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  17. Although I am ashamed to say I am one of those people who has before started a book and then got far too excited about another and so started a new one to then go back to the other months later. Yet I cannot read more than one on the go at once. Proper love reading though! Forget all social media – Goodreads is my jam hahaha!

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  18. I think I have something like 250 books on my reader, and I only read one at a time. For a while I was letting the device pick a random next book when I finished one, but now I’m reading them in the order I acquired them, since some of them have been on there since 2015 and were starting to feel neglected …

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  19. My to be read list is eighty five and counting. I usually read three books at a time depending on my mood and availability (one of the reasons I haven’t been posting a lot on my blog lately.)

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