How To Read Multiple Books At A Time

Have you ever wondered how people read multiple books at one time? Or maybe you have wondered why people read more than one book.

how to read multiple books

By reading multiple books at the same time I do not mean the exact same moment, I mean that I have multiple books that I am in the middle of reading at the same time.

I am one of those strange people that almost always have at least four books going at once. Sometimes I have six or more going at the same time.

This might be common among avid readers, which you might be, but reading one book at a time is more common with most people. A lot of people won’t start a new book until they finish their current read.

However, there are advantages to reading more than one book at a time.

It helps you read more because you will have a book for every mood.

How To Read Multiple Books and stack of books with plant in background

If you are in the mood for more serious reading you can pick up a nonfiction book or a long family saga. If you are in the mood for learning you can pick up a biography or history type read. If you are in the mood for something lighter and you can grab a cozy mystery.

You can have a book for any reading mood by having multiple books going at once.

One of the questions I get asked the most when people find out that I always read multiple books at a time is how I keep them straight.

I thought I would share a few tips for reading more than one book at a time.

Books that I read in April

Read Both Nonfiction and Fiction

Reading a fiction book and a nonfiction book at the same time helps you have a book for any mood.

I often read nonfiction during the day and fiction in the evening.

I find that I can concentrate more during the day. But at the end of the day when I am more tired I do better reading fiction.

Reading fiction and nonfiction at the same time is also a good way to read more nonfiction.

A lot of people say that they read mainly fiction, but want to read more nonfiction. Having one of each going at the same time can help you tackle those nonfiction reads.

Read Multiple Genres

Reading multiple genres at the same time is the same idea as reading both nonfiction and fiction. Reading multiple genres also helps you have a book for every mood.

I often read a historical fiction book and a mystery or cozy mystery at the same time.

Historical fiction can be heavier more serious books to read. Cozy mysteries are often lighter and a little easier to read.

Reading two totally different genres also helps you not get the books confused. If I read two historical fiction books at the same time I am more likely to get the characters and storyline mixed up.

May 2023 books read

Don’t Read In the Same Time Period

Instead of a do, this one is a don’t. Don’t read books that are set in the same time period.

I don’t read two WWII books at the same time. I don’t read two mysteries at the same time. And I do not usually read two memoirs at the same time.

Reading books set in different time periods will help you keep the characters and story straight.

If I read two WWII books, even if they are fiction and nonfiction, it is easy to get them confused.

If you are reading a nonfiction WWII book, pick up a historical fiction book set in a different time period.

If you are reading a WWII historical fiction pick up a memoir or a book set during a different time or event.

Kindle 7th Generation

Read In Multiple Formats

Reading in multiple formats also helps me keep the books straight and allows me to read more books at a time.

I often have a book or two in print, a book on Kindle, and an audiobook going at the same time.

I still avoid reading in the same time period or genre, but reading multiple formats seems to help my brain keep track of what is happening in each book.

This may not work for everyone but it helps me.

Do you have tips for how to read more than one book at a time?

Everyone reads a little differently so I would love to hear if you read more than one book at a time. Do you agree with me? Do you have tips to share about reading more than one book at a time or why you only read one book at a time?

10 thoughts on “How To Read Multiple Books At A Time”

  1. These are great tips. Keeping time frames separate is a big help. A lighthearted fiction is nice for bedtime reading.

    I normally have 5-6 books going at the same time. Often one is an audiobook and rarely is there more than one fiction in my stack. I don’t do any reading on a tablet. Being a 90% non-fiction reader, it’s easy to keep multiple books straight by keeping them all about different topics.

    Some of my choices are determined by practicality. A book that lays open really well is a good pick for reading at the kitchen table during breakfast or lunch. A compact lightweight book slips nicely into my purse for doctors appointments. Otherwise, what I read is determined by my mood and concentration level: do I feel like a biography, a memoir, something science related, something historical?

    It might take me a month or two to get through all 5-6 books, but I like having the variety of options rather than restricting myself to only one book at a time. I read on average around 35 books per year, although I’ve already finished 33 and it’s only August. I might hit a new record this year.

    • I love that we have readers who enjoy nonfiction as much as we do! I should have added something in the post about some books taking a little while to get through. I agree when you read multiple books at once it can often take a month or two, or even more, to get through them. And I love that you pick a book that lays open well so you can read while eating breakfast or lunch! It can be hard to read and eat. I usually use my Kindle when I want to read and eat, but sometimes it isn’t the book I want to read.

  2. I am the SAME way! I’m always reading more than one book at a time. I agree with all your tips! I usually have 1 print book, 1 audiobook, and 1 read-aloud with my kids. Sometimes, I’ll have a Kindle book in the mix for a total of 4! Or, I’ll have two print books, but one is fiction and the other is nonfiction, so I don’t confuse them.

    One thing that I LOVE about reading more than one book at a time is how they sometimes overlap and “talk” to one another. I read Hamnet and Once Upon a River at the same time last year, and they’re both set along the Thames but during different time periods…it was just neat.

    This year, I listened to The Odyssey at the same time that I picked up The Labors of Hercules Beal, and the Greek mythology overlapped quite nicely, even though the two books themselves couldn’t be more different.

    • How fun to have the books overlap like that, but be totally different! I always love to hear what you have been reading because we have such similar reading tastes.

  3. I typically read 4 books at a time. They are all different, fiction and non- fiction. I also many times take notes of things I want to know more about or am unfamiliar with. Also I will record special quotes. For me, I learn something from every book I read. Agree with your great tips.
    Also I wanted to recommend a book I think you would really enjoy.
    It’s “The Masterpiece ” by Laura Morelli. It is awesome. Historical fiction about moving art from the Uffizi in WW2. Recently went to a book signing. Laura is a wonderful writer and a degree in art. đŸ„°

  4. I am not a fan of audiobooks – I do podcasts instead – but I love the other tips. I generally have an “easy” book if I’m on the elliptical at the gym and a fiction and non fiction going at the same time!


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