Thursday, May 5, 2016

Guest Post: Why Elisheva reads multiple books at once

Elisheva and I have a few things in common, one of them being a love of books, obviously. Another thing is a love of lists. But there is something that we differ in: I'm the kind of person who can only read one book at a time, but Elisheva is not. HOW DOES SHE MANAGE? I invited her to explain.

It could be that I simply have a short attention span, I don't know. But there will rarely be a time when I'm not in the midst of at least 3 books. This is partially due to the fact that my number one book source is the library. My average checkout pile is probably 10 books. While I'm very particular about series order, I enjoy reading several books concurrently. This is what one library cycle might look like for me:

Day 1: Goes to library, starts book A
Day 2: starts B & C, continues A
Day 3: starts D, continues C
Day 4: reads nothing
Day 5: continues D
Day 6: starts E
Day 7: continues B, finishes E
Day 8: reads nothing
Day 9: continues A & C
Day 10: finishes A
Day 11: finishes B
Day 12: starts F
Day 13: finishes D
Day 14: Goes to library, returns finished books, renews unfinished ones and get 4 more

(If this list made no sense, I apologize.) 

So, as you can tell I'm a pretty moody reader. I read what I like when I want to. This means jumping around quite a bit with my reading material.

Today, I'm going to list some of the pros and cons to reading more than one book at a time. (More lists? Yes, I love them.) And don't feel like you have to force yourself to read multiple books - every reader is different. But if you find yourself in a slump, maybe try mixing things up a bit by picking two books to read and see what happens!

  • When discussing books with other readers, you have a range of current reads to discuss
  • You can leave the 523 page novel on your nightstand and take your little paperback on the bus
  • If a book is: boring, dry, difficult, or humongous, you can always take little breaks and intersperse with some light fluff. It makes the reading of the other much more bearable
  • Likewise, if one author's style is wearing on you, read something totally different for a while
  • One thing I enjoy is looking for weird little connections between books. Such as two characters named James who both have ash-blond hair, but in two completely different books
  • Not in the mood for the contemporary you just bought? That's alright, you can go back to your epic science fiction novella
  • Sort of like multi-tasking, keeping track of 2-5 individual plots/settings/cast of characters is a workout for your brain. And you know the more you stretch your mind, the stronger it becomes! (Do not quote me on this; I have found no scientific evidence for these claims)
  • After finishing one book (and getting out of the post-book-depression), I am way more motivated to finish the book I'm halfway through with
  • I might read two equally wonderful books, but for some reason, I abandon one for the other. This is just inconvenient, because I will probably have to start the book over if I want to return to it
  • Two books with similar elements can get quite confusing if you read them concurrently
  • I have heard people say that when they read books simultaneously, they can't remember details as clearly. Personally, I have never noticed this, but it's something a lot of people complain of

I hope you've enjoyed this list! Tell me in the comments your thoughts on reading one book at a time versus reading simultaneously.

Elisheva is a thinker, possibly a writer, and definitely a reader. She began her journey into the story world at age 3 and has never looked back. You can find more of her ramblings on the literary world on her blog, Print Quest . You can also tweet her at @Print_Quest.


  1. Interesting. I sometimes do this too, though not always. When I've got a bunch of easy to read and thrilling books(something Fantasy mainly), I will read them one by one, but when I read classics, school readings or books that simply aren't my case, I'll read them skipping from one to the next, but I don't always do that. Sometimes when skipping between different books, some of them completely slip my mind and I forget bringing them back to the library, or worse, it's standing on my shelves for a year and I have forgotten half of the story.
    I do it, but it doesn't always work for me and it's not a permanent state that I'm living in.

  2. I read more than on book at a time too, it keeps me from getting bored.


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