Reading Multiple Books at Once

I came across a story about overcoming reader’s distraction and I must admit that I thought I would discover ways of maintaining the focus to read while in a situation where many distractions are working against you, such as reading on the bus or in a cafe.

I was surprised and confused to find that there is a school of thought where the inability to focus on one book at a time is considered a malady referred to as reader’s distraction. As the article describes it, readers distraction is an inability to get through one book without putting it down to pick up another, typically leading that reader to never finish any book.

I was surprised and confused to find that there is a school of thought where the inability to focus on one book at a time is considered a malady referred to as reader’s distraction. As the article describes it, readers distraction is an inability to get through one book without putting it down to pick up another, typically leading that reader to never finish any book.

finger-passes-along-book-spines-library-animated-gif.gif

I was baffled to the point of believing that this story had to be sarcasm or satire but reading through it, I realized this was not the case. I felt a powerful need to defend my own reading habits because I regularly read multiple books at the same time but I had no trouble finishing all of them. I

I have a to be read (TBR) list that is in constant flux and I tend to add more books to it than I take off but I believe that the abundance of literature that calls to me is something to be celebrated.

Perhaps there is a line to be drawn between readers like myself who enjoy tackling multiple books at the same time and readers who do not actually finish what they start because they are always starting new books.

There is no such distinction in the article that I read and as such, I was compelled to present another point of view here. It is not my intention to deny that there are readers that fit the criteria of needing help in completing a book that they are reading. I do wish to assert that reading more than one book at a time can be completely healthy and effective.

196wko4d7et1agif.gif

It is not my intention to deny that there are readers that fit the criteria of needing help in completing a book that they are reading. I do wish to assert that reading more than one book at a time can be completely healthy and effective.

I am forced to conclude that what makes reading this way a problem for some is that books are never finished and if this is true, I do not have a problem. Just typing those last six words feels like asking for trouble as I hear imaginary voices yelling at their internet capable devices that I am in denial and that admitting I have readers distraction is the first step toward recovery.

Allow me the next few minutes to present my arguments in defiance of readers distraction.

Is it possible to read more than one book at a time and keep all of the content straight?

People have asked me how I keep different stories straight if I am reading three to five at a time and mine is the response is that I typically read different genres. If I am reading, one science fiction, one fantasy, one philosophy, and one history book at the same time, it is not all that difficult to keep them separate.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-4913-1378318087-4

Reading more than one book at a time is not an innately obscene practice.  

There might be a latent prejudice against picking up another book without finishing the one you have first. To this, I would say that reading multiple books at once is the same as watching more than one television show per season.

Expecting to read only one book at a time can be likened to binge-watching an entire season of one show before watching another. Either way of watching television is acceptable, why shouldn’t reading one way or the other be as accepted.

Picking up one of five books that I am currently working through is like deciding what channel to watch that night.

Know your own limits and push them when appropriate.    

I am always conscious of which books are currently in my rotation and the only time I have ever not finished a book was by choice when the author and I parted over creative differences. This has only happened a handful of times. I keep tight control over how many books are in rotation at any time.

An example of this is that when I am in class and have textbooks that require my attention I might have only one or two books that I am reading for pleasure at the same time.

Remember that reading is an exquisite pleasure that should always serve your desires.         

It is a fair argument that if I devoted my energy to a single book at a time, I would finish it quicker than sharing the time with multiple books. This is not something that I consider all that important. In fact, on many occasions, I have preferred to prolong the amount of time it takes me to finish a book because I want to savor the time and spend within those pages.

The excitement that I feel to start a new book leads me to forgo the agony of rushing through my current read in order to start the next one. Instead of torturing myself, I read multiple books at a time and let my passions at the moment direct my choice. I have too many varied interests to limit myself to a single choice.

tumblr_nje5rxLvAX1rmn234o2_500.gif

Consider the way that a lot of people watch television and realize the similarity.           

It is entirely possible that my reading habits are a result of growing up in a society that caters to shorter attention spans. In a world of channel surfing and web browsing, it seems to me that reading multiple books at once is just another way to multi-task.

There will always be more books to read than I have already finished but I take great pleasure in moving a book from one pile to the other.

Additionally, I read poetry the way that someone might enjoy a glass of wine. Flipping through a few pages and letting the words wash over me is often times more preferable than reading it cover to cover. A few poems are like a single glass that could enhance the taste of a meal but when you down the whole bottle you will miss the subtle nuances.

Reading can be an exquisite pleasure that speaks to the secret parts of our soul. Find your own path through and become whole.

If you do find that you are not able to finish any of the books you start because you keep starting new ones, read our article on the subject: How to Deal With a Reading Slump? – A Practical Guide

On the other hand, if you are one of us who quite happily reads out of number of different books at a time, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Reading Multiple Books at Once

  1. I always have at least three books on the go. They are so different, there is no way I could confuse them. Some are classics (like Jane Eyre, or one by George Eliot or Jane Austen), Some are mysteries (by Louise Penny or Ellis Peters)or fantasies (The Lord of the Rings) some are non-fiction, some are study books, and I always keep a light one–usually one by Rosamunde Pilcher or C. S. Lewis to read at bed time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always read multiple books at a time. When I was a kid, it was usually three or four. Now, I’m in my 60s and I’m currently reading 15 books at the same time. I’m convinced that it keeps my mind sharp; I never have a problem keeping track of the story lines. It has nothing to do with distraction and everything to do with excitement. I get excited every time I see a new book that I want to read (or an old one that I want to re-read). I don’t want to wait to read it…I want to read it now! I make no apologies for the way I read. I read as I do everything else in my life. I do what makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I keep one or two in the car in case I have a spare moment while reading on my Kindle and one paperback. Most of the time I forget to grab one when I go to a Dr appointment (I frequently have one) so I have found that keeping one in the car is perfect. I do a lot on my Kindle so when the battery gets low and I have to charge it, I have a paperback I read. Sometimes the book I started reading is difficult to get into at that time so I will put it off to the side until I’m ready for it. I have one that has been sitting about a quarter of the way through for 3 months. I will get back to it . it only takes a few minutes of reading the description to get caught up.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s