How many books do you read at once?

As I looked at my Currently-Reading shelf on Goodreads last night I realized that my reading style is really kind of crazy lately.  I have 6 books down as currently reading!  And really, 5 of them I am in the process of reading.

  1. The Invasion of the Tearling.  Maybe you’ve noticed I can’t shut up about Book 1- The Queen of the Tearling.  Holly and I are reading #2 together and she is taking her sweeeeeeeeeeeet time.  I’m not reading ahead only because I’m the best sister ever.
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel.  This has been on my TBR for years (thanks Mom!) and thanks to the 2015 TBR Challenge I’m finally crossing it off. I’m excited to see the spies in action that inspired the Pink Carnation series.
  3. Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World.  My morning commute non-fiction.  I can’t read non-fiction after work or I fall asleep – no matter how good it is.  Shameful! But anyway, this book is awesome! Full of super cool and smart women!
  4. Recipe for Disaster by Stacey Ballis.  Honestly I’ve mostly heard of Ballis because she’s Jen Lancaster’s bestie, but that seemed as good a reason as any to pick up her book at ALA this January.  Kind of a cute chick book thus far, good for when I want to read but not tax my brain.
  5. Never Be Younger: A YA Anthology.  9 retellings of Shakespeare stories in young adult.  I need to finish asap for a review this week! Thankfully these are fast reads.
  6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  This is the cheater on my current list. I don’t think I’ve picked this up since January.  I clearly need to just go back to page 1. I fear I’d be disowned all around if I quit this without a fair chance.

I like going between different books for commuting and a definitely a different read for before bed.  I really like to reread at bedtime because I don’t want to get so sucked into something new that I have to stay awake- anyone else?

I also like to have a few genres going at a time.  This is a lot – but I’d say I often have a non-fiction and 2 fictions reading at once. Maybe a high fantasy and a contemporary? Or YA and an adult.

Do you read more than one book at once?  Or listen to one and read one?  Please tell me someone has more books going at once than my five!  Holly pointed me to this post at I’m Lost in Books where the blogger reads 12 books at a time! Though that makes my head hurt to think about, she makes the comparison to keeping up with multiple tv shows at once. I think that makes sense- but I don’t watch that much tv either!

Also I’m playing with Riffle as opposed to Goodreads.  Are you on Riffle?  Any reason you might like it better than Goodreads?

Update! I forgot my kindle this morning.  Boo hoo! So my TBR is about to be 7 books because I need something for my ride home!


  1. The most books I have have going simultaneously is a print book and an audio. I find that if I read more than one book at once, I inevitably become more interested in one of them and neglect the other. I also like feeling like I’m making progress; when I read one book, I can finish it in about four days; if I’m reading more than one book, it takes me a lot longer to read each book, which I don’t like. And I also just have a terrible memory; if I only read a few pages of a book a day, or only read one book every few days, I forget who characters are and what’s going on.

  2. I just counted and I have 5 going right now too:

    1. An audiobook to listen to while doing chores/walking.
    2. An audiobook I’m doing a “readalong” with a print edition. (This is a short book on Buddhism/Communication)
    3. Anna Karenina
    4. The Summer Kitchen – a cute vintage book I started – it’s divided into sections by seasons, so I’m picking it up randomly when I’m in the mood and reading a section.
    5. The Art of Thinking Clearly (this is WAY extreme on the TMI front and I apologize in advance- but well, this is a bathroom book.)

    This isn’t counting a book of travel essays I put down to take a break from – I’m in the middle of it and intend to finish it, but not actively reading it now. I will also likely bring another book besides Anna Karenina with me on Vacation next week, so that will put the count up to 6.

    I didn’t used to be like this – I think it’s a result of being unemployed currently and having more time to read. I may go back to fewer books once I’m working again, but maybe not! However – only one of these is a novel. I usually only read one novel at a time. The non-fiction I’m reading can be started and stopped easier without losing momentum and pacing.

  3. I used to be a book polygamist when I first started. Now, I’m good with just one print book and one audiobook. My audiobook is never a review copy, so that is purely a pleasure read. My print copies are almost always review copies in some format, but between my phone and my iPad, it makes it easy to always carry it with me. I’ve tried to go back to reading more than one book at a time, and I find I just cannot concentrate anymore on them. Besides, I find it takes me longer to finish a book that way than it does if I have one that gets my undivided attention.

  4. Usually I only do well with two–one that I keep for reading at work and one for at home. Otherwise my brain starts to feel pulled in too many directions at once. That said, right now I’ve got six going, and it’s kind of making me go a little crazy. I really need to buckle down and finish one.

  5. I tend to stick to two, but I’m pretty specific with the points I like to be at in those two books, which is probably weird. I don’t like to be just starting both books at the same time. I like to be about halfway through one book when I start the other, if possible, so I can usually finish a book about every other day or so. Odd practices 😉

  6. I only read multiple books at once in college and grad school when I balanced my own reading and textbooks or class reading. Since then I noticed I read faster and more efficiently if I stick to one at a time. If something comes up where I MUST read a book right away because it’s due at the library or I have some other deadline then I will usually put my current read aside and plow through that one instead of trying to read both.

    I already read pretty quickly–at least two books a week–so I think if I read more than one book at once I would risk losing some retention of what I read.

  7. I really cannot with the simultaneous reading. I’m thinking about possibly giving it another go with some non-fiction at home (so the exact opposite of you) but that’s because I’m not super keen on lugging a bio of Queen Victoria around with me.
    But honestly, in general, I don’t like it. I feel like I’m working so hard at juggling multiple books that I’m not enjoying it. When I’m reading one I always feel like I should be reading the other and inevitably I’m enjoying one more than the other(s). I was doing the reading juggle for an extended stretch and when I finally finished that in March I was SO HAPPY. I’m not keen to go back there.

  8. Holy cow, that’s a lot of books at once. I used to read like 2-4 at once. At the moment I’m just reading one (actively). I don’t know why the shift happened or how, but now I’m terrified of the idea of adding a new book to the mix haha.
    I use Riffle! But I definitely don’t like it more than goodreads haha. Making lists is fun, though, so I have some over there.

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