“How do you read more than one book at a time? Don’t you get confused?”
I get this question a lot, especially from non-readers who struggle reading just one book let alone multiple books. But even among the reading community there are those that read a book cover to cover before even thinking of starting another one. Try as I might to stick to a single book, I often find myself reading two and sometimes three books at a time (but I try to draw the line at three).
As stated above, the biggest thing people wonder about is how I keep books straight. Well, it’s actually not that hard and it’s mostly like watching multiple TV shows. I think people often picture me holding a book in each hand with my eyes darting back and forth between them and this is why they’re so amazed. But in reality it’s a lot less fantastical than that and really just comes down to my mood or oftentimes my reading location. I also didn’t start out reading multiple books and it really was something I developed when I was in school and had to read books for my classes but also wanted to read my own books.
So, what do I mean when I say I read multiple books at a time? Simply put I might read one book that day and read another book the next day or switch books every few days. I might start a book but then begin to lose interest — maybe it’s the wrong mood or the story isn’t grabbing me. I’m not ready to fully DNF the book so I figure I need to give it some space and I’ll start reading a second book. I might finish that second book and then return to the first or maybe read half of the second, finish the first, and then finish the second. It all really depends on what I feel like. Not really juggling after all, just having a book in the wings.
Another large factor do what I’m reading is whether it’s a digital book or a physical book. I much prefer to read on my kindle but all my library books are typically paperback. Late at night I enjoy laying down on my couch to read and this is MUCH easier with an eReader. Sometimes I’ll have my “day book” which is often paperback and my “night book” which is often digital. This type of scenario involves more switching back and forth and has the most risk of confusion. To combat that, I try to vary my genres when reading more than one book at a time. If the first book is a contemporary romance and I want to start another I’ll look for something different, like a science fiction romance. I also try to avoid crossing tropes or themes so, for example, I’m not reading two books about fake relationships.
When treated like this, it’s not so hard to keep the books straight as long as I don’t let too much time (2 weeks or so for me) pass before I pick up the book. Now even with those methods some readers prefer to stick to a single book at a time and that’s perfectly fine. I won’t lie and say everything is always clear and easy when I’m reading multiple books. I’m only human and my brain has a limited memory so sometimes things get blurry but for the most part it works for me.