Should You Read More Than One Book At A Time?

By: Preston Simmons | Written: 16 June 2021


Woman reading more than one book at a time.
Is reading more than one book at a time a good idea?

Is it okay to read more than one book at a time?

If you’re a reader, more than likely, you’ve come across multiple books you have wanted to read while you were reading something else. I know I have. In the past, I used to develop this strange sense of loyalty to whatever book I was currently reading at the time. There was no way I could stop what I was reading to start on that next, shiny new book I had just come across. No, I had to stick with it to the end. Finish what I had started. Only then could I move on to the next book.

But is that how it should always be? What if, instead, I decided to do the unthinkable? What if I started reading that new book before I finished the first one? That introduces the age-old question readers ask themselves all the time. Should you read more than one book at a time? Is it okay to read more than one book at a time?

Absolutely.

Not only is it okay to read more than one book at a time, it could also help you become a better reader!

Is reading multiple books bad?

In a Reddit post, the question was asked how many people read more than one book at a time. Of the people that answered, most actually read multiple books at once. One of the problems that typically arise with this practice is being confused while you read. It’s not surprising. Imagine you started to read two books at once, and each of them was 1000+ pages long. There would be hundreds of characters between the two books, so it would be pretty easy to lose track of which character appears in which book. Interestingly, none of the Reddit users had this problem. Some even said that they were reading 10 different books at once!

Reading multiple books at once is not bad, and here’s why.

#1 – It can expose you to different genres

reading more than one book at a time can expose you to different genres
reading multiple books can expose you to different genres

The truth is, if you only read one book at a time, you’re only exposing yourself to that one particular story and genre. But if you are reading more than one book at a time, you allow yourself to experience many different genres and stories. You could read one fiction and one non-fiction at the same time. Maybe pick up some greek mythology epic and compare it to a modern-day fantasy book. You could read a romance book and at the same time a horror. The possibilities are endless!

#2- You get through your To Be Read list faster

It's easy to find yourself with hundreds of books on your TBR list. This picture shows a woman with many books to read. Reading more than one book at a time will cut down on her tbr list.
It’s easy to find yourself with hundreds of books on your TBR list.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a ton of books on your TBR list. I even know some people with over 1000 books on their personal list. If you only read one book at a time, that list will probably never be completed in your lifetime. But if you read multiple books at once, the TBR list will seem just a bit less of an impossible task.

#3- It can give you a break from a difficult book

This picture shows a man reading a book in bed, taking a break from his boring book.  Reading multiple books at once can help with that.
Sometimes you need a break from the slog

There’s a good chance at least once in your life you have started a book that was extremely difficult to get through. Maybe it was boring, or nothing interesting happened in the last 200 pages. Whatever the case, it wasn’t catching your attention. More than likely, you set the book down, never to return to it. What you needed was something more interesting to read.

If you were reading another book at the same time as your boring book, maybe it would not have been so bad. Reading multiple books at once gives you a break from the more difficult ones. Read one chapter from the boring book and then read a chapter from the interesting book. When you break the boring into small parts, it becomes less of a slog to get through.

How do you read multiple books at a time?

So now that it’s been made clear that reading multiple books at a time is not bad, how do you actually do it? For some, it can be hard to separate yourself from a book once you get started with it. For others, it could even be a completionist ideology. Personally, I always want to see what happens next in my current book. Before I know it, I’ve finished it without even having the chance to pick up something else. So, how can you make it easier to read multiple books at a time? Here are a few easy tips to help you out.

#1 – Pick books of different genres

man picking books of different genres to help him read multiple books at once
Pick books of different genres to help keep things interesting

The first step is picking books of different genres to help keep things interesting. One of the problems of reading multiple books simultaneously of the same genre is that you may find too many similarities. Too many similarities may lead you to be more confused in your reading. The more confused you are, the more likely you are to put down the book for good. Reading is supposed to be fun. If you are confused and having difficulty while you read, more than likely, you aren’t having fun.

Picking books of different genres keeps reading fun and really helps make reading more enjoyable altogether. The more different a genre is, the better. Try reading Odyssey by Homer and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien at the same time. Two timeless epics of different genres. You might find them easier to finish both if you read them at the same time.

#2 – Read books of different lengths

man holding multiple books in his hand planning to read more than one book at a time.
Reading books of different lengths will give you a sense of accomplishment

Every year on goodreads.com, there is a reading challenge that occurs. The reading challenge lets the user set how many books they would like to read by the end of the year. Some people go as high as 200 books, others go as low as 10 books, and some even want to only read a single book for the year.

Personally, my goal was set to 50 books by the end of the year. I have noticed that since I choose to read much longer books (1000+ pages), the number of books I have actually finished has been low. It’s easy to feel like a worse reader than others when they have already finished 200 books by midyear. A way that would help me, and others like me, feel a sense of accomplishment would be to read books of different lengths simultaneously.

Currently, I am reading Mother of Learning by Nobody103. This book alone has 2,882 pages or 861,718 words. I know this book will take me a very long time to finish. At the same time, I am also reading the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, a book I know I will finish in less than half the time it takes me to read MoL.

Reading books of different length will not only make reading multiple books easier, it will also give you the sense of accomplishment of finishing a lot of books instead of just one single book. And if you’re a part of the goodreads challenge, you’ll feel even better getting that “challenge complete” badge quicker.

#3 – Read books from different mediums

reading comic books is a great way to read multiple books from different mediums
Comic books, light novels, manga, and graphic novels are great sources of reading

An easy way to read more books at once is by reading from different mediums. Comic books, light novels, manga, and graphic novels are great sources of reading that are different from your typical novel. They contain some of the most unique stories that you can find. They are perfect companions to whatever novel you read.


Should you read more than one book at a time? There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t. In reality, there is no right or wrong way to read books. Read as many as you like, whenever you like. If you enjoy sticking it out with one book, that’s awesome. Suppose you’re one of those people who can read 10 books at once; more power to you. Do whatever you love doing. The most important thing is to have fun while doing it.

Do you read more than one book at a time? If so, what are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below!


1 thought on “Should You Read More Than One Book At A Time?”

  1. Pingback: Mother of Learning by Nobody103 REVIEW | Reader's Grotto

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