I always used to be a one-book-at-a-time kind of reader. I never understood people who could juggle three or four books at once without getting confused or neglecting one book entirely in the favour of another. If I stopped reading one book and picked up another, then I was almost definitely never going to return to that first book.
However, with my recent discovery of audiobooks, I have slowly seen my reading habits changing, as I now almost always have at least two books on the go at a time, if not more. Although I am still certainly not someone who could be constantly switching between ten different books, I’m really enjoying having the freedom to put a book to the side for a little bit until I feel the desire to read it again.
So today, I thought I would look at the pros and cons of both style of reading – is it better to read one book at once, or multiple, or is a combination of the two the best way to go?
YOU NEVER GET BORED – not really feeling your current read? Just pick up another book! Whenever you get tired or bored of a certain world or story, instead of DNFing it forever, you can just pick up something else you are interested in, and get back to the first book when you are ready to.
YOU CAN SWITCH GENRES DEPENDING ON MOOD, EVEN IF YOU ARE STICKING TO A TBR – This one is pretty similar to the last on, in the idea that you don’t have to push through a book you are not in the mood for – i.e. reading multiple books at a time is perfect for mood readers! It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a contemporary but are in the mood for a fantasy, because you can just switch another book rather than forcing yourself through something you are enjoying, but are just not in the mood for.
YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO ALWAYS HAVE A BOOK WITH YOU – I don’t know about you, but I always forget to take my book with me to places where I then find I would have time to read. However, if you are reading more than one book at once, then you could just always leave one of the books you are reading in you bag and never have to worry again!
NO CONFUSION! – It can be hard to get to grips with just one world, story and set of characters, all of whom’s names you have to try and quickly remember. Trying to read more than one book, therefore, makes this job so much harder – you not only have to remember multiple details and characters, but also which belongs to which book.
YOU CAN GET FULLY IMMERSED IN ONE WORLD AND ONE STORY – One of the biggest reasons I used to much prefer reading one book at a time was because I never felt like I was truly invested in a book if I wasn’t devoting my full attention to it. When reading just one book, you automatically allow yourself to get fully immersed in that world as you attention is not divided by two, three, or even more different stories all with unique worlds and characters.
YOU’LL PROBABLY READ BOOKS QUICKER – I don’t know if this is just my experience or not, but one of the key things that stops me from always reading multiple books at once is how slowly it makes me feel that I am reading, because instead of focusing on just one book, you are making a dent in three books at the same time. So whilst eventually you will have finished three books instead of one, you probably would have read each of them a little slower than if you had just read each book on its own.
Personally, I am still trying to find out which style of reading works best for me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I will continue to switch between one book at a time and multiple based on what I’m feeling, how much time I have and so many other factors that impact my reading life. Therefore, I am not sure I fit into one category or the other anymore, as it seems that a combination of both reading habits is what works best for me at the moment.
What do you tend to do? Do you enjoy reading multiple books at a time? Or are you a strictly one book at a time reader? Have your reading habits changed over time?