Ever since I dedicated myself to increasing my book reading to be more or less what it used to be during my high school and college days, I would set small, attainable reading goals I think I can reasonably accomplish by the end of the year. Since then my reading goals have grown more ambitious. Last year I finished reading 19 books, and this year I’m looking to finish 20-25 books. What may have helped me is reading two, maybe three, books during some months. Is that how I approach all the books I read? It depends on what it is.
Usually when I settle on a book to read for the next few weeks or months, I prefer to focus on one book at a time. I like to give my full attention to a story, especially when the book I’m reading is fiction, modern or classic. If I decide to add a second book into the mix, it has to be what I like to call “easy reading”.
What’s considered “easy reading”? For me it’s graphic novels/manga, informational books, or most audio books. I find these books require less concentration than the standard 300 or 400 page novel, and they’re easy to get through in a few hours or days.
If I’m not currently reading a lengthy paperback or hardcover book, I might decide to fit in a graphic novel or audio book I’ll switch to during the week or over the weekend. Making up a bit of my book backlog are graphic novels and audio books. If I can somehow find a way to make time for those in between my book of the month, then I might squeeze it in as long as it doesn’t distract me from my main read.
Last month I’ve been balancing reading fiction with doing some research for my work in progress story. Because the research I’m doing is to gain more knowledge about a topic I’m not too familiar with, it doesn’t detract from the story I’m reading for pleasure. Research can be a bit tedious, if the information you seek isn’t always engrossing, which is why being able to jump back to my current book serves as the nice break that I need.
I never had any intention to necessarily make reading more than one book at the same time a habit, but it was something I decided to do last year when lockdown started. Noticing I had a few graphic novels I never got around to reading pre-pandemic, I decided they would be quick and easy reads to knock off my to be read pile. Not only did I finish some of them, like Wonder Woman, but I also finished my main book at the time in the same month!
Taking on more than one book can help you reach your reading goals more quickly, but I wouldn’t want to do it too often. When a story is really good you want to give it the time and attention it deserves instead of having another book compete for that same time and attention from you. You might have only one experience with a book before moving onto the next one. You should give that book a chance to leave its mark on you.
Are you a one book at a time type of person or do you like reading two, three, or more books at once?