Reading Habits

Following my post updating my reading progress a few days ago I received a very interesting comment from Charles, regarding the fact that I always seem to have a number of different books on the go at the same time.

This got me to wondering how others organise their reading.

Do you read one book at a time or multiple ones and if so is there any structure to it or just what you fancy at any given moment.

Reading more than one book at a time is just something that I seem to have always done, especially if one or more of the books is quite complicated, as in the case of one of my current reads, Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’.

I can often have five or six books that I am part way through. Sometimes I read a chapter of one, then a chapter of another and just flit back and forth. Strangely I don’t usually lose track of where I am and what is happening, although sometime I do find that it is easier to read a reasonable chunk of a particular book if the language is difficult. for example old English, or the style unusual, as it takes a little while to get to grips with.

Sometimes I find a particular book is more suitable for reading in the commercial breaks whilst watching television, the sort of book with lots of breaks in it, lots of small paragraphs, rather than pages and pages that are not broken up in anyway. For example ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King as opposed to Zola’s, ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’, another two of my current reads.

I also find that I like the variety and I can read whichever book suits my mood at the time. Usually I have different types of books going. One could be a classic, one fantasy, one modern literature, one thriller etc. Sometimes I do however have just a single book that I am reading. A lot depends on how complex it is and also my desire to get to the end of the book and find out what has happened.

So question time. How do you organise your reading matter? Do you tend to have more than one book on the go at the same time or do you start a book and read it to completion before starting the next.

Please comment and let me know what your reading habits. As always, I am eager to hear your views.

21 thoughts on “Reading Habits

  1. I usually have multiple eBooks open and print books bookmarked. I read a variety of books. Some are easy reads, some require deep thought, some are not written in a way that flows easily, some are so fascinating that I can’t put them down. When I have something very deep or something that isn’t easy to read through, it can get shelved several times. I sort of need to be in the mood for them, or at least free of distractions. Variety is nice, too. Sometimes I have a book that is fun and quick to read, but I get my hands on something else in the meantime. For example, I recently put down a good book because the last book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time finally became available on eBook, and I just HAD to put an end to this series that I started years ago (I really felt the irony of the title when I completed book 9 years ago, only to be dismayed that the series hadn’t been completed yet).

    The same is true with writing. I have always have several files that are in progress.


    • A man after my own heart then. I had a similar experience when the final book in Raymond E Feist’s Midkemaian Cycle came out, especially as the first book was probably the book that got me interested in fantasy in the first place. I just had to read it, almost to the exception of everything else. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


    • I agree. That is my way. I know no other way for me. I do know people though that will only read one book at a time, but admittedly they are usually people that do not read a great deal


  2. I’m the opposite, a (mostly) one book at a time kind of gal. I like to give a book my full attention and become submersed in the world. That being said I currently am in the middle of two books: one for pleasure, one that I’m editing. And I have a few other projects floating around in my head.


    • Thanks for your comment. I can see the advantage of immersing yourself entirely into one book, one world. I am not sure I will ever be able to do this on a regular basis though, usually it will only be for that one book that I start and just have to finish straight away. I like the variety. Really it doesn’t matter how people read, just as long as they do 🙂


  3. I may switch between a non-fiction and fiction book, but for the most part, once I decide to read something, I start and don’t stop until I finish – then reach for the next one.


  4. I usually have several books going at a time. Some make that good book to go to sleep by. My Tablet or Kindle Fire are good for those as the back lighting means I don’t keep my husband awake while I read. Some have a audio version I am listening to while I read. For those I like to have the TV off and no one around to distract me. (Game of Throne, right now. I am on the second reading of the series. So I wait until my husband is out picking up or dropping off his son, or grocery shopping for those. He hasn’t read but the first one so I don’t want to give him spoilers.)

    Other books I have on my Kindle and I use the text-to-speech to help me. Many of these work best for me early in the morning when the house is quiet. I got to the restroom or put on my headset to keep from waking everyone up.

    For a while, before Kindles, I was reading less and less. But since Kindle–well, I read 225 books last year. I feel I am back to devouring books.


  5. I always have at least two on the go – on for on the bus on my commute to and from work, and one which I read in bed before I go to sleep. Often I add a third one to that, but there’s no rhyme or reason to it really.


      • To be fair, I think it’s generally a case of ‘ooh, that book looks interesting’ so I start reading, and then I can’t stop, and I have three on the go. The bus/bed thing is simply because if I read the same book on both, I’d find myself without a book on the bus because I forgot that it’s still on my nightstand, or I’ll be in bed and have to get up again to get it out of my bag.


  6. Interesting question, and I’ve enjoyed reading the responses here, so thanks for posing it!

    I prefer to concentrate on one book at a time because I really like to get sucked into the time and place of whatever I’m reading. If I’m reading two books at once it’s normally a sign that I’m not massively enjoying either of them. Sometimes I will have a fiction book and a work of non-fiction on the go at the same time: the fiction to read at night and the non-fiction to read at other times such as during my lunch breaks at work but even then I tend to get suckered in to one or other and favour that, reading it until it’s finished.

    The only real exception is “The Emperor of Dreams” a short story (Weird Tale) collection by Clark Ashton-Smith which I’ve been reading for over a year. I really enjoy these stories but it’s the sort of collection to be enjoyed in small doses one at a time, so this has become my reading in the bath book. I love reading in the bath but one of the things I don’t like about my Kindle is that I daren’t read it in the bath, so the Ashton-Smith paperback is my go-to read in the bath book and I enjoy coming back to it regularly. I’ve nearly finished it now in fact!


    • Thanks for sharing your views. Yet another different answer. It has been great getting everyone’s views on this. I can still draw no conclusions, except that we pretty much all read differently, but at least we read 🙂


  7. For years, I would only read one book at a time. I wouldn’t start another book, until I finished what I was reading, unless I had something assigned to me in school. For the past several years, however, I have been reading two books at a time. I usually will read one fiction novel and, at the same time, a biography, memoir, or something along those lines.


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