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One at a Time?

btt buttonSome people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…

1. Are you currently reading more than one book?
2. If so, how many books are you currently reading?
3. Is this normal for you?
4. Where do you keep your current reads?

It’s very unusual that I’m reading more than one book because I’m splashing around three at the moment. The unfacy language, coherence, and linear plot of Zeno’s Conscience and Of Human Bondage make it possible, and bearable to read them concurrently without being confused about the happenings and characters. The Labrador Pact is a very humorous read narrated by yet another dog, the labrador Prince. With dogged determination, he sacrifices his own pleasure to protect and serve the family that can neither understand his entreaties nor appreciate his level of commitment. When I’m in between books and do not have a solid choice lined up, I find myself browsing two books and see which one will grab my interest. My current reads are in my bag when I go to work and sit on the desk when I’m home. Breakfast time is the prime reading time for me. I go to the coffee shop where I devote at least two hours to reading in the morning, free of all electronic gadgets.


54 Responses

  1. oh wow, 2 hours of reading in a coffee shop? sounds like heaven to me 🙂

    I read one book at a time, strictly one, although I think I might try reading fiction and non-fiction together…

  2. I’m usually a book monogamist, too. And I have to say, those 2 hours of tech-free reading time every morning do sound wonderful. Mind if I join you sometime?

  3. Hmm, normally one book at a time so I can give it my full focus. Occasionally, if said book involves a lot of mental gymnastics and is thought provoking or just large, I will take up a second book of completely different substance as a good deal of my reading is done in the subway where note taking is not always easily done.

  4. I can only read 2 at the most and one is usually a book on CD I listen to. One is usually fiction and the other non-fiction which helps keep balance. What a great coffee shop you have to spend two hours reading. I can understand why you like it!
    My Post is HERE.

  5. I am so jealous that you get to read at breakfast. I can usually catch a few minutes to read at lunch, but then I have to wait until after work to get some solid reading time in.

  6. I used to only be able to focus on one at a time. But surprise, surprise, after I started blogging that changed! I usually have one audio and one hard book going for me, as well as an audio and a hard book going with the kids.

  7. I’m very envious you are organised enough to have enough time to read during breakfast. I’m usually still half asleep or late! I’m a one book reader too but I’ve got three books on the go at the moment.

  8. I think the ‘free of all electronic gadgets’ part is the key
    to productive reading time.

  9. I’ve never gone to a coffee shop to read. I should try that out. I prefer to read one book at a time and two depending on the situation. Never more than two though, since I’m afraid that I’ll end up blending the books together.

    The cover of Zeno’s Conscience is pretty awesome.

    ~ Popin

  10. I read multiple books at any point of time. I chose those from different genres. These keep my brain very fertile which I need for my creativity. I need to zillions thing all at the same time. Reading many books is one of them.

    BTT: Juggling books

  11. I can read more than one book at a time. Right now I am reading a paperback of Vicious Circle by Mike Carey, Metro 2033 by Dmitrij Gluhovksij (in Russian) and I am listening to the unabridged version of Monday Starts on Saturday by Strugatskie, read out in Russian.

  12. Usually, I concentrate on one book. Occasionally, I will take a furlough from one book and take up another, returning to the first at a later time. Sometimes I will mix genres, i.e. fiction and history, and switch rhythmically between them, but this is quite rare. I have a reading chair with rather broad, flat wooden arms. It’s a good place to locate the current book(s) between bouts of reading.

  13. That two hours of reading in the coffee shop sounds divine. I may have to start doing that. Ever since I stopped living alone, I’ve found that it’s more difficult to read. Nowadays, it seems I get my best reading done when I’m flying. Which I suppose is great since I fly a lot. 😀

  14. I usually read 3-4 books at a time. I have one by the bed, to read before sleep. I have one or two on my desk, related to whatever text I’m teaching that week. Often I have one in my living room that goes with me in the car when I’m picking up kids (lots of 10 minute segments there). Sometimes I have another in the living room–essays or nonfiction. And I always have a book on tape in the car.

  15. I much prefer one book at a time. Sometimes I will do a fiction and non-fiction, but one is much more preferable.

  16. I love to juggle several books so 3 – 4 is typical for me. Right now, I’ve got 5.

    And, how lovely to spend 2 hours each morning just reading. I think I need to get away from the house more often because electronic gadgets get in the way 🙂

  17. I’m a monogamous reader as well. In addition to the current read I also have a copy of The Economist or Men’s Fitness.

  18. Hi!
    The Labrador Pact sounds interesting. I might have to check that one out! Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great evening!


  19. I’ve juggled more than one book at a time but right now I’m totally involved in just one. Going to the coffee shop every morning and reading for 2 hours sound very relaxing, especially without the gadgets!!

  20. I depends on me. Sometimes I juggle two or three books at a time. Sometimes just one.

    Enjoy your spring.

  21. Tech free reading is the best kind. It’s much harder to immerse yourself in a book if you have a computer open, a cell phone at hand, and so on.

  22. I am generally pretty strict about only reading one book at a time. I don’t like to devote my attentional (or memory) resources to multiple books, and like to just focus on one at a time. Also, I tend to be one of those readers who seeks to become completely engrossed by whichever book I’m reading, and I think this would be harder to achieve with multiple books on the go. Instead, I’d probably wind up just loving one more than all the others and reading it to the exclusion of the others.

    BUT, at the moment I’m actually reading two books. One is fiction, and the other is a non-fiction light read (about changing careers, filled with advice and strategies and interviews… so it’s very different and feels more like reading a newspaper article).

  23. I usually read one book at a time, although sometimes I have two books on the go if the book is erring on the bulky side and too troublesome and heavy to carry around with me when out and about. If I’m reading at home, I normally keep my book on top of a few of my TBR pile, near my bed .

  24. 2 hours reading in the morning sure sounds nice 😀
    I should do that

  25. I’m reading 4 books concurrently, which is very normal — a habit I picked up in high school having to read so many different books for so many classes. I keep one of the books in my desk at work, to read during my lunch break. The other three are in my nightstand so I can easily grab one of them for a quick read before going to bed.

  26. I didn’t get to this “booking through thursday”, but it interests me, so I’m answering here, if you don’t mind. I always have too many books going at once! I can’t help myself–I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to books, and I can’t stop myself from starting new things even before I’ve finished the last. I also like to have many reading choices, depending on my mood. My books can be found all over the place, sadly–bedside table, kitchen table, bathroom, bookbag–you never know! How are you liking Of Human Bondage? I read it last year and really enjoyed it.

  27. Violet:
    I definitely have to read more non-fiction.

  28. Rebecca:
    It would be nice if you join me. It’s the most productive hour to read for me, free of all demands and obligation.

  29. Christina:
    When I used to commute by train, I developed a mental capacity which allowed me to remember the page numbers where important passages were found. Then I went back to the pages and scribbled down notes. 🙂

  30. Bonnie-Redlady:
    Yes, sometimes I listen to audio books during commute. The last one was Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. 🙂

  31. Jessica:
    For a long time I debate between reading and working out at the gym early morning. But I choose to read because I’m more clear-minded in the morning.

  32. Sandy:
    I really like your idea in reading along with your kids. That is the singularly best way to help develop in them a habit and love for reading. Faith without act is dead so they say right? 🙂

  33. Mae:
    I’m lucky to be working in a field that requires lots of reading and writing. That gives me the advantage that I’m always in the mood for books. 🙂

  34. JoAnn:
    I try not to answer phone calls and check messages during that quiet hour. It’s between me and the author whose book I’m perusing. Oh, and coffee. 🙂

  35. Popin:
    I’ll be at the risk of blending the books if I have more than two. I like to read for the story and for the writing style. Sometimes I get confused and cannot attend to what I have been reading. One book is probably the best I can do. 🙂

  36. gautami:
    You’re one capable multi-tasker! 🙂 It must be the teacher in you.

  37. babushak:
    I can do more than one if I balance out the different genres nicely.

  38. Greg S:
    I cannot tell you the trouble that I went through looking for the perfect reading chair. Most of the ones I found had too wide of space between the two arms and my elbows cannot comfortably set on them. The ones with the perfect arm-spread pitch aren’t too comfortable, at least not enough for sitting in a long stretch of time.

    As to reading combination, I find literature and history often complement on another very nicely without confusing me.

  39. J.S. Peyton:
    It’s good for you that you can concentrate reading during flights. Sometimes I’m too wired up to even try reading a magazine. The people walking down the aisle can be very distracting.

  40. Jeanne:
    Do you ever forget what you were reading after a lapse of time? At least I can manage with essays because they’re stand-alone readings. But I often forget or confuse over different novels.

  41. Yvonne:
    I can read two fiction at a time if one is mystery.

  42. iliana:
    I usually ignore calls or turn off the cellphone during those two hours in the morning. But usually nobody called me at 6 in the morning! 🙂

  43. John:
    That’s a nice combination of reading.

  44. Sherrie:
    It’s a fairly new book and I suppose a quick read. 🙂

  45. Staci:
    It’s a very cozy place that I’ve been going for five years. I always take the same table at the corner. 🙂

  46. Isabel:
    Thank you. I’m now as I’m typing, managing to pack away the books which I’m taking with me. 🙂

  47. Meghan:
    I was just thinking how much more work I can get done without my fiddling with all the electronic gadgets! I try not to spend so much time online now and limit only to reading blogs. 🙂

  48. Steph:
    As usual, you describe so beautifully and thoroughly why you choose to read just a book at a time. I’m trying to engross in my reading and that is why I prefer to read early in the morning, free of any disturbance and obligation at work. I’m giving my best piece of my mind to the words and the author.

  49. Regina:
    Yeah it’s tough to lug around hardbacks. It’s also not the easy thing to read from, at least for me, because the jacket always slips off the book. I tend to stick with paperbacks.

  50. Blodeuedd:
    I have done so much more reading in those 2 hours than any time of the day.

  51. Greg:
    I remembered the days juggling books around for different classes in college. How did I even do that?

  52. gentle reader:
    I also like to have many choices but usually I stick to the one that grabs my interest. I flip through the beginning of a few others that would have lined up. Of Human Bondage is a bit slow but I think it’s necessary that Maugham slows down and pans out at these different relationships to achieve the realism of prose.

  53. No, I don’t ever forget what I was reading. In fact, with romance novels I leave in the car for those times when I have to wait for a kid but forgot to bring a book, I can pick up the story line months afterwards.

  54. […] Taking Notes Recent Best: Shanghai Girls One Read Wonder Reading Beyond the Words: On Symbolism One at a Time Spontaneity and […]

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