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Topic: How many books do you read/listen to at a time?

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Subject: How many books do you read/listen to at a time?
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2008
Posts: 50
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I see posts where folks have 4 and 5 books going at a time. How in the world do you keep them all straight?

Since I discovered audio books I've been reading/listening to one each. But that is all I think I can manage.


Date Posted: 2/1/2010 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2009
Posts: 227
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I usually just have one going.  If I have two going, its because the first one isn't keeping me in the reading mood.  I may have to pick up that #2 book from a familiar/easy read for me author.   It can mean that book #1 doesn't get finished.


Date Posted: 2/1/2010 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2009
Posts: 174
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Usually one at a time is enough for me, though I might have two going, but they're almost always different genres--say a mystery and a non-fiction book. Or I may be listening to an audio book with my husband, and have another book I'm reading on my own. That said, right now I have one mystery going at work and one at home--but that's unual for me. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2008
Posts: 48
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I only read one book at a time.  It drives me crazy to pick up another book before finishing one.  However, I have recently discovered audio books.  I listen to a book in my car on my way to and from work.  This is the only time that I have two stories going at the same time. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I don't have a problem with reading multiple books at a time.  I might have one or two "serious" books, plus a slew of others that I'm working on at varying paces.  I do keep a list in a notebook showing where I am in various books, and update it weekly (since I also track how many pages I read).  My list for this week has thirteen books so far, and that's fairly typical.

Last Edited on: 2/1/10 4:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2010 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Usually I have 4 going at once, but the context is different for each. I tote one to work (usually a lighter paperback--in both tone and actual weight, LOL), one is my bedside table book which I read one or two chapters of before turning out the light--again this is usually lighter in tone and a paperback so if I fall asleep I won't have a head injury if it falls on my face...one audiobook, and then one "main" book I read at home. The book for home is usually a big hardcover that I wouldn't tote around. Sometimes I have five, if I have a non-fiction book I'm slowly working my way through, but that can sometimes take awhile.

I don't have any trouble keeping them straight--usually I'm reading four quite different styles/types of books so it's not a problem.


Date Posted: 2/1/2010 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I typically have two to three books going at a time.  Rarely more than four.  I have my "main book" which is the one that I read in bed at night.  Then I have a "fluffier" book that stays by my chair in the living room and when I get tired of surfing the net, I have a book closeby to read.  Usually have have a "travel" book going as well.  This book stays in my car or with my purse so that when I take my son to piano lessons, orthordontist appointments, scouting events etc., I always have reading material.  I typically have a magazine or three floating around my car as well.  The thought of being stuck somewhere without something to read makes me hyperventilate!

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
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Until last year I never had more than one book going at a time.  When I started to listen to audio books again (first time in about 12 years) I would have one visual book and one audio.  Since I received my Sony e-reader for Christmas, I now have a book on that as well.  I keep the e-reader in my purse and leave my paper book for reading at home.  The audio book I listen to in my car.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2008
Posts: 310
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I am like Michele-I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction going at the same time.  The non-fiction is usually a film history book or some other film related reference book.  Sometimes it is another history book, such as the history of cotton and mills (don't laugh-it is really fascinating!) or a biography of a famous author. 

 I find that the mysteries keep me relaxed and the film books help me do my job better (I work in a film archive, and specialize in film made on nitrate stock.) 


Last Edited on: 2/2/10 1:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2010 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,024
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You probably can't see it, but my hat is off to all of you reading more than one book at a time!  One book at a time works best for me. The  only time I would have two going is if I'm reading a hardcover and want to take a book along with me if I leave the house for appts., etc. HC's are too bulky to fit in my purse. Then I choose the next book I am planning to read with me.

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
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I generally have at least 3 books going at a time.

  1. one I'm listening too in the car on my short trips to work or running errands with no child in the car
  2. one on my iPhone that I'm reading on my Kindle app and
  3. one that I'm reading in my spare time and before bed

Sometimes that number ups to 4 if I've got a book going that isn't holding my interest, I'll set it aside and read something else, but will go back and forth between the two.

Date Posted: 2/3/2010 7:11 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2008
Posts: 65
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I usually have one or two - a paperback to carry around with me and an ebook on my laptop. When I can only get a giant, heavy version of a book then sometimes that will make three, but that's about my limit.  I lose interest or just forget otherwise.

Date Posted: 2/9/2010 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I liken it to being able to follow more than one TV series at a time. I can keep up with them even when they take long breaks between seasons. 

But I do find that 4 is my limit for books-not including audios.  I will usually have 2-3 print books going and 2 audios going: I'll generally have a main read going-a postable book that I only read when I can sit and read and not damage the book. Then I'll usually have an unpostable going that I take in the bathroom, jam in my purse, read while eating etc..,  I'll also usually have a longer/tougher/more serious read going-a book that I want to read but just can't sit and read for hours on end.  Then I'll have 2 audios going: 1 "grown-up" audio that I listen to while doing housework or walking the dogs.  And one YA that I listen to with DD in the car or snuggling up before bed.

ETA: I generally keep the genres varied.  That helps a lot. If I have 2 going that are the same genre then it gets confusing.  But if I keep one romance, one mystery. one historical fiction etc..., it's much easier to follow.

Last Edited on: 2/9/10 12:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2010 7:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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Up until recently, I'd only have two books going at one time--one audio that I listen to in the car, working around the house and exercising and one that I'd be reading.

For some reason, now I find myself reading two or three (in addition to my audio book). Not sure why I changed, maybe it's a result of having a Sony reader and having all kinds of books at my fingertips.

I don't find it that hard to keep up with the characters and action in the different books I'm reading. I think Mary has a good analogy--it's like keeping up with different TV shows. And like Mary, I usually pick books from different genres to read at the same time. This way, I can read from the book that fits my mood at the time.