Can you read more than one book at a time?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Smitty, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Smitty

    Smitty Registered User

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    That pretty much is my question, can you read more than one book (of any type) at the same time? Not literally at the same time of course but I hope you know what I mean. I for instance can read a science fiction book and 1 other fiction book providing that it is not the same genre. The exception is that I can read a star trek book and a sci fi book without confusing the characters.
     
  2. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    I usually have about four books started at the same time, and switch from one to another, as the mood or convenience (commute, work breaks, bathroom) takes me. They are different genres, and sometimes one of them takes precedence, sometimes not.
    For example, I'm reading now : Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen on my phone, The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez-Reverte at work, The Kings of Morning by Paul Kearney and The Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip at home.
     
  3. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    Yup, but rarely above two as I tend to go 'forget' one and end up back at two.
     
  4. Smitty

    Smitty Registered User

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    Wow, very impressive!
     
  5. Pennarin

    Pennarin Registered User

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    A danger, I find, is starting a second one and finding it so much more interesting than the first one, and ending up abandoning the first one.

    Unless a book is horrible, it merits a complete reading once you've started, otherwise incessant comparisons with book no. 2, 3, or 4 you've started since you found book no. 1 was less interesting than you thought will cause you to cast a far worst light on book. no. 1 than it merited.

    Sometimes this doesn't happen. Still, I have never compiled statistics on the subject.
     
  6. Fedos

    Fedos Registered User

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    I've sort of developed in my reading whereby I'll be reading one primary novel at a time, but other supporting literature alongside it. Like right now I'm reading Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn but I'm also periodically reading short story collections by Lovecraft and Poe respectively. I read those through the day, and at night I'll sneak in poetry collections.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  7. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Sometimes two or three but it is usually because some book is on the border line and I am debating whether or not to continue. If I go back and finish I guess it counts as multiples but its rare.

    psik
     
  8. ColdSun

    ColdSun The Enigmatic Paradox

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    I usually read only one, but sometimes when I find a book drawn-out, I skip to another book that I know is a quick and easy read and stagger the two books. It doesn't usually cause me any problems as I find I can stop reading most books and pick them up at any time. I just need to read a few pages to recall where I was.
     
  9. winterkill

    winterkill Registered User

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    Not really.

    When I try to do this, I end up liking one book more than the other and just reading that one through to the end before coming back to the other one.

    I've given up trying and just read one at a time now.
     
  10. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    I'll usually have one fiction book and one non-fiction book going. The non-fiction is a long term read that I only go to occasionally whereas the fiction books get devoured.
     
  11. banapaulo

    banapaulo New Member

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    Once upon a time, which is probably why I never finished any. I've got a lot of time at the moment so I commit to a book and try and read it within a few weeks max, if it's a novel of reasonable length. Starting another piece of fiction at the same time seems pointless, and science fiction more than any other genre I've read requires your complete focus to get the most out of it and lose yourself in the world. Can you imagine switching between Neuromancer and, well, anything?

    However, I've pretty much always got non-fiction on the go. I've been reading the same book on Europe in the 1930s for about 5 years, dipping in and out when I feel inclined.
     
  12. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

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    I usually have anywhere from 2 to 5 books going on at the same time. I never have any trouble finishing them; even the bad ones. However I might take about half a year to trudge through a particularly awful book while blitzing through dozens of others (i.e. I always have something interesting that I'm reading).
    I started this habit years ago when I was working my way through a massive eleven volume history series by Will and Ariel Durant (that took me about ten years to get through). While the thick tomes were fascinating, I wanted to read something else from time to time so I would call a break and pick up something fast and entertaining. That's how it started for me and I never looked back.
    Currently I'm reading The Naked God by Peter Hamilton, The Honor of the Queen by David Weber, The High King of Montival by S.M. Stirling, and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu.
     
  13. Mr. Aware Eagle

    Mr. Aware Eagle Registered User

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    My attention span is not suited for multiple books at once. I can barely handle more than a few television shows.
     
  14. gainespost

    gainespost Registered User

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    Reading more than one novel at a time used to be a severe disease of mine, and part of a broader attention problem that affected every aspect of my live. My record was 8 novels at the same time. It took me a long time to finish 6 of them; 2 I never finished.

    Now I *only* read one book at a time, no matter what. And I find I get into the story more this way; my mind doesn't get distracted by the constant semi-subconscious mental comparisons between stories like it did when I used to read more than one at once.

    As for genre, I float around. I've read more sci-fi than anything else over the past several years, but sometimes I get a hankering for a good fantasy or something completely non-specfic. When it comes to books, however, I pretty much only read fiction these days; but I read some nonfiction articles / essays / news items as well.