[GUIDE] How to Read Multiple Books at the Same Time Without Getting Confused

I am currently reading multiple books at the same time. Of course, they’re not literally being read at the same time. It’s more of that I’m reading one or two chapters and then I switch over to the next book. Usually when I bring this up, people often say to me that they can’t read multiple books at the same time because they get them confused.

I don’t really understand how anybody can get books confused with each other.

Okay, if they’re about the same subject, I can understand possibly getting them confused and having the content blurred – if you’re reading two novels about vampires and they both involve a group of teens who have to kill them, then maybe I can understand how you would get them confused, ignoring that the characters are different, the plot line might be a bit different, and even the writing style might be different.

Why I Read Multiple Books at the Same Time

I own a lot of books to the point I have to add more shelving than I want to in my room to accommodate them and my small, by comparison VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray collection. I sort of have a fear that I will not be able to read them all before I die – I mean, I know when I die, the random knowledge or enjoyment I got from the books won’t be of any use, but I would like to put them to good use while I’m still breathing. In an attempt to knock down these books and actually read them, I have decided to read them at the same time. Well, almost the same time.

I also get bored of constantly reading the same thing until it’s finished. I do love reading, but I like to have variety. Actually, I get bored (or rather, burnt out) from constantly doing anything, which is probably why I do so many different things. I don’t even get bored with boring task as long as I’m not constantly doing that one task. Don’t have me put my books back on my shelf for hours. Let me do that for an hour, then put away my clothes for an hour or however long it takes if it’s less than an hour, let me do three pieces of artwork, and then let me go back to the bookshelf again.

In short:

1.) I have a lot of books that I want to actually read;

2.) I get bored staying with one thing straight through and like the variety of reading multiple books at the same time.

How I Read Multiple Books at the Same Time

1.) I choose the books I want to read. Not all the books I want to read, but the selected few that feel like they’re begging me to read them or that I have a higher interest in. From this current set I have/had: Witchcraft on a Shoestring, Everything You Wanted to Know About Magick, Desire, Assassin’s Creed: The Secret CrusadeReality is Broken, 2013 Witches’ Companion, Grimm’s Complete Fairytales, Astral Travel for Beginners, Herb Magic for Beginners, Red Dwarf Omnibus, and some book my mom had me borrow from her. There’s a few manga too, but I don’t list those since I read those in about an hour.

2.) I make sure the books aren’t too similar to each other. It gets redundant and boring really fast if I do that. For instance, if I want to read two books on witchcraft and they’re both about the basics of the practice, then I’m going to opt for the one I’m more interested in. If I’m equally interest in both, I will flip a coin. If I’m interested in more than two, then I’ll roll a dice.

However, if both are witchcraft books, but one is on the practice in general and one is about a specific aspect (such as herb magic), then I’ll happily read them both, since they’re different enough not to be too boring.

3.) Depending on the chapter length, I may read one chapter or several chapters (probably four of five) before switching to the next book. If the chapters are long (probably 8 or more pages), then I’ll just read one. If they’re short (3 or 4 pages, maybe 5 or 6), then I’ll read a few of them before I decide to move onto the next book.

4.) I read.

How Not to Get Confused When Reading Multiple Books

1.) As I said earlier, choose books that aren’t super similar to each other. If you want to read two books about pirates and they are both about general pirate information, go for the one you’re slightly more interested in or flip a coin. However, if one book is about pirates in general and one is a biography on Blackbeard or a fictional pirate story, then you can read them.

If you want to read a book on pirate history, a book on HTML, three fictional novels (one horror, one fantasy, one sci-fi), and one on planets, then go for it. The subject matters and genres are all very different from each other.

In short: choose books that are different from each other.

2.) Remember certain points in the books that make it different from the other books you are reading (or have read) – take a mental note of the subject matter, the actual content, and maybe the writing style. This is a lot easier than it sounds.

If you’re reading a general history of pirates and reading a biography on Blackbeard, look for things that disconnect them. For instance, the general history of pirates is going to include pirates other than Blackbeard. It will probably include what pirates in general did. Blackbeard’s biography is only going to talk about Blackbeard and what he did. Perhaps the writing styles are also different – the general history of pirates might write like someone is trying to shove information in your face, while the Blackbeard biography sounds like a scholarly paper.

Same thing for fiction books – if you’re reading a horror novel that involves an insane ax murder and you’re reading a sci-fi novel that involves some epic battle between humans and aliens, keep those points in mind that set them apart. If they both have characters with the same name, remember the traits that make the characters different.

In short: remember what makes the books different from each other, not the same.

Confusion Be Gone!

If you are thinking about starting to try this and usually get books confused, I suggest starting off with two or three books. Determine how many chapter(s) you’ll be reading in a sitting before switching to the next book.

I hope the tips I gave are helpful and you put them to good use.

For those of you who read multiple books, what are tips you have to offer to the people who don’t but would like to?