Book Chat :: Do you practice book polygamy?

Hey everyone!

From time to time, I’d like to pick your brains on different topics I think interest and affect all book lovers. The last book chat – Do you lend your books? was pretty enlightening and I appreciated the various perspectives and book lending strategies you all gave!

Today, I’m really curious to know from you all: Do you practice book polygamy?

EpicReadsPolyg

Image via EpicReads

Let’s chat, shall we?

For those who don’t know, book polygamy is the art of reading many books at a time. ‘Many’ is relative, but I believe reading more than 1 book at a time could be considered as practicing book polygamy. During the beginning of the year (January), I found myself reading 3 books at a time in order to generate some content for this book blog before I resumed school for the second semester. The 3 books I was reading were of different genres: the first book was a short stories collection (Fairytales for Lost Children by Diriye Osman), the second book was a memoir (Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes) and the third book was an anthology (African Love Stories: an anthology ed. by Ama Ata Aidoo). I was only able to juggle these 3 books because they were of completely different genres, so it was almost impossible for me to mix up the plots.

Other than that, reading more than 1 book at a time is a bit bothersome for me – unless they are completely different types of books. For example, I’m currently reading Rupi Kaur’s poetry collection – Milk & Honey and Véronique Tadjo’s novella – As The Crow Flies. I’m able to read these books with ease because they are two different types of books + I’m reading Kaur’s poetry collection as an ebook, which gives me a different reading experience as well. If the books I’m reading aren’t of different genres, I find that my brain gets hyperactive and I become preoccupied with trying to recollect all the different plots. And for me, reading is usually relaxing and enjoyable – not a frantic relay race.

How do some of you manage to read more than 1 book (of similar genres) at the same time? How do you know when to start a new book while you’re already in the process of reading one – or two books?

I recently visited book blogger veteran, Nina Chachu’s blog – Accra Books and Things, and on her July 1st blog post, she analyzed her reading habits over the last three years. In the post, she states:

So I thought I would look at my reading so far – or rather the books which I have finished reading, because I do have to admit that I usually have several books on the go at any one time. For instance at the moment, I have one which I read in the bathroom, another in bed (alternating with some library magazines/journals), one for the bus going to and from work, plus a novel to read while eating, and another via Kindle apps. And as I wrote the last sentence I realized that actually I had forgotten to mention two others which I dip into occasionally. So I think that adds up to about seven – at least as of the time of writing!

(read more from Nina Chachu’s blog post – here)

As I read that portion of her post, I was dumbfounded with admiration. I tip my hat off to all of you who can juggle 4 to 7 books at a time. That takes skills I have not yet learned!

How about you all: 

Do you practice book polygamy? If you do, how do you avoid mixing up the various plots you enjoy? If you do not practice book polygamy – why not?

I’d love to hear your opinions, experiences and some book polygamy strategies!

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41 thoughts on “Book Chat :: Do you practice book polygamy?

  1. For me it depends. If life is very busy, I can only manage 1 book at a time but usually I’ll have about 3 going at once; though, at the moment, I have about 5 going at once. I select books according to my mood and I’ve been especially moody lately. Lol.
    I don’t have difficulty keeping plots straight in my mind but sometimes I get bogged down if all the books are dull or are all taking a long time to complete. Book polygamy works best for me if the books are of varying lengths and pace.

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    1. Hey Anais! 5 going at once is impressive. So I take it that life isn’t very busy right now? Are these 5 books exciting? Did you start book after book because you were getting bored along the way? Will you end up finishing all 5?
      NOTED: book polygamy works best if books are of varying lengths and pace. Thank you! xx

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      1. Lol, yea. There’s a little lull but it will get busy again in a few weeks.
        All are exciting at the moment. I usually have 2 or 3 I read often and then the others I return to every once in a while depending on how hooked I am to the story. So right now Assassin Apprentice and Cress have my attention. I’m listening to HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone on audiobook so I listen to it on the go. Whenever those get boring, I sometimes turn to A Storm of Swords and before bed I read some of Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future.
        Sometimes I start multiple books because the one I’m reading is boring but with these, one was for a buddy read and the others are library books so I have to read them before returning them.
        And yea, I think I’ll finish them all. A Storm of Swords will take longer because I’m taking my time on it.

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      2. Sounds like you have this all under control- I’m impressed! I’m yet to give audiobooks a try. Audiobooks could be a great way to successfully practise book polygamy too. I’m jotting this down 🙂

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  2. I often have two books on the go – one on the e reader and another in paper but they have to be very different in topic and style for this to work. The thought of 7 being read simultaneously freaks me out – how would I ever remember who was who and what each book was about

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    1. Hey BookTalker! Right? I dont know how people juggle sooo many! It’s admirable! Yeah, I like e-books for the different reading experience they give – even though physical books will always be my first love lol. But pairing an ebook + a physical one could help in successfully achieving book polygamy. You indirectly gave me a strategy. Thank you 🙂

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  3. Seven books?! That’s lunacy, I could never keep up with all that haha. The most I’ll read at a time is two books, and usually it’ll be one fiction and one non-fiction. If I read two similar books one often gets forgotten until I’m done with the one I prefer. Most times I’ll just stick with one book so I can finish it without distractions. If I feel like reading something else while I’m in the middle of a book it’s usually a sign that I’m getting bored.

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    1. Hey Minelli! Yesssss. Reading different genres is so helpful when reading more than one book. I agree, reading 1 non-fiction + 1 fiction book at a time is def manageable. You’re less likely to mix stuff up. So if you read something else while in the middle of a book, do you end up finishing the one you’ve already started? Or is it a little break from the book while you enjoy another? Thanks for the non-fiction/fiction strategy 🙂

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  4. I use to be very strict with just reading one books at a time, but this year, I have anywhere from 3-6 with bookmarks in them. I read much more nonfiction than fiction and some of the information tends to overlap when reading similar subjects (like a book on hair history and a book on skin color history). I think I like reading one book at a time better, just because I’m more likely to finish reading it. Sometimes, the anticipation to move on to the next read is a good motivation to finish. When reading multiple books, titles that are less interesting are just left on the shelf.

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    1. Hey Antoinette 🙂 Are you able to get back into the groove of reading those 3-6 books with the bookmarks? How do you even know when to get back to all of them? Is it a mood thing? Exactly! Once you focus on one book, there is def a high chance you would finish it. Even when reading non-fiction, I like to focus on 1 book, just so I don’t mix up facts and experiences I’m reading about lol. Kudos for juggling 3-6 books though!

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      1. Oh okay. I mean, as long as you don’t mix them up, that’s awesome. I love how we all have such different reading habits and preferences. Thanks for passing by Akilah 🙂

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  5. I absolutely do! I mostly read 3 at a time but I have been known to read 4 at a time. It is interesting to hear that you read in different genres to prevent confusion. I do a little different. I have books based on locations and times I read them. I have a book for my bed before I go to sleep, a book on the couch to read in the mornings, and a book by my ‘library’ chair to read in the afternoon. I have found that location helps me separate the different plots and characters.

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    1. Hi :). I love that different locations help you separate different plots! It makes perfect sense too. I never think about how location can help give me a different reading experience. Thank you for this perspective, Brendon 🙂

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  6. I was ALWAYS a monogamist! Until…I started blogging and visiting other blogs. I get so caught up in “overcommiting” myself to reading events, read-alongs, etc. that I often end up with 2-3 books I am trying to read simultaneously. [If only I could locate that ideal employer who would pay me to read and blog! ;)] I am in agreement with reading books that are different from one another, and definitely mixing fiction and nonfiction simultaneously. I have had to work so much overtime this past month that I have been out of the reading/reviewing loop, so am definitely running ‘behind’ on my ‘reading schedule.’ [When I say I am overcommited, I mean it! :)] That is what has tempted me into ‘book polygamy’! It can be wicked! I cannot read ebooks. I did read one regular-sized novel in ebook format and it just doesn’t work for me. I will break down and read novellas/short stories released by favorite authors in electronic format, but only because they are not released in tree book format.

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    1. Hi Lynn! Whoa, sounds like you’re overworking yourself :(. Reading more than one book can be intense, but don’t forget to have fun! Doing overtime just to keep up with events and whatnot can easily take the fun out of reading, then reading slumps kick in and you can feel purposeless hahaa. I feel ya though, blogging can push you to read a lot, just to keep up and generate more content. But at the end of the day, I think it’s important to do what you can :). Thanks for passing by!

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      1. Actually, though it may sound stressful to others, it is pure enjoyment to me. I have learned to just let go when I’m unable to keep up with an event and move on. Committing to such events has really encouraged and motivated me to read beyond my comfort zone and I like doing that! 😃

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  7. As the unashamed “book polygamist” I do admit that sometimes I lose track, and at other times there are books that I end up putting on “hold” at least for a little while, though I suspect this tends to happen more with non-fiction than fiction.

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  8. I am DEFINITELY a book polygamist !! Lol and I’m not ashamed! I love the ability to dip into multiple time periods, lifestyles, etc. when I’m in a specific mood, I’ll go to whichever book I’m reading at the time and it helps! I try to tell myself I’m going to switch to monogamy, but I find a new book I want to read and I find myself back in the swing of reading multiple books at a time. I think it’s a way of life for me! LOL

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  9. I only ever read one work of fiction at a time, but I might have a couple of non-fiction books on the go, sometimes I’m more in the mood before I sleep to read something spiritual, I’m reading two books in that vein at the moment, one called Uncharted by Colette Baron Reid and another Making Life Easy by Christiane Northrup. In the past I would often have more than that as I might also be reading a book on aromatherapy and chinese medicine, so different genres but books that I’d pick up depending on my mood. If a fiction book is great there’s no need to read something else, but sometimes its not calling to me and so I go elsewhere for a bit, before getting back to it.

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    1. Hey Claire! Gotcha. So you’re more of a mood reader and depending on the book (and your mood), you may switch and read other things. I like that you read various genres like books on Chinese medicine and aromatherapy. Very cool! And thanks for the titles of the spiritual books – will be checking them out! 🙂

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  10. Yep – I’m late, sorry. Fun post. Yes, I do practice book polygamy but, like you, I find it easier to do when reading different genres. For instance: just now I have one book of poetry, one book of short stories, and one novel going. If I am reading a novel and have another novel in the queue then I try to read at least half of one novel before beginning another. Reading book blogs and writing posts about books, myself, has really contributed to my being a book polygamist. I’m considering being really radical in 2017 and only reading one book at a time – like I did in olden times, lol!

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    1. Leslie: agreed! Reading book blogs and immersing in the literature atmosphere online can make you want to read more than one book at a time, with all the different recommendations available. It can be hard to stick to one hahaa. I’d like to see how you successfully read one book at a time. Thanks for passing by 🙂

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