The very first proper post I wrote on this blog on 17th September 2008 was titled What’s your relationship to your reading? Within it I briefly explored whether I was a serial monogamist or two-timer in my reading habits. I was reminded of it recently because I have sort of been trying an experiment – more on that later.

Usually I find it difficult to read more than one book at a time, unless one is fiction and the other non-fiction. Experience had previously shown, that although I may start off alternating a couple of chapters at a time, when I try to read two or more fiction books alongside each other I always end up favouring one. Indeed the other book often then just sits there half read for ages, or maybe is never finished.

This is often the case with readalongs for me. Putting the book aside often means that the goldfish bit of my brain promptly forgets about it, and by the time I pick it up again, I’m a month behind and forgotten a lot of what happened in the previous section. The readalong is doomed then as far as I’m concerned.

At the moment though, I’m doing something different… I have two chunksters and one series of books on the go – all at the same time – and so far I’m managing to get them all read bit by bit.  I’m reading:

  • Oscar and Lucinda  by Peter Carey – 515 dense pages.  I’m now halfway through and loving it. I started reading it about a week and a half ago, around 25 pages at a time.
  • Riders by Jilly Cooper – 919 pages of horsey bonkbuster.  We’re actually reading this for bookgroup.  Not my normal fare, but it’s total racy fun, and the pages speed by.  I started reading it about 3 days ago and am up to page 205.
  • The Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend.  I got sent the entire set of eight, and they’re wonderfully funny and nostalgic.  I’m four volumes in.  (A major post on the series coming up in a couple of days.)

So how am I, previously a one book at a time girl, managing to juggle three successfully?  By reading each at different times of day…

  • I read O&L in the mornings in bed. I’m a lark anyway and have good concentration first thing.  I try to get at least half an hour’s reading in before getting up.
  • I read Riders when I go to bed.  Again I like to read for thirty minutes or more if I can before falling asleep (many times with the light on, glasses on and thumb wedged into the book).
  • I’m reading Adrian Mole at those other times during the day when I have short gaps – ideally suited to diaries. I’ve been reading them off and on since the New Year.

So far, so good.  I’m sure it’s only working at the moment because of the length of the books I’m reading.  The average length of the books I read tends to be around 300 pages, and that doesn’t present the same challenge in terms of the time needed, and I know I won’t feel the need to juggle them.

My “Little and Often at the Right Time Of Day (LORTOD)” approach is working well.

Do you read more than one book at a time, or different books at different times of day?   See how Fleur Fisher copes with many books at once …

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