How To Read More Than One Book At A Time, According To People Who Do It

Melanie DeFazio/Stocksy

It's the bookworm dream: being able to cruise through multiple books at the same time. I mean, not literally at the same time. But to be like Rory Gilmore, with a bus book and a lunch book and a book of poems when you're in a poetry kind of mood and a memoir for when you're in an introspective space. Just think of how neat and tidy your TBR (to be read) pile would look. But for many of us, the impulse to read more than one book at once is often tempered by the logistics of the whole undertaking. Where do you read your different books? And what? And when? Here's how to become a multi-book reader, according to Reddit.

It's a simple enough question: how do you read more than one book at a time? "Do you have one with you, one by the bed, one in the living room, or how do you like, juggle which one you read?" asked Reddit Books user Eirixoto. "I just find it interesting, because personally I think I'd be lost if I was reading more than one at a time." Eirixoto posted the query earlier today, and within a handful of hours, multiple-book-readers have weighed in from across the world. Because perhaps unsurprisingly, you've gotta have a game plan.

The practice of reading multiple books at once is a bit, well, divisive. There are those who think it's a great way to diversify your every day literary fare, who believe it helps maintain interest in the books you're reading, and lets you storm through way more ~content~. On the other side of the debate are the single-book readers, who hold fast to the idea that if you're reading more than one tome at a time, you're unfocused and unable to take full advantage of the inherently immersive nature of a book. There isn't even an agreed upon term for multi-book readers. There are bibliophiles — lovers of books. There are bibliotaphs — hoarders of books, with the intent of keeping the books out of the hands of others. There's even a word for people who like to read in bed — librocubicularist. But no succinct way of summing up the act of reading more than one book at at time.

But that doesn't mean the internet hasn't tried to come up with a term on their own. I've seen "parallel readers" (recently suggested in a Quora forum). "Polynarritivus," from a Bookstr article last year. And "poly-reader," from a 2010 NPR piece. But they all get at essentially the same idea: literary multi-taskers. So how do they multi all the tasks? Check out their expert responses below.

Try Thinking Of Books Like A Food Pyramid...

Trying out a poly-reading regimen can be like trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet — there's a huge benefit at the end of the day, but getting that benefit can sometimes taste a little... meh. So reward yourself for reading drier or denser books during the week with "cheat" fiction days during the weekend.

Or A Mood Ring

Reading a variety of books based on your mood — tired and cranky does not a successful reader of heavy non-fiction make — can help you understand your relationship to literature on a greater level. You almost certainly know what to watch when you're sad after a tough day of class, versus when you're blissfully vegging out on a Sunday afternoon. Apply the same time of emotional intuition to your reading choices.

Or a Safeguard Against Homogenous Reading Habits

At the heart of reading is the medium's ability to open and diversify our minds. And while reading one type of fiction, for example, can be appealing — I've been known to overload on both food memoirs and paranormal YA romances — it can be limiting, ultimately.

Location, Location, Location

Strategizing not just what you're reading, but where you'll be reading it can also help you tear through more works - on more platforms! Why not take advantage of technological advances?

And Think About the Ways The Books Interact

If you're worried about getting confused with the books, start with two — one fiction, one non-fiction. Make sure they're not similar. Read them in different places.

And If You're Never Without A Book, You're Never Faced With A Book-Less Moment

Beginning slowly, with two very different books, and then moving into more genres and more platforms can help you build a habit. Netflix is a habit. Instagram is a habit. Poly-reading can be, too.