How I went from reading one book at a time to approximately 5 million

We’ve all see the debate. “Do you like to read one book at a time, or a whole bunch?” It’s a divisive question. We usually know exactly what our answer is and find people who do otherwise to be completely alien. How do their brains even WORK???


I used to be solidly a one book at a time reader. Honestly before I was a book blogger I didn’t really spend all that much time reading, and I tended to read books that were quite long, or at least in a series. Between those two things I didn’t really have a need or reason to read more than one book at a time.

But somehow in the last two or three years I have turned into a person who literally can’t keep track of them all. And it’s not because I’m reading 7,000 books for pleasure (though I know people DO that…). I’ve just got a lot going on.

So, here’s how I got from there to here.

Book 1: My main read

I feel like this is pretty self explanatory, no?

Book 2: Read-along

About two years ago my podcast started doing a chapter-by-chapter deep-dive. I found that I REALLY enjoyed reading the book along with them, that doing so made their discussions more meaningful and vibrant. (Also I notice when they’re wrong or clueless, which is often, lol.) But it’s slow going, especially since they’ll skip a week to cover something else from time to time. I read usually a chapter a week of that book.

Book 3: Middle-grade book

This started just under a year ago. I was taking a literature for children and young adults class (which was AMAZING, btw), and in addition to assigned reading of a text-book we had to read three middle-grade or YA books every unit. This was enough reading to be work, but not enough that I had to drop everything else, especially since the text reading for that class was minimal. I just did this during my homework time and I rarely had to stay up late or roll it over into my weekend reading.

When I became a librarian this naturally moved into a permanent position, though since I work at an elementary school it’s all middle-grade. During the school year I was having a hard time finding a rhythm, but I think in the last few weeks I’ve fallen into a pretty steady rhythm. I can read 50 pages in a half hour or so, which I think is pretty reasonable to keep up once school picks back up.

Book 4: Reading to my kid

My children both LOVE books. I don’t know why or what I’m doing right, but my youngest in particular would literally sit in my lap and demand to be read to all day. I hope this lasts past second grade!

Anyway, my oldest is five now, so when we were stuck at home due to the pandemic I decided it was time to start reading him chapter books. We read for about fifteen minutes together every day, so these books take time to read. It’s been a really special experience. If you have suggestions for great read-alouds, preferably with illustrations, send em my way.

Book 5: Anti-racist read

Another that I think doesn’t need much explaining? I’m not replacing my “main” read with anti-racist non-fiction because I want to make sure I’m giving these books appropriate time to digest. That means I’m usually reading a chapter a day. This will be the hardest habit to keep up with once the school year starts and I have a lot less free time.

I want to clarify that this DOESN’T mean I might not have some anti-racist fiction or memoirs in my “main” slot, or that this is the only work by POC authors I’m exposing myself to. I just want to make sure these non-fiction books get prioritized and not shoved out of the way in favor of the fiction new release I’m super excited about. I hope that makes sense.

Book 6: (Sometimes) comics

When I read comics (which is, admittedly, not all the time and less often than it was this time last year) I only read an issue a day. I never binge a paperback in one go, I like to savor the story. So this read is usually in addition to everything else.

Book 7: PLEASE NO!!!!

If I find myself wanting to add MORE to this, please for the love of all that is good stop me. I’m barely making this work now on summer vacation, there’s no telling how this mess is going to fall and break in the fall.

So do you like to read one book at a time, or a whole slew of them? Let me know in the comments!

43 thoughts on “How I went from reading one book at a time to approximately 5 million

  1. I’ve been reading 5 at a time…it’s funny, because my goal this year was to read two at a time, a fiction and a non. When quarantine hit I upped it to five to give me different types to read. It’s working for me

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  2. I’ve been going down the same path!! It is really hard to read one book at a time with all the amazing stuff out there! I also love that you’re reading anti-racist books and giving yourself time to digest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I didn’t want to drop everything and read Stamped from the Beginning, because I knew that I would be so anxious to get to the next thing that I’d just blow through it and not retain it all. So I’m glad I’m taking my time. I think that will help make it a permanent change too, instead of just a trend or phase. (I hope!)


  3. I usually do no more than 3, maybe 4 at a time. Right now, I have my main read, a nonfiction, a nonfiction audiobook, and an ebook. All different genres too. I don’t always do this, but nonfiction audiobooks has become my thing for while I work. The ebook I started while I was waiting for my train and just continued to read it.

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      1. Yes! But for some reason I haven’t been able to find a Podcast that I really love … I think I get overwhelmed because I want to start in the beginning, but then they have like 2 years worth already … one day!

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        1. Haha, that is so true!! Every time I start a podcast I’m like, “Maybe I should go back and listen to them all…” But then I get over it and just don’t. That being said, I don’t listen to anything that should be listened to in order or anything.

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  4. I usually read two books, a regular book and an audiobook. But sometimes I have a physical book for in the evening, and an ebook for during the day/work. BUT that’s the most, because if I start adding more books to the mix that usually means I put them down, because of some reason or the other, and I’m not someone that puts a book down to pick up another – that’s usually a red flag – a DNF kind of flag.

    ~ Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm

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    1. Yeah, mostly this works for me because everything EXCEPT my main read is super regimented, i.e. one chapter a day or 50 pages a day or something like that. So I read my one chapter and then I take a break to digest then I move on to my next thing.

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      1. That’s a great idea especially if the book is a heavier topic, I can see doing it with something more heavier. A chapter a day 😁

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  5. I tried reading 2 books simultaneously. Just last month I did that but then I kept putting down read along book and focused on main read. It took me a month to finish that read along book and I don’t like doing that. Sometimes it works with big books. I read Priory of Orange Tree along with other main reads and I could finish it plus another 3 book in two week. As long as book is interesting and keeps me hooked to pages, I wouldn’t take another book until I finish reading writing review. So I’m almost 1 book at a time person.

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    1. I think some of the reason this works for me is because almost every book on this list that *isn’t* my primary read is one chapter a day. Like, reading aloud to my kid doesn’t distract me from reading anything else (even if I’m enjoying it more) because he doesn’t have the attention span to sit there and read it all day. Does that make sense?

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  6. I tend to have a daytime read and if that daytime read is a hardback or not suitable for just-before-sleep-reading, I will have a second book for bedtime. I tend to also have an audio book on the go (most often non-fiction) . So, usually I have 2 or 3 books on the go at one time, rarely 4.

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  7. Earlier, I used to read 2 books at a time – one at home and one I took to school and read in the bus/school but now that I’m home all the time I either read one book or 4 hahaha

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  8. I also used to only read one book at a time, but currently I’m often reading up to 3-4 books max at a time. Usually one audiobook, one physical copy and one ebook and then sometimes a 4th on the side, like an anti-racist book like you are doing, or a comic or just something I couldn’t wait to start *oops*

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  9. Sometimes I do end up reading one book at a time, but when I do read more than one at a time the “slot” system explains what I do exactly! When I am reading multiple books at a time, it’s usually a fiction/non-fiction split, or it’s genre/literary, sci-fi/contemporary, something like that. I also don’t do audiobooks as much these days, but oftentimes when I do that will also be the second/third slot. Although I can say that when I do this they’re rarely the same medium – I guess that’s less confusing for me!

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  10. I always love seeing how other readers handle their reading and I really like seeing your process. I normally just read one book at a time, sometimes I will mix in an audiobook. But I do try every week to fit in a few chapters of something non romance. So a children’s book (especially books I want to see my future kids read that teach values) , or a book on history or philosophy or even some poetry.

    Thanks for sharing this post, such a fun topic to discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll admit that poetry will probably never end up in my rotation. I just don’t understand poetry *at all*. Considering I went to one of the top 100 high schools in the country (at the time) they sure didn’t teach me ANYTHING about poetry that isn’t a sonnet…


  11. I’m usually reading at least three books at a time. I try to stop myself, but all the books look so good and suddenly I have five holds coming in from the library at one time and I’m excited, but also stressed out. Good thing I’m using the library and not going to the store or I’d really have a problem!

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    1. Ugh, the library thing is always my problem too! Just this week I put two books on hold because they had a line and I’ve been waiting for a few books with lines for a RIDICULOUSLY long time, and then they came in two days later. Like, I’m not ready for you yet! lol

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  12. I read a few at a time: a main book, a nonfiction book, possibly a graphic novel, and a chapter book with my kindergartener. I’m curious to know more about the podcast read-along. Is this a group of your friends or is it something you just found and listen to? What kind of books do they read?

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