Which is Better? Reading Two Books at Once or One Book

Which is Better Reading Two Books at Once or One Book feature image

Have you ever thought of reading multiple books or at least reading two books at once? Mostly, the answer would be “NO” since many of us have the doubt, if Reading one book would be better over multiple books? or How can I read two books at once when I am unable to complete one? So, Here I have tried my best to clear out your doubts.

I being an entrepreneur and avid reader have been reading different genres of books for a long time. Though I had tried reading multiple books one time but didn’t continue for long due to my fast reading habit. I usually complete one book in 3-4 days and thus never felt the need to practice reading two books at once.

Reading two books at once is more beneficial over reading only one book as multiple books help you to read faster and gives you a backup if you find one of it as boring. It is also a good practice of building a good reading habit for the beginners and could help in reducing the TBR (To-Be-Read) books list.

Since, Reading multiple books are not preferred by everyone, neither possible for many readers. So here I will tell you whether to read one book or multiple books at once and why. Apart from this, I will be covering the ways to read many books at once.

Should We Read Two Books at Once?

Have you ever read two or multiple books at once?

The answer would be “YES” unless any one of you haven’t been to school. We all have developed the habit of reading multiple subjects at once and can certainly do that in later part of life.

I personally haven’t practiced reading multiple books at once at this part of my life but surely would recommend others to continue with it if they can.

Because we don’t always have to read every book as not every book is readable for everyone. And thus, if we don’t like one book after reading half of it, we do have the backup with us.

Choosing a book is also a hard task as most of the books nowadays are lacking originality. All the old principles are being manipulated by many writers nowadays without any unique ideas which also helps in quitting that book in the middle when you are reading multiple books

“If you read only the best, you will have no need of reading the other books, because the latter are nothing but a rehash of the best and the oldest. To read Shakespeare, Plato, Dante, Milton, Spenser, Chaucer, and their compeers in prose, is to read in condensed form what all others have diluted.”

Anna Brackett

Reading number of books simultaneously also depends on the purpose of your reading and genres of books you are reading.

Apart from that, if you are unable to keep up with the pace and gets yourself confused with the different stories in a book. It is because I do. I cannot concentrate on two books/stories simultaneously.

Though, Reading multiple books at once do have their own benefits as well as drawbacks, the decision must be made based on your capability and having a clear insight on this.

So let’s discuss why we should or shouldn’t read multiple books at once.

Why to Read Multiple Books at Once?


Reading multiple books provides an option to choose book according to the mood, interest, need, and to ace your reading habit at once. Reading multiple books at once is often termed as “Syntopic Reading” which is very clearly documented in ‘How to Read a Book; A Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading’ by Mortimer J. Adler in the 1940’s.

Reading multiple books is considered offense by some people while some don’t. There is no rule in choosing books based on other’s opinion rather choose whatever suits you.

As per Jonathan Fenile on Quora, he once read 8 books at once in 2 months which changed his mind completely. It was quite tough for him but he kept going by keeping a track of books in a spreadsheet. He encourages others to read multiple books due to the gain in productivity and the connections he was able to build between the books.

However, as per Muhammad Tayyab on Quora, If you are reading for the sake of completing your TBR, you can read as many books you wish to read. Though, if the purpose is to grab the knowledge, don’t read more than 3 books at once. Also you should go through these steps before choosing a book.

  • Go through the ratings of book on Amazon.
  • Go through the summaries of the book online.
  • Watch some online videos about the book.

“I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.”

Virginia Woolf (Vol. 3)

Why to Not Read Multiple Books at Once?

Reading multiple books at once must be avoided for beginners and in Self-growth books to shun the distractions, absorb as much information you can from one book to implement the principles in your life learnt in books.

Since, you have read multiple books in school and colleges doesn’t mean you do that in novels too. Every person doesn’t excel in schools neither in book reading.

A person can absorb a lot more information while reading one book at a time. There is constant focus on one book, its story, and its principles.

As per Finnick Camper from Quora, reading one book at time is much easier than 2-3 books for him. Doing so helps him grasp more information, message, story which the book is trying to deliver. Reading multiple books mixes the two stories, and he is unable to keep track of the stories which creates confusion.

Whereas, Rahul Sinha from Quoa asks that “Can you write and talk at the same time, or speak and laugh at same time.” As no one person can multi-task because at the name of multitasking we switch between our work rather than doing both tasks at same time. It’s same in reading as well. He adds that reading two books at once might create confusion at some point at you will not be able to enjoy your read. So he prefers reading a book and only after completing one to move onto another.

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.”

Kate DiCamillo

When You Should Read Multiple Books at Once?

  1. If you can focus on more than one book and get used to the information of the books without any distractions.
  2. If you wish to read based on your mood and interest.
  3. If the books are of different genres.
  4. If the books are of similar topics to create a link between both books.
  5. If you are eager to complete your To-be read to finish the deadline.
  6. If you want to ace your reading habit.

When You Shouldn’t Read Multiple Books at Once?

  1. If you are not comfortable in Reading books.
  2. If you have started reading after a long time or you are a beginner in novels.
  3. If you have not set your deadline to complete the ‘X‘ number of books.
  4. If you are in it to absorb and learn.
  5. If you are in reading to increase focus and concentration.


Reading two books at once is practiced by a lot of readers while it is successful for some and not for others. Some have gained a lot of benefits of reading while others have made their lives miserable stuck in between and thinking to start from scratch.

So, Looking on others, we can say that, it is not good for everyone neither bad. However, it should be done based on your needs and comfort from where you can actually get something.

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