Discussion: Book Monogamy

Posted August 13, 2015 by Carlisa in Discussion, Let's Talk / 20 Comments

Why I Only Read One Book at a Time

Books, I love them so. But since I’ve started book blogging, since I’ve started reading other book blogs and Goodreads pages…I’ve started to wonder how strong my book love is. I know what you’re thinking: Why ever would you think that, Carlisa? Indeed, why?

I see so many other book bloggers that are (always) reading multiple books at a time. Like one person I saw once had twelve books going at once. Twelve. Yet, here I am, with my one lonesome little book.


I thought: Am I not as good of a reader as those people? Does that make them read faster? Am I missing out on something wonderful? Being able to read multiple books at the same time seemed like such a useful talent. To keep stories straight and still feel connected! I wanted that.

So then I thought to myself: Well, what would Shia LaBeouf tell me to do in this situation?

just do it

And you know how inspirational Shia LaBeouf can be. So I listened to him and I did it. I was reading a book and I started reading another…at the same time. I know, I know. It was a big moment.

But it didn’t work for me that first time. So I waited awhile and then just this past week I decided to try again. And, again, it didn’t work for me. This is the basic timeline for these situations:

Starts Book #1
Reads Book #1
Decides to start Book #2
Starts Book #2 with the full intention of continuing on with Book #1
Gets engrossed with Book #2
Doesn’t read Book #1
Keeps going with Book #2 until the last page
Finishes Book #2
Remembers Book #1
Grimaces and hides in corner

This is what happens to me literally every time. I can’t get into two stories at once…so when I try, I just read the entirety of the second book and leave the first book hanging. And then I feel sad for the first book who I just left in the dust.

So I’ve decided to embrace this quirk of mine. I realized that staying faithful to one book is completely and perfectly fine. And I wanted to stand up and say, “Hi my name is Carlisa and I believe in Book Monogamy (for myself, at least).”

Perks of Reading One Book at a Time

  • You can fully engross yourself in one story.
  • You’ll finish the book faster.
  • You won’t confuse characters and plot lines.
  • Your nightstand won’t fall apart at the sheer weight of all your current reads.
  • You’ll be able to choose which current read to take with you when you go out (because obviously you’re going to take a book with you when you go out)…aka you only have one choice.
  • You won’t have to go searching for bookmarks (or if you’re like me, receipts or movie ticket stubs). You’ll only ever need one.
  • You’ll be more like me = more awesome.

Perks of Reading Multiple Books at a Time

  • You’ll be able to escape into multiple different worlds depending on your mood.
  • You can switch back and forth between genres, lessening the chance of a reading slump.
  • You’ll be deemed impressive and intelligible when you walk down the street carrying your current x number of reads.

Eeeeep, I can’t think of anymore perks of reading multiple at once because I’ve never really done it successfully ever.  But I want to know what you think!

Do you read multiple books at a time or just one? Why? What do you like about doing it your way? Pleeeeease let me know. 

  • I too believe in Book Monogamy. (Love the fact that you call it Book Monogamy by the way.) I find that every book deserves my full and undivided attention. Why take away a book’s precious time? Just makes everything confusing, at least for me. I really am impressed with those that have the skill to go back and forth, I just won’t ever be one of those talented folks.

    • I totally agree! I just love getting engrossed in one book and focusing on its plot and characters. And, yeah, I really admire those that can read so many books at once…but I just don’t think it’s for me.

  • I used to be very opposed to reading more than one book at a time, for similar reasons you mentioned. However, readthebloodybook mentioned to me that if you don’t mix up TV and all their plot lines, you should be able to handle juggling books – so I tried polygamy and I love it! That sense of satisfaction where you finish multiple books in succession is amazing haha! But of course, read however you want is the best way to go 😀

    • That’s a really good point that you don’t mix up the TV show plot lines. But, thinking about it, I’m totally the same way about watching TV. I have friends who will be watching binge-watching multiple shows at once. But once I pick a show to watch, I’ll be dedicated to that one. So maybe it’s just how my mind works.

  • VanessaIsen!

    I’m the same way. My mind can only handle one!

    • We’re basically twins, Vanessa.

  • Book monogamy was never for me. I basically have the attention span of a baby squirrel on crack, which means I do not have one. I am also a notorious mood reader. Combine those two things, and I sometimes I find myself reading four books at the same time. Most of the time, one book can never keep my attention for long enough for me to finish it (unless it is a REALLY good book). I end up either starting a new book, or not reading for an entire week until I can motivate myself to finish the book. I honestly have no idea how I ever get any blogging done.
    I will admit that book monogamy helps you pay attention to a story better and you get more invested in the characters and plot. I just need to keep myself entertained, and reading more than one book at a time seems to do the trick.

    • Let me ask you a question since you’re one of the only “book polygamists” that commented on this post. How do you do it? Once I start reading a second book, I lose the motivation to continue reading the first! It’s something I’m struggling with right now and I forget what was going on…I just don’t know.

      I totally admire you for it! But it’s hard for me.

      • I am honestly not sure. I like having the option of reading whatever book that I want, whenever I want to, no matter if I am reading another book or not. I guess my lack of attention span and the urge to read another book outweighs the possibility of mixing up the books. I have always had a good memory, so remembering the details about a story has never really fazed me. As for motivation, I never lack motivation to start a new book or continue with a good one. But, if one of the books that I am reading is not up to par, I will stop reading it (which almost never happens). I guess that my a mix of my short attention span, love to read anything I can get my hands on, and good memory make me one of the few “book polygamists.”

  • Josephine Knight

    This is so awesome. Not only because I posted a discussion post about book POLYGAMY at the same time as you posted this, but because I’m exactly like you and agree with everything you said here! And that situation? Is exactly what is happening to me right now with my little experiment in trying to read multiple books at once. At one end I admire those who can read more than one at a time, but in the other hand, I’m proud that I am a book monogonist at heart!

    • I thought it was SO awesome when I saw your post on book polygamy lol! And on the same day, too! Who would have thought?

      Anyways, I think I totally agree with you that I love being a book monogamist. I love just getting engrossed in one book and focusing only on that.

      Thanks for visiting my post and I’m glad that I saw yours!

  • I read multiple books at once, but they’re always in different genres and/or formats. I am usually reading two books at once – one physical book and one audiobook. Even then, they typically have to be two different genres. If I’m reading a contemporary physical book, the audio will be fantasy/paranormal/etc. Sometimes I read more than two though… If I have a blog tour or a buddy read coming up that I forgot about, I’ll pause one book and read the other one (kind of like the situation you talked about). I just have to do that in order to finish everything in time! Aaand sometimes I have a book going on my Kindle so I can read in the dark before bed while my boyfriend is asleep 😉

    • That sounds like a good way to go – diversifying each book. I have never listened to an audiobook before 😮 Maybe I should give it a try?

  • I don’t like reading more than one book at once. I like to dedicate my time to one book. I currently have more than one book that I am in the middle of reading and it bugs me a lot. I actually find that I read slower when I read multiple books. Great post!

    ~Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies

    • I totally agree! I’m currently reading two books two (one review and one for myself) and I don’t like it at all. It just doesn’t work for me.

  • I’m with you, Carlisa. Sometimes it will say I am reading more than one book on Goodreads, but really there is always one left hanging. I just did this recently, actually. I was reading Days of Blood and Starlight and Half Bad. Well, I ended up giving up on Days of Blood and Starlight, and now I have this awful feeling of not wanting to continue. I’m accepting the fact that I can only read one book at a time.

    • Bah this happened to me just last week. And then again. I think I already talked about this with you on Twitter but it’s still happening *cries*. I was reading a review book and then I was like “Um, I wanna read Throne of Glass.” And then I didn’t read the review book at all but I was going to start after I finished ToG. And then I was like, “Um, I need to read the sequel.” I’M SO BAD.

  • I’m also committed to book monogamy. It’s just easier, especially because of the whole reviewing thing I like to keep a clear kept mind on a single book at a time.

  • Oh, I definitely read more than one book at a time. Sometimes I hit a lull in a book, maybe the pacing slowed down a little bit and it’s not holding my attention very well, but I’ve still deemed it a book I want to complete. I’ll pick up another book (usually a shorter read or a graphic novel) as a distraction. Then I’ll return to book 1 afterward. I also read more than one book at a time because I have a different book for different locations/times of the day. My bedtime book tends to be a graphic novel, my work book tends to be an e-book I can read from my phone, and my weekend binge-read is some random book I picked up from the library. The major down fall of reading more than one book at a time is it takes me a really long time to finish a book!

  • The only time I ever read more than one book at a time is when I read a big fantasy book, like Lord of the Rings for example. Because they take so long to read, I usually pick up a light contemporary at some point but then I’m just like you, I end up finishing that one before ever picking up the first book again. So I guess that doesn’t really count either. Book monogamy all the way! Great post 🙂