Reading Multiple Novels: Tips and Discussion

Countless times I start reading a book, only to begin a different one while still reading the other. There are so many reasons including reading review copies, I want a change in plot, a book being long, reading classics etc. etc. etc.

So a lot of people ask: HOW? How can I keep track of the different plot lines and characters?

Honestly, I never really had a problem with this. From a young age I would read what I had to for classes and then a book for myself. I actually prefer to read multiple books because then I can pick what I feel like reading, but sometimes one book takes precedence over another.


For example currently I am reading The Girl From Everywhere, Stalking Jack the Ripper and Into the Beautiful North. It’s actually slightly difficult to keep all of them 100% apart. Into the Beautiful North is unlike the other two so that one is no problem, but The Girl From Everywhere and Stalking Jack the Ripper are actually very similar because they both have the snarky guy that I’m assuming the headstrong main girl is going to end up falling in love with (I’m only 70 pages into and and halfway through the other). When something like this happens I end up putting one to the side, in this case The Girl From Everywhere due to it’s later return date and favor the other. Generally I finish the book I favor in a couple days and can then focus on two instead of three.

My problem is actually as soon as I start reading more than one book I want to read 20 at the same time. I’ve never done that before but I’m assuming it would be difficult to remember them all.


  1. Pick books that are different genres. For example: non-fiction and fiction, or fantasy and romance.
  2. Don’t read back to back. By this I mean don’t read one chapter of one book and then another from a different book. This helps your brain separate the two from each other.
  3. Have various formats (ex. have one on your phone for when you’re waiting or just have a couple minutes and one physical book for your nightstand.
  4. Some people I’ve talked to have said writing chapter summaries or characters help them, especially when it comes to classics.

4 thoughts on “Reading Multiple Novels: Tips and Discussion

  1. Aj @ Read All The Things! says:

    Great tips. When I was in college, I always had to read several books at once. It was stressful. One book at a time is easier for me because it doesn’t make me feel like I’m still an overworked undergrad. I am tempted to try reading a short story collection and a novel at the same time, though.


  2. jkimexploring says:

    A lot of my friends are the same way. For me it’s if I have a TBR list for the month. I’ll get through half and then feel like it’s such an obligation.
    For some reason I don’t like short stories much. I really wish I did though so if you find any that are amazing you should let me know!


  3. Lauren S says:

    These are great tips! I’ve only recently started to read a few books at once. I never thought I’d be able to. But reading via various formats definitely helps and it what got me started really. Currently I’m reading an ebook, an audiobook and I’m also using the Serial Reader app on my phone.

    Lauren @ My Expanding Bookshelf


  4. jkimexploring says:

    I’ve actually never heard of the Serial Reader app. I’m glad this helped! Ebooks are amazing for when you just have 10-15 mins cause I’m gonna be on my phone anyway!


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