How many books is it possible to read at once without getting in an absolute muddle?

As much as I love to read I worry that I might die before I’ve read all the books I want to read so I’ve tried to practise absolute diligence by reading only one book at a time – mostly.

Reading one book at a time means you get through the book faster and you don’t get all the characters muddled from one book to the next.

When I was a child the most number of books I remembered reading at once was 10! I used to read a chapter of a book, place it at the bottom of the pile, pick up the next book, read a chapter etc etc. It would take ages to get through any book! I have no idea why I did this. Personally I blame it on being a Gemini – a key trait being variety is the spice of life!

After spending years only reading one book at a time, I slipped a bit last year and had three books on the go – Zoo by James Patterson (because I was watching the TV series at the same time), Dark Angel by Virginia Andrews (I still have no idea why I felt it deserved to be read a second time) and On Writing by Stephen King. These books were so different there was no way I was going to get any of them muddled.

Sometimes when I’m reading a very long book like Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom I need to break it up and have a change of pace so I’ll stop and read a fiction book.

Or, as I slowly work my way through Diana Gabaldon’s giant Voyager series I will pick up a quick read when the book ends at a section.

Reading one book at a time ensures I don’t begin to lose my way in my reading world when I’m already lost in far away places, time zones and character journeys.

How many books do you read at once?