I usually don’t read several books at the same time. I have one book that I read from start to finish and then when I’m done I switch to the next one. I do switch really fast, and I always have a potential next book on the nightstand waiting. Still, I read those books one after another.
I don’t know how people do it. When I read a book I don’t want another book around to confuse me. I don’t feel the urgent need to read something different. Somehow it even seems like betraying one book with another one. So usually, the book I’m reading at whatever moment is the only book for me at that moment right there right then.

Now for the second time this year I kind of broke that rule. First I had Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home which I read alternately with whatever other book I had at the time. And now I read both Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Frank Schätzing’s Nachrichten aus einem unbekannten Universum. I also have a reason for this breaking of the rule. I find that I have less problems with reading several books at the same time when they’re from a totally (or at least remarkably) different genre.

Fun Home was not only biographical, but it was also a comic. For me reading a comic book is a totally different thing than reading a fiction novel. Right now I’m reading a non-fiction book and a fiction book at the same time. Again this is enough for me to ignore the one book at a time rule, because both books feel totally different.

I don’t know if I will ever understand why people read several fiction novels at the same time. I’d get confused. And I don’t think I would especially like it. Still, there’s this one scene from Gilmore Girls where Rory explains to Lorelai why she carries five (or more?) books around with me. It’s easy and completely understandable: One is a novel, one is a biography, one is poems, one is short stories and one is essays.

I’d break down under the weight, but at least I can relate to that.