Yes, you can (and might want to) switch back and forth between books, and you shouldn’t worry about losing your place or losing comprehension. I have a very specific reason for doing so myself, which I’ll get into right here.
That being said, reading one book all the way through is an excellent way to build your level of concentration and focus over time! When you refuse to give in to “Shiny Book Syndrome,” you’re going to strengthen your ability to pay attention generally, and those benefits will spill over into all areas of your life. So, naturally, there’s room for both approaches in any intelligently-designed reading program.
Alright, so why do I switch up between books?
For the simple reason that when I have at least 3 different books started in 3 different formats, I can always get some reading done no matter where I am. If you only read physical books, then the entire time you’re driving, or going for a walk or whatever, you can’t (or shouldn’t haha) try and read a physical book at the same time!
But with audiobooks and e-books, you can read wherever you are. As it says on one of my favorite t-shirts:
“If I can’t bring my book, I’m not going.”
I also have at least 1 e-book on the go at any one time for those occasions where I’m waiting in some god-forsaken line that Won’t. Freaking. END! And where I just can’t wait to get back to my book.
With a physical book, you’re trying to juggle groceries or whatever else you’re standing in line with — trying to take out your bookmark, switch hands to get a good hold on the book, etc. But with an e-book, you just slip it out of your pocket and read for a few minutes while you wait!
And for those who don’t see the power of this, think of how long it takes to read a single book (say, 8 hours, which isn’t unreasonable), and how many minutes we “waste” every single day. Time which we could have spent reading! It’s insane! I mean, do you think you waste at least 5 minutes a day? Of course you do. Shamefully, so do I. Probably everyone does.
Well, if we were to take back just 5 minutes every single day — time that we would have spent, bookless, waiting in line — then we could add more than 30 HOURS to our lives! 30 divided by 8 = almost 4 EXTRA BOOKS read per year. Amazing! All from switching from one book to another before you complete the first one!
Not only that, sometimes we just don’t feel like reading 100+ pages of a single book at once, but we wouldn’t mind reading 75 pages of one book and 25 pages of another one, or some combination thereof.
So if we allow ourselves some freedom to dip into and out of different books, we’ll get more reading done, we won’t get bored, and we’ll still be able to keep our place in various books. I read a couple fiction books simultaneously, and it’s not hard at all to keep the stories straight. As for nonfiction, think back to when you were in school: you switched from English, to Chemistry, to Math, etc., all in a single day!
Alright, I’ll leave the discussion there, but yes, you can absolutely switch between books without finishing one completely! I do it, I suffer zero negative consequences, and I reap many rewards.
If you want to take this further, here’s a guide to my Top 20 Unconventional Reading Strategies, here’s how you can get more out of the books you read by taking intelligent notes, and here’s how to get back in the habit of reading books if you’ve let your habit slide recently.
Hope this helps!
All the best,
WANT TO READ MORE BOOKS THIS YEAR?
If you want to learn how to read 13x more books this year, then check out my free book, The Top 20 Unconventional Reading Strategies. I used these same strategies personally to read 179 books last year.