Recently I’ve read or heard several conversations about reading styles – whether you read one book at a time, or several.  Our own Amanda is a professed advocate of book monogamy, but that just seems strange to me.  This last weekend, I put my son to bed on Friday night, and when I went to go settle down on the couch, I realized that I had left my book at work.  What is a book monogamist going to do in that situation?  Watch bad TV?  Surf the internet?  But luckily, I am a polylibrous (I totally just made that up – is that correct Latin for a lover of multiple books at the same time?) reader. I always have multiple books going at the same time. Not only to avoid the dreaded book left at the office scenario, but there are so many other potential horrors I don’t have to face this way.

  1. Book left at office.
  2. Book stolen – aka borrowed –  by sibling.
  3. Or parent.
  4. Or spouse.
  5. Book dropped in bathtub and now must wait for the pages to dry. (This is why I will never get an e-book reader.)
  6. You are downstairs and your book is upstairs.
  7. Or vice versa.
  8. You left your book in the bathroom and now your brother is in there and won’t hurry up so you can get your book back.
  9. Your brother is reading your book that he stole in the bathroom because that’s the only room with a lock so you can’t steal it back from him.
  10. Baby is sleeping on your chest and book is not in arm’s reach.
  11. You aren’t in the mood for that book.
  12. Or that one.
  13. Or that one, either.
  14. etc.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSee?  Doesn’t a polylibrous lifestyle make your life so much easier? While we all may not have the skills to keep 17 separate books going like my sister – who really was just in stages 7, 8, and 9 above for seventeen straight books – we all have the ability to read more than one book at the same time.  Try it, you’ll like it. :D

Or, explain to me why book monogamy is so much better.

Tell me, dear readers: Can you share your heart with multiple books at one time?  Or are you a traditionalist and engage in serial monogamy? And is there a better term than polylibrous to describe us multiple book readers? Reader of ill repute just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

Let us know in the comments and we’ll draw a winner from among all the commenters to choose a book from our ever-increasing stacks.


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

    View all posts