I usually read one book at a time, very quickly I might add. I go through a book every three or four days. If the book I am reading is not keeping my attention I may pick up another one. If I do this, more often than not, I will leave off the 1st book and read the 2nd one 'til I'm done.
I've done it before but I don't like to do it for the following reason: one of the books gets my attention more than the other and I stick to it: I end up reading one book and generally forget completely about the other one during a couple of months (during this time I read other books). When I remember to pick it up again, I don't know what it is about anymore and have to start from the beginning...
I'm currently reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide (should have finished that one ages ago ) together with The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Sacred Stones and The Silmarillion. It doesn't bother me none. I tend to pick up the book that's closest to me...
Occasionally I'll have more than one book going. If I'm reading something and get to a book store and I find that long sought-after book I might just read it before I finish the other. I used to have a book at work to read during lunch and then read others at home. Something peppy at work usually because we can't all get paid to host fishing shows . Sometimes I'll read one in the morning and something else in the evening, or pick up an old favorite if the world's been kicking me around more than usual. 75% of the time, though, its one at a time.
I have four books going at the moment, The Catcher in the Rye, The International Gooseberry - Ben Hatch, The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver, and On Mexican Time - Tony Cohan.
I tend to pick up the closest or the one most suited to my mood.
You'd think it would be confusing but in an odd way I think it actually makes me appreciate each individual book more, what I feel is lacking in some I miraculously find in others.
Sometimes I'm guilty of finding another book I just really really want to read... and I end up forgetting about the other one, so that's why I don't normally like to read two at once. Sometimes, I just can't help myself though. =)
Once I read 5 books at the same time! One for my Dutch Teacher (Wit Is Altijd Schoon = -translated freely- White is Always Beautiful); One for my French Teacher (Montserrat), and 3 for fun (Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire -in English-; The Hobbit -in Dutch; and The Light Bearer - also in Dutch).
That worked prety good, cause I pasted the tests of the first two books and I never forget what the books were about or what had happened! But I like it more when I can give my full attention to only one book!!
Since there are so many books and so little time I always read 2-3 books at a time. One of them is usually nonfiction. I take a book with me wherever I go. There are a lot of opportunities to read...at the theater before the play, waiting rooms, lunch breaks, traffic jams...you name it. I'm now reading: Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, Letters from Russia by Astolphe De Custine, and Viking Poems on War and Pace by R.G.Poole (2 nonfiction/1fiction).
It rather depends on the books in question. At the moment I am reading Dreamcatcher by Stephen King and The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre. These two I can keep apart pretty easily. But once I was reading A Prayer for Owen Meany and I really needed to focus on that one and could not read other books at the same time. Usually I give them their own location (e.g. one on the train to/from work and one at home).
I have also tried more than two but that was no success.
Most of the times I usually read 2 books, one is in my bag to take it to work that I read at lunchtime. I read other book at bedtime. I can't do more than 2 books because I will neglect the books which I've read and not finish yet. I like to read the books finish first and then start new books.
I have read more than one book at a time, but I stopped doing that... I really don't like it. I like to get lost in a story, and I just don't feel I'm doing that when I read more than one book at a time.
I'm up to three at the moment.....I'm halfway through Tad William's Otherland.....halfway through re-reading The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.....and just started Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan