Saturday, August 28, 2010

Very Large Reading: Is it for You?

Before I had children, my husband used to tease me that I picked out books by the spine width. It's true, I used to love super long fantasy trilogies and densely accurate historical fiction. After the kids came along, I stopped reading those large tomes. Who has the time? Now a 250 page standalone book is more my style, and I admire how the authors get to the point.

But I'm writing a book set in the future, and I really wanted to re-read a book series set in the future that was very influential on me, Tad Williams' phenomenal Otherland series. Four books, about 500 pages each, and they have to be read in order.

Can I do it? I passed by Stephen King's Under the Dome the other day because it looked too long. Could I really re-read 2,000 pages, no matter how much I remembered loving them?

I'm happy to say I'm almost done with Book 2, and I love the series even more the second time. I fly through the pages in minutes, trying to make myself slow down and savor the prose.

So even with kids and a full-time job, if you love a book enough, the length doesn't matter. A long book can read short.

Have you ever decided not to read something because it was too long? What is the longest reading project you ever took on?

-- Kate


  1. Kate, length doesn't usually stop me, but sometimes I'll quit reading a novel if it has too many characters to keep straight in my head, or is highly literary. Since I do my reading at bedtime, I'm often too tired to follow anything too complex.

    I've been reading so much children's fiction lately, I took a break to get back to adult fiction, but a few of the novels for adults that I've read have made me exasperated by the cliched and contrived writing (obviously I'm not selecting the right books). It's made me appreciate the skill and good writing I see in MG and YA novels.

  2. I agree, many long "adult" books seem to me like they've been padded now. I get exhausted at the repetitiveness. And so many of the MG and YA books I enjoy are really series, so it's a lot like reading a long book, if that makes sense. There's repetition there, too, but since the story is broken into different books, it's not as bothersome. One of the reasons I gave up long books for a while was I felt like I kept saying to myself, "Ugh, you already told me that, move on already!"


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