Now, for today's post.
If you're my friend on Goodreads and you're stalking my shelves, because why wouldn't you, then you may have noticed that I am stalled on not one but two books. For whatever reason, I decided to read two very thick books at the same time. One is a biography on Lincoln and the other is Vanity Fair by Thackeray.
|The Long Ones|
The biography is a bit more dry than I like. There are only a few sentences on the epic battles between Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln while whole pages are dedicated to routines well established in previous chapters. For example, I now know much more about Lincoln's circuit court routine than I need to know or care to remember. It's still an interesting book, but it's not exactly pulling me along.
Vanity Fair is a good bit more interesting in terms of plot, but feels like it could have been condensed. I have done zero research on this book but I have a hunch this was originally published as a serial and Mr. Thackeray was paid by the word. I don't want to know that for sure until I'm done reading the book though. I prefer to think every word is a choice and means something to the story, otherwise I get annoyed while reading.
I am taking breaks to read shorter works because neither book has me glued to my chair. Right now, I am FINALLY starting the Backworlds series by M. Pax (best writing name ever). It's fun and quick and full of imagination. Backworlds has proved to be an absolutely great, and much needed, break.
I am no stranger to thick books. I've read my fair share of 1000 page books as well as long and dense stories. However, I find myself judging long reads more harshly than I have before. When I see a book that is 600+ pages, my first thought is, "did they really need to make it so long?". For some novels, the answer is absolutely! For others, in my opinion only, not so much.
I think from now on, I will not buy a super long novel until I've read the first chapter either in the store or on line. If you have me there, you will probably keep me for the length of the novel. Unless you pull me in quick and convince me I want to stay in your world for a month or so (slow reader), then I'm going to keep to my less than 400 page books for a while. Yes, I feel slightly like a loser saying that, but since it takes me so long to read a book, I'm going to have to make that a new rule.
Is anyone else struggling with long reads or have an opinion on long novels in general? (for the record, I feel the same way about long movies).