Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
lunababymoonchild

Very Long Books - Are they worth it?

Recommended Posts

I came across this article on Apple News and thought that it was worth posting.  

 

15 Super Long Classics That Are Definitely Worth Your Time

 

I have never heard of Ida B Wells, Emma Goldman, Catherine Marshall, Eiji Yoshikawa (not even sure of how to pronounce that!), Sigrid Unset, and Ralph Ellison, so something for me to explore but I do possess some of the books and I have read one - The Count of Monte Cristo. 

 

The idea that a very long book would put someone off reading it is a fairly new one to me so I'm hoping to start a discussion on this.  I do understand that there are those who can no longer hold a long book (they are very thick) and nowadays rely on Kindle in order to read but would a long book on Kindle put you off? Is there someone else who just reads short books?

 

I'd love to know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think for people who set aside specific time to do reading, it shouldn't but i think it is for more casual readers.

 

both my mother and brother will occassionally ask me for books and i have learnt to give neither of them anything over 200 pages or 250 pages  because the length of time it takes them to get through them makes it difficult. my brother even comments "good, short books". my mother is still working on a 200 page one I gave her before christmas so that is 2 months already. a long book would be a very slow and long read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a slowish reader, so anything in the region of 1,000 pages would just about kill me stone dead.  ~500 pages is about my maximum before I start to break out in panic hives!  (A 500 pager would take me at least a month to read.)  Plus, yes, a 1,000 page novel would be murder on the wrists.  And full of a lot of waffle, too, no?  I like my authors to get to the point!

 

I'm most comfortable with books under 300 pages, but every now and then I do pick up one of those 500 page chunkers. 

Edited by Onion Budgie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, iff said:

i think for people who set aside specific time to do reading, it shouldn't but i think it is for more casual readers.

 

both my mother and brother will occassionally ask me for books and i have learnt to give neither of them anything over 200 pages or 250 pages  because the length of time it takes them to get through them makes it difficult. my brother even comments "good, short books". my mother is still working on a 200 page one I gave her before christmas so that is 2 months already. a long book would be a very slow and long read.

 

Thank you iff, very interesting indeed

 

50 minutes ago, Onion Budgie said:

I'm a slowish reader, so anything in the region of 1,000 pages would just about kill me stone dead.  ~500 pages is about my maximum before I start to break out in panic hives!  (A 500 pager would take me at least a month to read.)  Plus, yes, a 1,000 page novel would be murder on the wrists.  And full of a lot of waffle, too, no?  I like my authors to get to the point!

 

I'm most comfortable with books under 300 pages, but every now and then I do pick up one of those 500 page chunkers. 

 

Around halfway into the Count of Monte Cristo was a very lengthy description, and by that I mean chapters and chapters, of his trip to Italy.  I was losing the will to live let alone finish the book but someone on a different book board to this encouraged me to continue and I'm glad that I did, so yes I can see the padding potential in a long book.  And I gave up on War and Peace because I got bored and abandoned the Lord of the Rings as a result of boredom too but Shogun had my rapt attention from the start and that's more than a thousand pages.

 

Iff and Onion Budgie,  I'm an average speed reader so a long book does take a time commitment but I read every day anyway so three 100 page books or one 300 page book takes around the same time.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thought is that the length in pages can be deceptive. Small print and close margins can make long books appear deceptively slim. On the other hand, large font, plenty of blank pages and dialogue can spread a short novel out over many pages. I remember once Claire Kilroy saying that her new book (The Devil I Know) was her shortest yet, despite having a significantly higher page count than the others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But you're always up for long books, Luna! What about The City and The City? There are loads of long books around that people still devour. Game of Thrones for instance.

 

i've read a few of the books on that list and I'll have to be honest and say that to suit modern tastes quite a few of them could do with abridging - we don't need lengthy descriptions any longer because we travel, have photographs etc. I've read the Three Mustketeers both in the orginal full length and the Penguin abridged (still 450 pages) versions and the Penguin one is a better read. I adored War and Peace but it could do with getting rid of a lot of the stuff about Masonic ritual and battle descriptions and imo Anna Karenina would benefit from cutting out the descriptions of haymaking.

 

Surprised there's no Dickens on that list. I read Bleak House one winter every evening in front of the fire and it was absolutely the right place andtiming. However everyone I know who's tackled Moby Dick would not agree about it beibg worth reading:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MisterHobgoblin said:

One thought is that the length in pages can be deceptive. Small print and close margins can make long books appear deceptively slim. On the other hand, large font, plenty of blank pages and dialogue can spread a short novel out over many pages. I remember once Claire Kilroy saying that her new book (The Devil I Know) was her shortest yet, despite having a significantly higher page count than the others. 

 

There is that but that would indicate, I have found, the difference between editions.  Shogun is still more than a thousand pages long and can't be confused with an Agatha Christie book

 

2 hours ago, Viccie said:

But you're always up for long books, Luna! What about The City and The City? There are loads of long books around that people still devour. Game of Thrones for instance.

 

i've read a few of the books on that list and I'll have to be honest and say that to suit modern tastes quite a few of them could do with abridging - we don't need lengthy descriptions any longer because we travel, have photographs etc. I've read the Three Mustketeers both in the orginal full length and the Penguin abridged (still 450 pages) versions and the Penguin one is a better read. I adored War and Peace but it could do with getting rid of a lot of the stuff about Masonic ritual and battle descriptions and imo Anna Karenina would benefit from cutting out the descriptions of haymaking.

 

Surprised there's no Dickens on that list. I read Bleak House one winter every evening in front of the fire and it was absolutely the right place andtiming. However everyone I know who's tackled Moby Dick would not agree about it beibg worth reading:

 

I am, Viccie.  I have read The City and the City twice now and I was also surprised that Dickens wasn't mentioned.  I read Bleak House last year and it was epic but not a word was wasted.  The other versions could be a translation problem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know to put this in long book thread or short book thread

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/in-praise-of-short-novels-1.3775752?mode=amp

 

But even during my Penguin Classics phase I was conscious that many 19th century novels were the boxsets of their day: published first in shorter volumes as serialisations and only gathered into a single work afterwards once the market for them had been proven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very happy to read short novels too. I have just finished a novella of 73 pages by Hans Christian Andersen.  And I like the Penguin Little Black Classics as tasters of novelists I have yet to experience.  They all have their place and reading is reading.  Whatever suits you at the time.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on the book, if its a cracking read which holds your attention it doesn't matter how long it is, whereas if its a pile of poo the shortest book can be a hard slog to get through.  Personally speaking I like short books and I like long books some of my fav's have been the size of a breeze block and some which took me forever to get through because they were so bad were relatively short.

 

I think this thread ties in nicely with the thread I started asking if books were getting shorter as I have noticed in recent times it doesn't take me as long to read a book as it used to, and sometimes I feel I have been a bit short changed when I read a book which seems to end before its even begun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Mr HG says the size of the print matters alot on the size of a physical and even digital book. The bigger the font the more pages. The only way to judge the length of a book surely is on the word count?

Whether they are worth it will be for you to decide .

Here is a list of the longest books and having started Les Miserables and got to less than 10% after 2 weeks, wish that an abridged shortened version was available. A book with so many asides. historical background and to be honest not needed information, I have never read before. Will persevere. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_novels

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Clavain said:

Here is a list of the longest books and having started Les Miserables and got to less than 10% after 2 weeks, wish that an abridged shortened version was available. A book with so many asides. historical background and to be honest not needed information, I have never read before. Will persevere. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_novels

To my surprise I've read several of those books - well part of them, I confess to only reading two of the books in Dance to the Music of Time and I think I skipped Clarissa in places. I don't remember And the Ladies of the Club being that long and A Suitable Boy was just sheer enjoyment all the way through.

There is an abridged version of Les Mis - look it up on Amazon. Cuts approx 400 pages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Suitable Boy was a wonderful wonderful read.  Everyone I recommended it to who read it just loved it.

 

I also loved every moment of War and Peace.  I remember being mystified about why the masonic rituals were so emphasized and so asked my mother if the Masons were or had ever been controversial.    She said they were considered shocking at the time of this novel because they emphasized equality of men (not women, of course) and so to have  Prince join the Masons was a very revolutionary act.  I also loved the battle scenes, but I think I'm generally a sucker for those because I liked them in the "Aubrey/Maturin" novels, too.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Viccie said:

To my surprise I've read several of those books - well part of them, I confess to only reading two of the books in Dance to the Music of Time and I think I skipped Clarissa in places. I don't remember And the Ladies of the Club being that long and A Suitable Boy was just sheer enjoyment all the way through.

There is an abridged version of Les Mis - look it up on Amazon. Cuts approx 400 pages.

Thanks for that Viccie, have found a version taught in schools and with great reviews but without the masses of padding, Strange to be re starting nearly the same book. :hmm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Binker said:

 

 

I also loved every moment of War and Peace

I adored War and Peace. I read it when I was 15 and should have been revising for my mock O levels - I barely looked at any of the textbooks. I got really good marks for once, probably because I was so involved in my book I was entirely relaxed and didn't go into a blind panic at the first question. My teachers relised to their surprise that I wasn't entirely thick.

 

My father was a mason and even he thought there was much t.oo much about masonic rituals, but then Tolstoy seems to have been inclined towards banging on. There's an awful lot about haymaking in Anna Karenina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember being bothered by either of those things, so I must not be quite as attentive a reader as I think I am.  Or maybe I skimmed... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The length of a book never puts me off. Reading is reading and it doesn't really matter to me how long it takes to read a story. I actually think longer books are my preference as I like to wallow in a fictional world for a while, especially if it's a good book. I would definitely pick a longer novel over a short one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read War and Peace, on Kindle, a couple of years ago - including appendices. I read it in conjunction with the BBC serialization at the time,  this helped get through the book.

Currently reading The Crimson Petal and the White, finding it a bit of a bore, but will persevere. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...