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Long books

(89 Posts)
Wheniwasyourage Tue 24-Nov-20 17:43:55

Why are books so long these days? I have just re-read (for the umpteenth time) Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey, which has 192 pages in paperback. I have also just finished Troubled Blood, the latest Robert Galbraith novel, which has 927 (!!) pages in hardback. Both good stories, but by the time I had finished Troubled Blood I had forgotten quite a lot of what had happened earlier in the book. What do you think - are books sometimes just too long?

FannyCornforth Tue 24-Nov-20 17:51:45

With the greatest respect op - what a bonkers premise!
If you don't like long books, choose shorter books!

Calendargirl Tue 24-Nov-20 17:52:58

Depends how good they are. Gone With The Wind is over 1000 pages (just checked my copy), but doesn’t seem it.
The real test of a good book is when you can’t bear to put it down, but also you don’t want to finish it.


Blossoming Tue 24-Nov-20 18:04:41

I listen to audiobooks due to visual impairments. I prefer the longer unabridged books most of the time, but shorter stories are appreciated if I’m tired or ill and can’t really concentrate.

Wheniwasyourage Tue 24-Nov-20 18:05:44

Well FannyCornforth, I don't think choosing a book purely by its length is very sensible, any more than choosing it by the colour of the cover. It just seems to me that quite often a book could have been edited to be a bit shorter without losing anything. I didn't say I didn't like long books either, and Calendargirl is right, IMO, about the test of a good book.

FannyCornforth Tue 24-Nov-20 18:11:16

And I don't think that it's very sensible choosing to read a book that is evidently long, and then complaining that it is long!
I'm only joshing with you, please don't think otherwise. smile

Wheniwasyourage Tue 24-Nov-20 18:13:13

What else apart from a long book are you meant to use for a doorstop? Seems a shame not to read them as well. smile

eazybee Tue 24-Nov-20 18:19:13

I don't think it is long books per se but books which are un necessarily long for the story they tell; they need a good editor. I agree about JK Rowling/ R Galbraith; she doesn't seem to know when to stop also, occasionally, Dickens.

Wheniwasyourage Tue 24-Nov-20 18:23:00

Thank you eazybee, you have put it better than I did. That's exactly what I was trying to say (I obviously need an editor)!

FannyCornforth Tue 24-Nov-20 18:25:22

Blossoming you mention audio books.
I find audiobooks almost impossible to follow!
I absolutely love them, but I have to have them as ambient background stuff (can't think of the word) as my mind just wanders so much, however interested I am.
I suppose it's a skill.

Blossoming Tue 24-Nov-20 18:26:40

I like JK Rowling but I have to admit there are times when I’ve thought a book could do with some judicious editing. Descriptions and background explanations sometimes get repeated unnecessarily.

FannyCornforth Tue 24-Nov-20 18:27:13

Ah, I love this sort of thing on GN.
It really is like having a proper chat.

Blossoming Tue 24-Nov-20 18:31:44

Not much choice Fanny, I have always lovrd reading but my left hand doesn’t work too well so I have trouble holding books, and my eyes struggle with print. When I first tried audiobooks I had trouble concentrating on anything but I guess you get used to it.

TerriBull Tue 24-Nov-20 18:47:19

I'm reading "Troubled Blood" right now, yes it is long as you say OP over 900 pages. I'm not phased by long books if the story carries you along, it's when it doesn't and you make the mistake of keeping going on the basis, that it's going to grab you if only you persevere. I've made that mistake before "The Luminaries" springs to mind, it just got duller and duller hmm that's several weeks of my life, I'll never get back! However, I'm happy to say 200 pages in, I'm enjoying "Troubled Blood"

Being an avid book browser, slim books with less than say 200 pages don't seem significantly cheaper.

TerriBull Tue 24-Nov-20 18:49:44

I've just read your comment Blossom about the weight of some books, this one is rather heavy, I can almost see the sense of a Kindle in such circumstances.

nexus63 Tue 24-Nov-20 18:50:36

i love reading, i have to use a kindle and it does not tell you how many, i read about 3 chapters and if i can't get into the book then i ditch it, some authors take too long to get to the point and make the book longer than it needs to be, if i read a heavy intense thriller i then read a light romance/family saga type of book, if you are going to judge a book by how many pages it has, then you might miss out on some great fiction

TerriBull Tue 24-Nov-20 18:51:33

Apologies I should have typed Blossoming, not Blossom

Lucca Tue 24-Nov-20 18:51:38

Oh I loved “gone with the wind “
And “the thorn birds”
And “100 years of solitude “
And “ captain Corelli’s mandolin”
All long books, but these days of Covid I struggle with long books.

Witzend Tue 24-Nov-20 18:59:30

I’m a quick reader, so my objection to long books is that they’re too fat and heavy to read in bed.
I recently read A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth - which I’d avoided before because the book is not just fat but positively obese - but I read it on the Kindle.

I recently bought The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, from a charity shop - a rather fat one and the font is tiny! That’s where the Kindle is great - you can adjust it.
However it’s gripping me so far, so I’ll definitely persevere - but with a very good reading light.

Blossoming Tue 24-Nov-20 19:02:56

I love Donna Tartt’s books. A friend recommended them to me a few years ago. Definitely not too long 🙂

TerriBull Tue 24-Nov-20 19:08:10

Yes also love Donna Tart's books, well there's only 3 so far in about 20 odd years, but loved "The Goldfinch" and also remember really liking "A Secret History" but I read that a long time ago.

Deedaa Tue 24-Nov-20 19:23:02

I read Troubled Blood as soon as it came out and I've just re read Miss Pym Disposes. Interestingly I found quite a lot of similarities in the way they write, something about the characterisation I think. I loved all 900 odd pages of Strike because so much of it was set in either Cornwall or Clerkenwell. Even the Italian church got a mention. I started lockdown reading The Mirror and The Light which was another doorstop of a book and I love C.J. Sansom's Shardlake novels which are pretty thick.

BBbevan Tue 24-Nov-20 19:36:37

I read ‘The Mirror and the Light’ also during lockdown. I had a bit of difficulty holding it as it was so big. But I persevered because the book was excellent .

sodapop Tue 24-Nov-20 19:54:47

I love nothing more than settling down with a good long book. I read quickly so like to have something to get my teeth into. Two of my favourite authors write quite lengthy books, C J Sansom and Diana Gabaldon. I don't like books of short stories always seem like something and nothing.

SueDonim Tue 24-Nov-20 20:19:32

Exactly what Eazybee says, it’s not long books in themselves, it’s long books that need a good editor!

One which comes to mind is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It could have lost 25 or 30% and been a better book.

Otoh, I’ve just read The Son by Philipp Meyer, which is about 600 pages, and not one of them was superfluous.