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Long books

(90 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?

Nvella Thu 26-Nov-20 17:39:48

And films!! Rare to get a film less than 2 hours now. Authors and directors indulging themselves?

Keeleklogger Thu 26-Nov-20 20:05:20

Longer books are a growing trend, they have increased in page length by 25% in the last 20 years. In 2000 the average was 320 pages, today its 400 pages. Sometimes they can go on forever.

tidyskatemum Thu 26-Nov-20 20:15:57

I gave up The Goldfinch after a couple of chapters. DH persevered until the end, then wrote me a precis as he could hardly believe what rubbish he had read. The storyline was absolute drivel!

Witzend Thu 26-Nov-20 20:17:33

The books of Dickens and other Victorian authors often seem over-long. Probably that’s because at the time, publishers wanted books to publish in 3 volumes, since that’s what the private lending libraries like Mudie’s demanded - they made more money that way.

IIRC from reading about all this during an OU course (the 19thC novel) books were priced at thirty shillings and sixpence, which was of course far too expensive for the vast majority.

Having got fed up with the demands of publishers and libraries, Dickens started his own highly successful magazines for serialising his own novels and those of his friends, inc. Wilkie Collins, whose novel The Woman In White was first published in one of the magazines, was a runaway success and caused a sensation.
One such weekly mag cost only 2d a week, which made it affordable for a good percentage of the masses. The mag was stuffed with advertisements - Dickens was very commercially minded!

Grannmarie Thu 26-Nov-20 23:24:05

Growing OldDisgracefuly, I haven't read the Outlander books but I absolutely devoured the whole Game of Thrones collection by George R.R. Martin, seven titles in all, ranging from 500, to 800 pages, incredibly detailed, including beautiful maps and precise family trees. I lost all track of time reading these large paperbacks from Asda, although I usually read on my Kindle.

Our most recent Bookgroup title was Dear Martin, very short but a difficult read because of the racial injustice.

Reading has helped to preserve my sanity during lockdown.

Elrel Thu 26-Nov-20 23:43:26

I’m enjoying the 600 pages of AS Byatt’s The Children’s Book.
Almost two years ago my oldest grandson gave me Les Miserables because I love the musical and he had enjoyed the book. I feel so guilty that I still have read only a few chapters.

Mbuya Fri 27-Nov-20 01:16:16

Whether short or long, I am inspired by the following quote from Toni Morrison:

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

Rosiebee Fri 27-Nov-20 12:39:37

Just re-started C.J.Sansom's Tombland. I did try a while ago but I was reading it in bed and it really was literally too heavy. Similar problem with Philippa Gregory's The Last Tudor until I took it downstairs to read in afternoons. Weight not length is sometimes the problem.

bonfirebirthday Sat 28-Nov-20 18:06:32

I keep taking 'Middlemarch' from my bookcase then I put it back again. It is on the list for long books to read during lockdown. I have read George Eliot's other novels but cannot summon up any enthusiasm for 'Middlemarch'.

Witzend Sat 28-Nov-20 18:13:01

I love Middlemarch! Not so keen on GE’s others.
It was one of the 12 prescribed novels on the OU course I did on the 19thC novel. I was convinced I’d already read it, but I hadn’t - it was easily my favourite on that course. Managed to write 2 assignments on it, and the very question I’d have chosen for it came up in the exam.
(Otherwise the exam was an absolute bugger.)

bonfirebirthday Mon 30-Nov-20 17:18:28

I was a mature student in the 1990's. My dissertation was on the works of George Eliot. I really enjoyed Daniel Deronda, the Mill on the Floss and Adam Beds but I used York Notes for Middlemarch. My excuse, I didn't have time to read it.

veralarina Tue 15-Dec-20 13:32:45

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lemongrove Tue 15-Dec-20 14:14:02

I agree that a boring book is too long, even a short one, but a boring book that really is long......!
However as we’re all different, then there is always a book for everyone.
I truly admire Donna Tarrt’s writing but find the books boring overall.
I also admire Kate Atkinson’s writing, and never find them boring.
I read an excellent book a couple of years ago, and would welcome reading it again, if I could only remember the exact
Title and author.I have it in mind the title could have been
The Little Stranger ( or similar) and it may ( or not😄) be by Sarah Waters.It’s an unusual mystery and very well told.

Lazyriver Tue 15-Dec-20 14:44:34

I have just re-read The Stand after many years! Stephen King is such a good writer, and don't be fooled into thinking they are all horror books. The Institute is a recent book, and also very good.
The Stand is a long book, but my kindle saves my hands.
I decided that when I retired, I would revisit books of my youth.
Struggled with Dickens!!
Ken Follett another writer of long books recently