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Books/book club

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?

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

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.

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

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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.

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 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'.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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?

Sawsage2 Thu 26-Nov-20 17:25:02

Easy solution! If I read in bed and have a cup of tea, scone etc, I use a simple clip peg to hold my book open. Works a treat.

LadyO Thu 26-Nov-20 16:41:13

I meant easier/less painful WITH the PillOPad

Rosina Thu 26-Nov-20 16:40:30

I've read all the Strike books, and couldn't wait for Troubled Blood to be released. I do feel that JK Rowling writes a good story, and her efforts have persuaded me to read fiction. I always went for travel, biographies etc. but I have throughly enjoyed her work.

petra Thu 26-Nov-20 16:37:24

I wish that Victoria Hislops books were longer. I love her stories and never want the book to end.

petra Thu 26-Nov-20 16:31:40

As this is your first post your probably not aware that there's another LancsLass. The only difference is: hers doesn't have a capital L in the Lass.
I'm surprised ( well maybe not 😉) that they let you have that username.

Callistemon Thu 26-Nov-20 16:30:29

I wish that some of the books I'd read at school had been dramatised on TV at the time, I may have enjoyed them so much more.

LadyO Thu 26-Nov-20 16:29:48

LancsLass oh yes PillOPad is best thing ever! Bought for father-in-law and both of my daughters. Books and iPad are much easier for my arthritic thumbs.

Dinahmo Thu 26-Nov-20 16:25:19


Have just finished War and Peace - decided finally to read it beginning in the first lock down! Of course it is great and certainly kept me enthralled - though I didn't enjoy the long essays on the nature of history and causes of war. In the end I skipped these - but the story, notoriously long, is great. I read it on my Kindle - I prefer a paper book, but a Kindle is easy to hold. It didn't matter that its a long book once I began it - though in advance I'd been daunted.

The first (and only) time I read War and Peace was when I was sent to the library during my free periods for one term at school. I forget what I'd done to deserve that punishment. I've watched the various dramatisations on tv and always enjoyed those.

Callistemon Thu 26-Nov-20 16:13:13

Yes, no problem although my autocorrect is normally very bossy.

Callistemon Thu 26-Nov-20 16:12:41


I'm going to try now
Donna Tartt

Callistemon Thu 26-Nov-20 16:08:40

Being an avid book browser, slim books with less than say 200 pages don't seem significantly cheaper.
No, and I like to get my money's worth.

If there are too many characters, sometimes with similar names, I have to keep referring back. Perhaps my memory's not as good as it was.

Some books I have read lately have really needed a good pruning and editing, but have finished in a rush, as if the author got fed up with it.

I started War and Peace about 50 years ago but never finished it.