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I probably would dismiss a book on grounds of length, and this is long! I think, for me, is an energy thing, the book would be heavy, my arms would suffer, of course I could read on Kindle, but ebooks can be a clinical experience. Still, if the book was seductive enough to me I would read it, in spite of size/weight. Impressed by Eleanor Catton's winning Booker, her acceptance speech was gorgeous, but the book does not really appeal. I have not read any Donna Tartt, could never get into The Secret History, but I was entranced by her during interview with Kirsty Wark. loved her observations on the writing process. The Goldfinch does appeal. I wonder also if we perhaps baulk at very long books because reading is such an investment of time and emotion, perhaps we don't want to be disappointed?


I love reading long books because I can immerse myself longer in the fictional world. I'm currently doing so with Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and it feels like such a luxury.


It's the pressure of the TBR pile that makes my heart sink at the sight of a doorstopper but once into an absorbing, well written and well edited long novel I love it. I'm also a fan of spare, pared back prose so short books appeal.


I prefer them around 400 pages, but I think my main problem with longer books is that I get bored. I still remember the countdown to Anna Karenina's last 100 pages. That was a challenge! Anyway, I will be reading The Luminaries for I've heard it is a masterpiece.


I've never really considered length, I'm either enjoying a book or not enjoying it, length is irrelevant.

I blame my small native language for always having been hungry for more books to read. I even dreamed at nights, as a child, of climbing to someones attic and finding a BIG box full of books there. But even asleep, I was aware how small my native language is - in these boxes many books were in languages I was not able to read, but some were in my native language (too bad I always woke up before actually getting to READ!)

As I was always hungry for more reading, of course I loved fat books more than thin ones!

Later on, it was the price - of course I wanted to buy more words, so I liked fatter books better.

And now, when concentrating and learning new data gets to be harder, more effort, as I age, again, learning a fictional universe pays off better, when one can spend MORE time in it, so the fat books still win over the thin ones in my mind!


I don't hink I have ever decided against reading a book because of its size - there is something very beguiling about being able to immerse yourself in a book.
Not sure that I will read The Luminaries though - I tried her first book and really disliked it because I felt that it was far too self-consciously clever for my tastes.


I tend to read average length books, but I don't avoid long or short books. If I'm reading in a foreign language though, the shorter the better, as it is hard work to read in a foreign language, though it can be very rewarding.


You are right about the investment of time and emotion!
I too enjoyed Eleanor Catton's speech, and what Donna Tartt had to say about her modus operandi.


Glad to hear The Goldfinch is going well, Sakura.


Like you, my only concerns - when faced with a long book - are deadlines and everything else that is waiting.
I recently read Vita Sackville-West's The Heir: very short indeed, very wonderful.


I think masterpiece is right, Elena.


I'm the same.


What a lovely dream (apart from the waking too soon bit)!
Your experience is very interesting, so thank you, Nonnativereader.


The new book is undoubtedly very clever, but not obviously so - that is, you can read it as a 'straightforward' mystery novel without being particularly aware of all the structural and other conceits and devices EC has used.


Good point!

Di McDougall

I so much prefer longer books that I often avoid shorter books. I enjoy the feeling that I am entering this other world...that I will be there for quite a while...enjoy the sense of luxury of all those pages ahead of me....


"Luxury" - I know what you mean, Di.


I am patiently waiting for The Luminaries, The Goldfinch and Life After Life to all come out in paperback so that i can absolutely wallow in them and take my own sweet time to enjoy them. I could take them out from the library but I don't want the pressure to dash through them. Hence my patient anticipation!

I have never been put off by the length of a book, provided that I am enjoying it. I remember picking out long books from the school library to read over the summer holidays. I thought I had struck gold when I stumbled upon A Scots Quair ; what joy, three books in one!

Roxane Stoner

I am reading "The Luminaries" right now and enjoying every word. I am also impressed by the rather large font used, which makes the read quite fast. I enjoy long books and short stories and everything in between when the story gets to make me believe that I am a little fly on a wall traveling through time and space. When the story is told in a beautiful prose and the characters come alive then I could read on for a long, long time without counting the pages.


"Wallow" - another good word when applied to long books.


I'm glad to hear you are enjoying the book, Roxane.

B R Wombat

I'm drawn to long books but, as I read in bed a lot, the size needs to be manageable. Which is why The Man of No Qualities sits on the bookshelf. I'm waiting for the kindle edition.


The Kindle is a boon where long books are concerned.


I love a long book - when it is a good book it is the best feeling in the world to loose yourself in something for 600+ pages. I agree about e-readers for long books - hand savers!

I also love your polished wood ruler, and that you've used the old fashioned inches side!


Funny you should mention the ruler as it is particularly appropriate to the book having been bought in New Zealand and being made of 14 or 15 different types of NZ wood!


I can honestly say that the length of a book is not a consideration at all in my choosing to read it - just like human beings, books are all different, all shapes, all sizes! Having said that, I do choose to save very big books to read at home rather on my commute because my handbag can't cope! I've also noticed that some books are unnecessarily long and could do with a good edit! But where every word has earnt its place, the plot is tight and the characters wonderful, length is never a problem in my opinion.

I get rather intimidated by a high number of pages in a book (especially fiction), and if you add a family tree at the beginning, woah. I have an ongoing reading project called "Scary Big Books", but progress has been minimal, I'm afraid. They're a huge commitment (although why that's different in my head to reading lots of shorter books, who knows?) Perhaps it's related to always wanting to finish a book - so many pages = so much time/commitment? Interesting.


I was sent the shortlist for review and, although apprehensive to begin with, I ended up diving right in and reading this one first. I guess the fact I'd just finished Anna Karenina which is 1000+ pages made me feel slightly better about tackling this one... but, for me, the real intimidation was actually the complex-sounding structure (I'm not very good at keeping a grip of these things)!

Thankfully though I actually really, really enjoyed The Luminaries – it was complex, clever, entertaining: I loved it. I can see why the length could be off-putting but I totally agree that it is still worth a go. :)

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