Bookish Topic Tuesday
We all know that books come in many different shapes and sizes, some are only a touch over 100 pages, while others are true behemoths are over 1000 pages (I’m looking at you War and Peace and Lord of the Rings). And there is so much variation out there, but, what’s better? A long, detailed book, or one that’s short and sweet? That’s a really tough question, and is what I’ll look at today.
Just a quick aside, had a wonderful weekend at Mt Gambier for the Generations in Jazz festival with the likes of James Morrison, Ross Irwin, The Idea of North, Megan Washington and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, who were all just incredible, check these guys out!
So if I look across my shelves, I see quite a number of books are pretty hefty, most of them are easily over 300 pages, and probably half are over 500 pages. So it’s pretty clear that I have a tendency to buy lengthy books. And I have to admit, that I like to read lengthy books. Maybe it means I don’t read as much over the course of the year, especially compared to other readers out there, who easily rack up 100 books, and I struggle to find time to read near to half of that (even though I certainly read a lot more than probably 80% of people on this world).
It’s not that I have an aversion to short books, or that there is anything wrong with them. Short books can be just as engaging and interesting as longer books, just look at short stories which do a pretty good job. Some of the classics of the world are short stories, just look at A Clockwork Orange and even The Great Gatsby they aren’t lengthy, which goes to show that quantity doesn’t equate to quality. It just depends on what’s written down on the page.
But at the same time, with more pages, authors have more time to create a world, and introduce more topics, and go into more detail. Which is why for fantasy, dystopia, mystery, etc. (especially any series) a lengthy book is a good thing. In fantasy they need a lot of time to introduce the mythology of the book, let alone introduce the complex plot with all the intertwining plots arcs that have to be resolved. There just isn’t time to do everything in 200 pages, it’s not feasible. Alright, some fantasy writers do a good job at having stand alone books that are not that long, but I wonder that maybe some of those are pushing into being more like slightly long novellas.
If they aren’t one of those books, or a lengthy, epic period drama (like War and Peace and Count of Monte Cristo) you really don’t need to spend hundreds of pages giving great detail. In fact, in many cases, it would just be way too dull and boring. Sometimes the story can be over in a few hundred pages. As long as things happen, I’m fine with whatever length the book wants to be. But if I read 1000 pages of a book where nothing really happened (*coughTwilightcough*) I wouldn’t be impressed.
Sometimes there are books which I just wish would never end, and that the author just included every little detail they wanted, and included back stories of every single character (like Harry Potter and The Obernewtyn Chronicles), even though if they did that, most people wouldn’t be interested, it wouldn’t be physically possible and it frankly would take too much time for the author to write it well enough to be interesting, so they would never move on to other projects which would be worse. But I think, I like many others, would love for this to happen, which is why I do like Pottermore simply because it provides extra content from JK Rowling about things we wouldn’t really know about. Though, it isn’t the best it could be, we haven’t seen the awesome back stories of characters like we did in The Philosopher’s Stone about Professor McGonagall, and I’m certain that JK Rowling has those stories in her head, they just didn’t share them with us. So I think that, projects like Pottermore would be very interesting in the future, and ebooks and things, where authors can provide additional content to readers, but they don’t have to worry about people not being interested enough in it to make money
I like large books, it means they last for longer, and I won’t ever be put off by their size. But what about you, is size daunting? When do you want the book to last for a thousands pages? Let me know!