I have a funny relationship with books over 500, possibly 450, pages long. If they are done well there is nothing better than being immersed in a fictional world for hours and hours. However there are two flaws with long books, one is the fact that they can take forever to get into (yet the build up is worth the wait on the whole) and also there is the fact that when I first pick up a monster of a book I can’t help but think ‘how many smaller books could I read instead?’*
That raises the question that I want to ask all of you. Can you dip in and out of a massive book, or will you lose the plot and therefore resent the next several hundred, possibly a thousand (though I don’t think I have ever read a book that big oddly), pages or more you have ahead?
I am asking this because there are two books I am contemplating reading at the moment that fit the bill. The first is Ford Maddox Ford’s ‘Parades End’; this arrived in the post the other week to coincide with the new BBC adaptation and has tempted me. I was wondering if it also might be an idea to watch the show and then read that much of the book, or vice versa. Or could that kill it all the more? The second in Stephen King’s ’11.22.63’ which a Liverpool Book Group has asked me to join reading with them by the end of September.
Obviously I wouldn’t dip into them both at the same time but if I choose one would it work? At the moment this would be most practical as I still have rather a lot of Green Carnation submissions to be getting on with, but once that is done I am wondering, if it worked, if it could be a new way of me getting through those bigger books, and maybe even some classics like Dickens? I know it is working for Dovegreyreader’s Team Middlemarch with George Elliott. What do you think?
*There are of course exceptions, generally any ‘sensation’ novel of 450+ pages I can read without even a thought, as autumn appears on the horizon I am wondering if it is time to dig some out maybe.