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Features | Thick Books


I am generally of the opinion that there are very few books that need to be longer than 500 pages. There are some exceptions, of course, (The Harry Potter books, for example, could be 2000 pages each and I wouldn't bat an eyelid) but for the most part I just think it's kind of unnecessary.

This probably explains why I don't read a lot of fantasy.

I just tend to start getting bored when I hit page 450 and the story is still firmly in the middle. In fact, that tends to be the number one reason for me putting a book down to come back to later, after I've had a little break and read something else. I took a break of almost a year in the middle of reading T. H. White's The Once and Future King, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but just because it was taking such a long time that I needed a pause.

So it's probably no surprise that I was pretty apprehensive when I started reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. This book is 1000 pages long. That's twice the length that I can normally stand! However, read it I did, and I loved it. I didn't even have to take a break in the middle, I just plowed straight on through. It took me over a month to read and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. I like that the length and the writing style are evocative of popular books from the period the story takes place in and I really enjoyed being immersed in that world for so long. In fact, I ordered Susanna Clarke's other book The Ladies of Grace Adieu as soon as I finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell because somehow, even though I had just had a month's worth of it, I wanted more of that world.

But I still think it probably could have been a little shorter.

This is definitely a personal thing and I'm not sure if it's one I will ever be completely over but reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has definitely encouraged me to give more longer books a chance! Although, I will admit, I was pretty relieved when I saw how much shorter The Ladies of Grace Adieu is.

How about you? Do you struggle with longer books too? Or are you more of the opinion that a book can never be long enough?

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