Big Book or Not To Big Book…

Hardbacks? Sure. Paperbacks? Definitely. eBooks? I like them. Audiobooks? While not overly fond of them, I’ll take a couple a year.

My heart wills itself to work with many book formats. I do not care. Give me the words. Give me the worlds. However, there’s something about a book that chills my blood and hardens my spine.

Big books. Not coffee books mind you four feet tall, mind you. I’m referring to page length. Long books and I understand we have an oil and water existence. We don’t mix. Their existence serves as one of many reader peeves I possess wholeheartedly and without shame (e.g. movie adaptation covers, chapters exceeding twenty minutes).

On any given book shopping day, you will find me lifting a book from its shelf, reading it’s blurb, and before I decide whether it deserves a place in my library, flipping to the back to check its page number.

Six hundred pages? Crazy talk.

Five hundred pages? Nope. Nope. Nope.

My page preference remains at four hundred and twenty at the most (It used to be shorter. But, with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas published with the exact page number, I gave myself leeway toward a good story’s enjoyment.

Medium’s the way to go. Thanks, Ma’am. What? Too small. Do your thing. But for me, by page four hundred, restlessness heeds its call.

Why Do I Prefer Medium Page Lengths?

  • Page Length Affects Format. If I’m reading a printed book over four hundred and twenty pages, the book’s heavy. I walk with my own mini department store in my tote bag, including a book. Adding a heavy book does not appeal to me. More so, if I’m reading an eBook and it’s more than the preferred number, I definitely feel the book’s length faster than in its printed version.
  • Beware the Midpoint Drag. Let’s not pretend no one knows about the midpoint drag. Words start to blur. Characters receive unnecessary characterization at the expense of others. Plot tends to sway from its promising beginning. Story filler becomes obvious and can really dampen a good story.
  • Time. I read a lot of books yearly. A LOT! This year alone, one hundred and forty-two entered my life for better or worse (I encountered more stories I did not finish this year. Ugh!). Mashing my favorite hobby with work, writing, and raising a family, reading six hundred-pages at a time involves hours I could give 1.5 books or two books per week. So, either I eliminate them all together or I limit them.
  • Reading Slump. Whenever I read big books, I find myself slumping for a few days or a week after reading them. Once is a moment. Twice is a coincidence. Three times. That’s a reality. I’m likelier to avoid the wooden hangover of a small or medium book upon my shoulder. It’s science, folks, and, most of the time, debating science proves futile.

As the law of karma sees fit, as recently as Libby Bray’s The Diviners, clocking in at six hundred and three pages, and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, fast approaching on my TBR next year with four hundred and forty-eight pages, these books wormed their way into my life and I might have to simmer down on my viewpoint.

A book’s length stands as an irrelevant reason to read it. Sometimes, a good story’s good, despite its page length. But, I cannot deny moments when too many pages deter what could have been a great reading experience. With 2018 around the corner, I’ll read them. My TBR lists books surpassing my page limit.

Thus, I cannot run from big books, but I can have my preference for how long my investment should take. Give me good plot, intriguing characters, and amazing dialogue as your tome sees fit. However, be mindful that the longer the book, the longer the experience and if those attributes don’t jibe, authors validate my obsession.

What’s your preferred page length? Are you a small book lover, or do you crave massive tomes? Share your thoughts below. No judgment.

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Lover of Words. Mother. Teacher. Traveler. Writer. Bionic woman against ignorance. Finding the balance between words and reality. M.Ed. built to school you.