Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cutting A Long Story Short...

Now those of you who pop by regularly will possibly have noticed that I have been having quite a fight on my hands with Anna Karenina. When I pick it up and sit and read it I find myself whizzing through the pages. However picking it up isn’t happening anywhere near as much as it probably should be and I don’t take it on the tube with me as it’s simply too big and is like having a brick in my bag all day long. Oddly I am also reading the Adam Mars-Jones’ Pilcrow in paperback which comes out in March and seriously is already proving a must read. This book itself is a fairly large novel but is somehow much lighter and so is being whisked to and fro on my travels.

When I was telling someone of my ‘Anna Dilemma’ they answered that it was simple ‘you’re just a thrill reader aren’t you, you don’t want to spend hours on a book, you just want to read as many as you can each year and Anna is conflicting with that’. Whilst I agree I do like to read a lot of books, I have nothing against a longer book although occasionally the thought of ‘oh I could be reading eight books to this one monster’ does pop into my mind. But what is a thrill reader when its at home? I dont read a mass of thrillers if thats what was implied, though I am partial to a good Tess Gerritsen.

Another Simon who loves books covered this on his Stuck In A Book blog (I have him to thank for letting me use his picture – thanks Simon) and asked the question which do people prefer long or short books and the answers are very interesting. I also admire Simon’s honestly regarding why he prefers something around 225 pages ‘because I like to make lists of my books, and I like them to be long...’ and I do have to admit I agree. But is that wrong?

So which do you all prefer, a long or a short book? How long is the perfect novel? I have to say I am a fan of anything between 250 – 400 pages so either I am sitting on the fence or I just like medium sized books. On another slightly similar note, does anyone remember the furore over Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach being too short to be on The Man Booker List (I thought it was an amazing book and just the right length), which raises the question can a book be too short? I await your thoughts…

5 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

On Chesil Beach was amazing. A book by a master is as long as it needs to be.

Simon Savidge said...

Here, here, I completely agree!

joyfeed said...

And why no furore over The Reluctant Fundamentalist, on the same Booker list, which is pretty much exactly the same length?

On my top five favourite books you'll most days find both The Mezzanine and Infinite Jest.

Simon Savidge said...

I heard the Reluctant Fundamentalist wasnt very good or was that just rumour? I havent heard of The Mezzanine or Infinite Jest so will look them up on Amazon now!

joyfeed said...

I haven't read TRF but I've noted the size of the print and page count. The people I know that have read it say it's quite good, at what it is.

Infinite Jest is by David Foster Wallace and is over 1100 pages of pretty close type. The Mezzanine is by Nicholson Baker and is 100-ish. Both are probably love or hate books, but I love-em.