The matter of size

Today’s post is a short one about long books.

There’s been a lot of talk recently at The Guardian about long books. Back in October, they published their list of the ten best long reads, followed a week later by a list drawn up from readers’ suggestions. Today, it’s all about Aristotelian poetics and the virtue of longer works.

Do you enjoy reading long books? Are you commitment-shy at the thought of 800+ pages? The physical challenges of hefting around a sizable work are perhaps overcome by the portability of e-book readers, though I don’t have one myself to be sure. I do know my copy of A Suitable Boy is the book in my library which shows most sign of wear and tear. I loved that book and in no way resented carrying it around everywhere for three weeks, but it’s darn hard to read without creasing the spine!

I know initial reactions to a book that’s more than a couple of inches deep can be mixed. Some welcome the chance to immerse themselves in a complex and intricate narrative, others most likely feel weariness at the mere thought of all the hours to be invested. What about you? Have you crossed the finishing line of a literary marathon?

What’s the longest book you’ve read? What kept you going when you hit the wall?

photo by Roger Tooth for The Guardian
photo by Roger Tooth for The Guardian

2 thoughts on “The matter of size

  1. I must begin by saying I cannot wait to get my hands on Donna Tartt’s latest offering The Goldfinch’ – A Secret History is in my opinion a modern classic… I believe she is being compared to Dickens in certain circles. I will read anything she and Elizabeth Kostova write. Both are famous for taking years to write their novels. I read somewhere that it took Elizabeth Kostova ten years to write The Historian, have you read it or The Swan Thieves? She is a master at settings and pace. Marvellous writer.

    1. I bought The Goldfinch yesterday! In all honesty, it’ll most likely be 2014 before I get to read it but at least it’s there beside the bed reminding me of its presence.
      I read both The Secret History and The Historian on holidays in Turkey and Fiji respectively and loved reading both of them, although I’ve only reread The Secret History. Anything that combines mystery and academia will always find a willing reader in me!

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