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Reading Very Long Books

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Recently I decided to tackle some of the longer books (more than 700 pages) in my collection as I have been neglecting them due to their length. Even though I am enjoying the book I'm reading (Clash of Kings GOT) I have to admit that the size of it has me struggling a bit. I know this is just some kind of physcological thing as I am used to getting through books quite quickly. Surely I am not alone in this and does anyone have any tips on how to overcome this frustrating feeling?

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I've left off reading long books for a bit, normally I'd have a shorter book on the go as well so maybe that would help if you needed a break from Clash of Kings (which does get better as it goes on, and the 3rd book is a real page turner!) and wanted something a bit lighter (literally as well as psychologically). 

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I get that longer books intimidate you, I get that too. I'm going to try next February to read a long book together with a friend. We might read for example 40-50 pages a day (I haven't discussed that with her yet, but I think 50ish pages should be the limit as otherwise it might be harder to make sure to read that many pages each day). It is a re-read for me, but I've been reluctant to re-read it because it is huge (it's The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, which I loved the first time I read it). I want to re-read it and the second book, so that I can read the third book and the recently come out prequel once it is available in smaller paperback.

 

Anyway, when I do a buddy read together with a friend, I always read the pages of the buddy read first when I have spare time in the day and don't need to do anything else. Then if there is still time in the day to read and I feel like it, I will read in a book that I'm just reading by myself (which is usually shorter than the buddy read book). I find it helps me get through a book. That said, the longest book I have buddy read so far was 526 pages, so I haven't tried it yet with a longer book.

 

Good luck reading your longer books!

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I think I have settled into Clash of Kings despite it's size. I have been doing the same as you suggested @Athena, setting a target of 50 pages a day and then reading more if I feel like it, which I have.

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I find longer books very intimidating too, however it's books over 500 pages or more, which I know cannot really be classed as "long books" 

 

I need to read more as I have a fair few books with 700, 800+ pages on my TBR. One of my resolutions next year might be to read a big book at least once a month or once every couple of months.

 

I have the first Got book on my to read list but nervous about starting it. 

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I usually love big books, and don't have any problems with length (there are some fair old monsters in my top dozen or so books!). However, this year, I've just not been able to settle to any of them, and have decided to go with the flow and focus on shorter books for the present. I can see me doing so for another month or two (or three!).  I've also decided that, probably from March/April onwards, I'm going to focus on some of the bigger reads that i've been stacking up this year, both fiction and nonfiction: 2021 - the year of the big book?!

 

As to tips on how to tackle them, I'm probably not the best person, simply because I don't have the same relationship with them as you.  However, FWIW, I'd suggest a couple of things:

 

1.  Give yourself space to read them - big books need bouts of extended reading, both to get into them and to feel you're making progress.  This is partly because bigger books tend to be more expansive,so they don't respond well to quick snatches of reading. I don't think it is any coincidence that so many older books are fairly big - they were aimed at a market where people had more time to read.

 

2. Use Desmond Tutu's 'eating an elephant' technique: one bite at a time. Don't think of it as one big book of x hundred pages, but just focus on chapters or slices of smaller amounts of pages.  So, say, sit down to read 50 pages - that's your target, not the x hundred pages of the book.  Aim to read, say, 50 pages a day. Maybe even record what page you get to each day, and where, at least, you're aiming to get to next day.

 

3.  Treat it as a multiple volume book - eg regard a 900-page volume as, in fact, 3 books of 300 pages.  It isn't, you know that, but by recognishing that it's 'worth' 3 books, you'll get more satisfaction at ticking off progress, and at the end.  This is partly why I've started recording the number of pages read each year, not just number of books. Page sizes vary, I know, but it means that a 900-page book feels just the same as 3 x 300-page books, not just '1' book completed, or tackled.

 

Just a few thoughts - you're probably doing much if not all of that already - but hope there's something useful there.

Edited by willoyd

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On 12/12/2020 at 12:53 AM, willoyd said:

I usually love big books, and don't have any problems with length (there are some fair old monsters in my top dozen or so books!). However, this year, I've just not been able to settle to any of them, and have decided to go with the flow and focus on shorter books for the present. I can see me doing so for another month or two (or three!).  I've also decided that, probably from March/April onwards, I'm going to focus on some of the bigger reads that i've been stacking up this year, both fiction and nonfiction: 2021 - the year of the big book?!

 

As to tips on how to tackle them, I'm probably not the best person, simply because I don't have the same relationship with them as you.  However, FWIW, I'd suggest a couple of things:

 

1.  Give yourself space to read them - big books need bouts of extended reading, both to get into them and to feel you're making progress.  This is partly because bigger books tend to be more expansive,so they don't respond well to quick snatches of reading. I don't think it is any coincidence that so many older books are fairly big - they were aimed at a market where people had more time to read.

 

2. Use Desmond Tutu's 'eating an elephant' technique: one bite at a time. Don't think of it as one big book of x hundred pages, but just focus on chapters or slices of smaller amounts of pages.  So, say, sit down to read 50 pages - that's your target, not the x hundred pages of the book.  Aim to read, say, 50 pages a day. Maybe even record what page you get to each day, and where, at least, you're aiming to get to next day.

 

3.  Treat it as a multiple volume book - eg regard a 900-page volume as, in fact, 3 books of 300 pages.  It isn't, you know that, but by recognishing that it's 'worth' 3 books, you'll get more satisfaction at ticking off progress, and at the end.  This is partly why I've started recording the number of pages read each year, not just number of books. Page sizes vary, I know, but it means that a 900-page book feels just the same as 3 x 300-page books, not just '1' book completed, or tackled.

 

Just a few thoughts - you're probably doing much if not all of that already - but hope there's something useful there.

 

That's so true, I never thought about it that way before. Thanks for the tips.

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I've never been intimidated by a long book and have read books that have over a thousand pages in them.  If I can lift it I can read it! Have yet to come across a book that I couldn't lift. Larger books are, of course, more difficult to handle - I read Emma Goldman's autobiography and got a very sore arm lifting and laying it. I had to find another way to handle it and I did.  If all else fails and it's a paperback you can always chop it into smaller, easier to handle 'bits' (but not if it's a library book obviously).

 

I'd second all of Willoyd's tips.

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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5 minutes ago, lunababymoonchild said:

 

If all else fails and it's a paperback you can always chop it into smaller, easier to handle 'bits'..

 

 

look-of-horror.jpg.8da9e4eb9998c3eed52e96bba3590f44.jpg

 

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12 hours ago, Raven said:

 

look-of-horror.jpg.8da9e4eb9998c3eed52e96bba3590f44.jpg

 

 

1 hour ago, Madeleine said:

My sentiments exactly:eek:


Yes, I know, not a popular option. Especially if you want to read it again. 

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15 minutes ago, lunababymoonchild said:


Yes, I know, not a popular option. 

 

 

Simpsons-Mob.jpg.db36520bd16d67b43d87d737e6e28326.jpg

 

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Here's another unpopular viewpoint : There are always electronic books such as Kindle for the very long and difficult to hold books. Not all of those are available as e-books but if it was a choice of using a Kindle and not reading at all then I'd have to bite the bullet and read a Kindle (other e-book readers are available). Actually I'm getting better at that anyway, not all of Emile Zola's books, for example, are printed on paper any more so if I want to read him then it's e-book. 

Edited by lunababymoonchild

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I hate reading long books on Kindle. It's something to do with not knowing how far in you are and how far you've got to go and also to do with the concentration, I don't absorb as much when reading on Kindle (Kobo in my case), I think it might have something to do with the smaller page area. I'm thinking of upgrading my Kobo to one of the bigger waterproof ones anyway, my current one is beginning to show its age, and will be interested to see if it changes my reading patterns.

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3 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

 

Here's another unpopular viewpoint : There are always electronic books such as Kindle for the very long and difficult to hold books. Not all of those are available as e-books but if it was a choice of using a Kindle and not reading at all then I'd have to bite the bullet and read a Kindle (other e-book readers are available). Actually I'm getting better at that anyway, not all of Emile Zola's books, for example, are printed on paper any more so if I want to read him then it's e-book. 

 

 

Whilst I prefer printed books, I do use a Kindle quite regularly as well. Trying new authors is the most common reason, but also for reading longer books and books that are out of print as well.

 

2 hours ago, France said:

 

I hate reading long books on Kindle. It's something to do with not knowing how far in you are and how far you've got to go and also to do with the concentration, I don't absorb as much when reading on Kindle (Kobo in my case), I think it might have something to do with the smaller page area. I'm thinking of upgrading my Kobo to one of the bigger waterproof ones anyway, my current one is beginning to show its age, and will be interested to see if it changes my reading patterns.

 

 

Does the Kobo not tell you how far through a book you are? The Kindle has a page count, percentage read and other stats you can cycle through at the bottom of the screen (you can also turn them off if you don't want to be discouraged when reading a long book!)

 

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On 24/04/2021 at 3:17 PM, Raven said:

 

Does the Kobo not tell you how far through a book you are? The Kindle has a page count, percentage read and other stats you can cycle through at the bottom of the screen (you can also turn them off if you don't want to be discouraged when reading a long book!)

 

Yes it does but it's not the same psychologically as judging by eye!

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I have not enjoyed a book so much in years. 

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. God she's a superb writer. Almost 1000 pages. Oh and by the way, this book mentions one episode of a man in a dress doing a crime. Some call JK transphobic. I do not get this at all. 

Edited by itsmeagain

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On 26/11/2020 at 9:32 AM, Brian. said:

Recently I decided to tackle some of the longer books (more than 700 pages) in my collection as I have been neglecting them due to their length. Even though I am enjoying the book I'm reading (Clash of Kings GOT) I have to admit that the size of it has me struggling a bit. I know this is just some kind of physcological thing as I am used to getting through books quite quickly. Surely I am not alone in this and does anyone have any tips on how to overcome this frustrating feeling?

To me if it's a gripping bok it will be easier. Any more nuggets of wisdom, I'll let you know. 

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Just bought The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens in paperback. I have it on Kindle but the paperback gives me a list of characters and other information that the Kindle book doesn't. It's the first published book of Dickens and my copy is 784 pages long. It's going to take a while! Looking forward to it.

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1 hour ago, lunababymoonchild said:

 

Just bought The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens in paperback. I have it on Kindle but the paperback gives me a list of characters and other information that the Kindle book doesn't. It's the first published book of Dickens and my copy is 784 pages long. It's going to take a while! Looking forward to it.

 

 

Don't cut it up!

 

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On 28/04/2021 at 7:00 AM, itsmeagain said:

I have not enjoyed a book so much in years. 

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. God she's a superb writer. Almost 1000 pages. Oh and by the way, this book mentions one episode of a man in a dress doing a crime. Some call JK transphobic. I do not get this at all. 

 

I think the accusation stems from her going on a long rant about the eradication of the notion of womanhood, and in light of increased trans rights (such as use of single sex toilets etc) the need for cis women to have safe spaces that are safe from any male born that would do them harm. I think she is mistaken in a number of areas, and I think that her global influence makes what she said a greater issue than just holding a contentious opinion. 

 

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The longest book I have read in recent years has been Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, that comes in at around 650 pages. The story compelled you to read on, so it's length ultimately didn't matter in that regard. I think the pacing of the text will decide whether it feels like it is a long read. There are always those books who feel like they sag in the middle, just using many (many) words to bridge the text between one interesting section, and another. 

 

Thinking on it, I realised that I tend to designate both a place and a time to where I read it. I am less likely to read a longer and more involved book in bed for instance. It will be during a lull in my morning, or a quiet time later in the day. I feel the need to be fully alert to the reading, rather than the slightly dulled by tiredness in bed reading. 

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1 hour ago, Chrissy said:

 

I think the accusation stems from her going on a long rant about the eradication of the notion of womanhood, and in light of increased trans rights (such as use of single sex toilets etc) the need for cis women to have safe spaces that are safe from any male born that would do them harm. I think she is mistaken in a number of areas, and I think that her global influence makes what she said a greater issue than just holding a contentious opinion. 

 

Thanks Chrissy. I had only found out this furore existed when I reviewed her on GoodReads. 

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