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Brian.

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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