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Topic: Does size matter?

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Subject: Does size matter?
Date Posted: 9/30/2008 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Book size that is.  Are you more intimidated by a long, thick book?  Or put off by something that looks like it'll be over just when it starts to get good.  Wow, this sounds way more perverted than I meant it too.  But in all seriousness, some of my favorite books are over 1000 pages and before I read them I never thought I'd finish, let alone enjoy them.  And there's some shorter ones that I didn't think would really have any depth or detail to them that also surprised me. 

Favorite epics: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Beach Music & Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, The Stand by Stephen King, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Terror by Dan Simmons

Favorite quickies: Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, Vamped by David Susnowski, Clockwork by Philip Pullman, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Date Posted: 9/30/2008 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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It;s funny when somebody mentioned to me that they were intimidated by "twilight" because it is such a thick book.  That book was such a light easy read, it didn't even register to me as a thick book. 

I am not intimidated by big long books, but let's face it, a longer, more complex novel is just a bigger investment of time!

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 7:10 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,389
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Some thick books are definitely worth the time it takes to read them.  For instance, Gone With the Wind is huge, but it's my favorite book of all time----so I wish it was even longer than it is!!  I was actually sad when I finished it. 

I'm also glad I tackled Hawaii by Michener.  Although it exhausted me at times, it was fascinating in it's grnd scale and scope.  And, I really enjoyed (here goes, this is quite an admission) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, which I just read recently.  I thought it was going to be absolute trash, and, though it was trashy, it was also very much a page turner and I am truly surprised that i liked it as much as I did.

So...I say, by all means, tackle a thick book every now and then!!

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 7:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Twlight was definitely a quick read even though it's a nice, fat book!

Ditto about Gone With the Wind, Lonesome Dove is another epic that is well worth the pages. Andersonville, however was long and painful for me, possibly because the subject matter didn't interest me very much.

Mymost recent favorite quick read is Clyde Edgerton's, The Bible Salesman.  I started it yesterday and could have finished it in one day if I hadn't had to do some shopping and laundry.

Last Edited on: 10/1/08 7:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2008 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2008
Posts: 91
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A quickie I'd recommend would be: 84, Charing Cross Road.

 It's wonderful!


Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 10/1/2008 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Nope, I'll read anything.  I have a ton of pulp-type SF books barely over 100 pages, but I liked George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books, at over 1,000 pages in paperback.  I haven't read Twilight, but I read The Host in just a few days.

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2008
Posts: 1,748
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Yes! I'm frightened by large books! I am a very slow reader.

That being said, I'm reading Edgar Sawtell (560-something pages long) and it'll be the longest book I've ever read. I was really scared to tackle it but so far it's really good and I'm not so scared anymore :) I was a little worried even about Water for Elephants but I got through it much faster then I thought so I'm trying to up the pages as I go. After this I will probably read a shorter book though :)

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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I tell my kids to think of a fat book as just a few smaller books in the same cover.

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,834
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Size matters, but not in the way you think: trade-size paperbacks can be insanely heavy and hard on the wrists after a while. I went so far recently as to swap a new copy of a trade book for a used copy of its mass-market brother, all so that I can read in bed on my side, which is my little comfort thing, without straining my book-lovin' arms.
Date Posted: 10/1/2008 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I love a good, long book. My most recent 1000+ page books were Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and Homeland by John Jakes. Both are excellent.

Short books that I found to be better than I expected are Ethan Frome, The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van by Allan Bennet (two short stories), and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (several short stories).

My nine year old son is intimidated by long books. He was so impressed with I finished Homeland in about 6 days. I told him that if the story and characters are interesting it doesn't matter how long the book is :-)

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2007
Posts: 2,992
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I do tend to shy away from epics, just because they don't usually hold my interest for the whole time.... except for familial sagas by favorite authors, of course (Middlesex by Eugenides, Caramelo by Cisneros).

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2008
Posts: 1,520
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Depends on my mood.  I always have some on each on my TBR pile.  It's not so much the size as the subject.  Some nights I come home  from work beat and by the time dinner is over and the kitchen cleaned, I  just can't face starting a hugh book and I tend to reach for a cozy mystery or something else light that   will entertain me, but  not force me to really have to concentrate.  One of my memories of a marvelous black cat (who crossed the bridge ten years ago) is reading Sarum propped up on him!  He insisted on sleeping on my lap, the book was too heavy to hold up and he didn't seem to mind!

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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I have a few thick books.  Most of them being Stephen King books.  He has quite a few thick books.  I have also read Gone With The Wind.  I don't mind reading them but it just takes me awhile to get through them.  I have a couple of John Michener books that I'm scared to get started with.  I am scared that I will not be able to get through them.

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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Size does not matter, pagewise. But I prefer trade sized paper backs to mass market paper backs. I am even thinking about posting all my MMP on my shelf because I will probably never read them. I wish there was a way to know FOR SURE on PBS without having to go to Amazon for the dimensions!!

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2008
Posts: 541
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Doesn't matter to me, I love all shapes and sizes.  (Yes, I do mean shapes.  I love children's books, including the picture books which often come in odd shapes.)

Date Posted: 10/2/2008 1:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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I am a fast reader so numerous pages in a book do not turn me off. I am like Colleen in that I have found myself preferring Trade-size over Mass Market size more and more.

Date Posted: 10/4/2008 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2008
Posts: 87
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I have been known to choose my next book based on what will fit into my purse!  But I also like long books.  In general, I think I like to alternate more or less.

ETA:  I have also been known to choose my purses based on whether a book will fit into them.

Last Edited on: 10/4/08 7:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 10/4/2008 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I thought the question was just about page count...but I always prefer MMPB size books, no matter the length, for portability.  I bring books to work with me, and like to haul one around everywhere I go, and it's a lot easier with a small paperback rather than a hardcover or trade paperback. 

Date Posted: 10/4/2008 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,464
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I prefer lengthy books and also prefer trade size over MMPB. My hands tend to cramp holding the smaller MMPB.  I think twice about books under 250 pages. My favorite big books are the Outlander series and And Ladies of the Club. 

Greg, I have posted my MMPB to get the trade size, opposite of you; we should check each other's WL and bookshelves !

Date Posted: 10/5/2008 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2007
Posts: 652
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I love long books- I read ridiculoulsy fast, so a longer book is better for me.  I hate being out and about and running out of book. 

Date Posted: 10/5/2008 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Some of my favorite reads were the books by Mitchner and those suckers were L O N G.    Sometimes I want a short read, sometimes a long one.  When on a LONG plane trip I want a long book that I KNOW is going to stay with me to the end.   I like to be in the middle of that long book before boarding and so engrossed that I simply can't put it down.  Makes that 5 hour plane trip go by so fast!

   I like em all sizes, shapes, hardbacks, paperbacks, trade size, mass market size.   If it has words and pages - I like it. 

Date Posted: 10/5/2008 7:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I don't read as many long books because they're harder to carry around.  It started when I was in school -- do you know how much space a thick hardcover takes in a backpack? -- but I still don't want to be bringing something incredibly thick with me into work everyday.

I've made a few exceptions for books that I know I will finish quickly.

Date Posted: 10/5/2008 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2008
Posts: 87
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"I hate being out and about and running out of book."

I hate that, too.  I usually choose something shorter/smaller for the back-up book (BUB, for short?) to reduce weight, but then sometimes my desired reading "schedule" is screwed up if what I really wanted to read next were something long.  So for a while now I've had a long but physically-only-medium-sized book that I employ only as the back-up book, and then I switch back to the A-list on my next visit to my house.

I'm a person who naturally organizes for efficiency, but even I am surprised that I have put so much long-term thought into this!

Another problem is that sometimes I am reading something long but have shorter, quicker library books sitting in the pile.  And somehow this causes me a tiny bit of anxiety as if I were holding up the line.  So I try not to have other library books out if I am plodding through a long one.  (I never truly mangage to resist very well, though.)

Date Posted: 10/8/2008 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 24,240
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I LOVE LONG BOOKS!!!!  I don't read particularly fast, but I don't feel like I have gotten my money's worth if the book doesn't have at LEAST 300-500 pages.  Even when I buy used books I always gravitate to the thicker ones.  I still make sure my purse is big enough to fit at least 1 book, but I usually carry a satchel along with my purse when I go to work.  I always carry a second book once I get over half way thru the first.

I LOVED Hawaii by James Michener, The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden by Steinbeck, Gone With the Wind, all of Stephen King.

I have read some shorter books and enjoyed them, but I always feel like I want more....

Last Edited on: 10/8/08 12:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/8/2008 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2007
Posts: 106
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Thick books definitely take longer for me to actually pick up and get reading.  And I think I give up on them easier if they bore me in the beginning.  With a shorter book I stick it out because it will be over soon!