Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book talk: The book that wouldn't end

Today is a start of a new feature on my blog. As most of you know, I tend to post reviews and do a few memes with the odd book post or two. I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and do more regular book discussion posts.

I haven't set out a set time for these Book talk features yet, but I do know that I want to do more of them regularly.

So without further ado, here's my first book talk discussion post. Feel free to join in on the debate. I always love hearing from you. The column below, is one I've originally written for the monthly newsletter I send out (Michelle, I promise to tell you more about this in a future post), but I thought I'd rework it and post it here as well.

The book that wouldn't end.
Not too long ago, I read a book called Angelology.

It was one of the most interesting books that I've had in my hands over the course of last year, but I have to confess that I found myself wishing throughout the novel that the book would just come to a friggin' end.

As an avid bibliophile, I can happily (and easily) immerse myself in the world of a thick, juicy novel. And yet, the fact that I actually enjoyed Angelology but secretly hoped it would end made me wonder:

At what point does a book become too long of a read?

Before Angelology, I was convinced that only boring books were excessively long, but the fact that I enjoyed the book and still found it excessively long suddenly had me questioning all my previous notions. 

It usually never takes me all that long to finish a novel, but with Angelology, I suffered through the book for a good 3-4 months max.

Of course, I realise that I could have just ditched the book, but there's this nagging, persistent voice that always insists on giving the book a decent chance (there are a few exceptions to this rule though, but that's a post for another day). Besides, as mentioned previously, I actually did end up enjoying the book to an extent.

Still, I can't help but ponder on the question: If the book was a good book, then surely the reading experience should by default be a great one too? Apparently not so for me.

I suppose it may boil down to the fact that there are various degrees of comparison as to just how great a good book is, but it somehow all just seems so unlikely that there are boring good books. It's all such an annoying paradox to me. 

I asked some of my colleagues at work what they thought - and besides receiving the rather obvious answer, here's what they had to say.

My friend Robyn: "A book becomes way too long for me when I've reached chapters 3-4 and the author is still introducing characters to me. It's an absolute pet hate of mine."

Another colleague said that when she finds herself having to spend more time going through a dictionary than reading, then the book loses its appeal.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this though. When does a book (good or bad) become too long of a read for you? And which books (although you've enjoyed them), did you find ended up being a laborious read of note?

5 comments:

The Slowest Bookworm said...

I've had this too. Last year I read The Riddlers Gift and it was a fabulous story, BUT it was far too long. At 656 pages in tiny print, it took me 2 weeks of reading 3-4 hours a night to finish it.

I loved the book but I was bored and needed a change. I really think it should have been split into 2, if not 3 larger print, average sized books. I think that if this happened a lot more people would read it.

I too get bored very quickly if I have to keep looking the meaning of words up.

It is weird though. I don't understand either how I actually enjoyed the book but also wanted it to be over. Maybe just too much of a good thing?

Aisle B said...

The volume and plot of a novel will either make me stick it out but if I feel like it's never ending I will most likely trudge on since I need to know that it has an ending. Despite my inclination to want to throw the book at the wall and say "Damn you I can't do it anymore!" I go to that deep place (no not the closet) and breathe.

Sometimes it a hairy experience and anxiety builds at the eternity of the pages that seem to trap me forever into the netherdom of reading.

It's the curse of being a reader...
love it or cut it into morsels... dilemma dilemma.. thank god for RECYCLING!

Jenny said...

Love this post Tammy! I just recently had this experience as well with Outlander. I'm really enjoying it, but I started it all the way back in November and still haven't finished which never ever happens to me. I couldn't tell you why I don't feel the pressing need to continue, I love the characters, the story is interesting, I just haven't plowed my way through it like I normally do. Glad I'm not alone in this!

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I'm not sure this has ever happened to me with a book I've enjoyed. Hmmmm... I guess maybe The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman. Oh, and now that I think of it, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I can say that overall I enjoyed all three of these books, but at times I did struggle with them for one reason or another, and in particular I suffered with The Secret History at times. I think Tartt's style can be drawn out at times.

Liking the new feature!

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

The Once and Future King is like that for me...and Les Miserables. I also think that The Lonely Hearts Club was MUCH too long because, well, that book sucked so dang bad haha

Great post, Tammy!