I have a confession, a dirty little secret: I avoid books over 450 pages. Unless I already have it in mind to read a certain book, if I pick it up and it is over about 450 pages, I likely put it back down. Yes, I realize this is madness. And yes, I realize that I’m missing out on good books this way.
I feel like long books make me fatigued. I just get tired of reading about the same thing for that long. Isn’t that a little silly? Moreover, a lot of what I read falls into the category of, “this is mildly entertaining,” and not, “holy crap this is earth shattering.” I don’t want to devote the time to reading a long book unless I’m fairly certain it is the second category.
Are you like me? Do you struggle with books of intimidating size? Here are some tips for getting over the fear:
1. Have an Idea of What to Expect Before Diving In
For the longest time, I’ve avoided Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Stand. I’m a King fan, having read maybe a dozen of his other works. And most King fans LOVE The Stand. The originally published version comes in over 800 pages. That’s a long book. I bought the uncut version, which comes in around 1200 pages. But I’m reasonably certain I will find merit in a book that most King fans adore. So, I’m not rolling the dice on an author I haven’t tried before.
The other book I’ve read in the recent past that came in anywhere near this page count was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. That one came in a bit over 700 pages and I read it last year. That was a recommendation by a trusted reader friend. And I read a lot of spoiler-free reviews before diving in. I knew that book made people feel things. And while I didn’t adore it, I am definitely glad I tackled it. I still think about those characters sometimes.
2. Read with a Buddy!
Reading with friends is always more fun! I’m reading The Stand with a buddy, because she also was intimidated by this book’s size. We set little goals and then will comment to each other on plot points. Often, our texts are a version of, “Stephen King you are so messed up, man.” The buddy reading has helped a lot. Despite that the book is good, and generally keeping my interest, my reading pal is helping me stay motivated. It is good, the characters are good. But man…I’m just getting tired of reading it. See, fatigue is real.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Pause for Something Different
I am not typically one to read a ton of books at once. Usually, I have one I’m reading, one on audio and then a third I’m working through with my kiddo. I think I’m currently reading six books, The Stand included. Why? Well, The Stand is HEAVY. Sometimes, I just need a break. And let me tell you, either the Katherine Center book I threw in a week or so ago was amazing or I was just really desperate for something lighter because I read How to Walk Away in about 24 hours. Probably both. I similarly devoured some random romance on a break from A Little Life. Again, I just tire of long plots sometimes.
4. Ignore Your Reading Number Goal
I know reading is supposed to be fun and I need to let go of my numbers goal. Who gives a crap if I break 100 books again this year, right? Me. I care. It is annoying. Reading long books helps you let go of the need to constantly achieve big reading numbers. I have no idea how many books I read in March. I’m certain it was a lot less than my usual 6-9. I’m trying very hard not to care. Part of me still does, but there is something to be said for not barreling through books at a breakneck pace. Taking time to enjoy them and reading a lower number of books is a valid reading strategy. And one I probably need to delve into more often.
So, there it is. What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Was it worth it????