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Those Big Fat Books…….

I came across this poster a couple of days ago on some social networking site and while there was an humorous element to it, there can be no denying that it made me stop and think!

Big Books

Seems like I have a tendency to really like fat books – the fatter they are, the more I seem to enjoy them. I am not sure if there is some psychological twist to the whole thing; maybe it’s about developing a comfort zone with a book or just that long tales with plots and twists that ultimately organize themselves into a plausible end could appeal to my sense of organization and triumphing over odds. I have no idea why I love fat books, but I do. It’s not to say that the short novels/books do not appeal to me – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskelland To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee are hardly sagas; but with the exception of these three and couple of more here and there, the books that have been formative in building my understanding and nurturing my love of literature have been mammoth works of fiction! Here’s a short list –

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Page Count 1392
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas –Page Count 1276
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – Page Count 1162
  • London by Edward Rutherford –Page Count 1152
  • The Source by James Michener – Page Count 1104
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens –Page Count 1088
  • The Far Pavilions by MM Kaye –Page Count 998
  • Vanity Fair by WM Thackeray – Page Count 867
  • The Complete Stories of Katherine Mansfield by Katherine Mansfield –Page Count 830
  • Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye – Page Count 803
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck –Page Count 601

More recently I have began liking Gone with the Wind by Margret Mitchell and my first reading of The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, page count 1076 and 593 respectively!

The average page count basis the above list is 1024 with the shortest novel consisting of only 601 pages. There are naturally books like Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series that have much smaller page counts, but they are more of on-going sagas. Also I believe my love for these two series is again influenced by among other factors like great plots, humorous writing, that I see the appearance of the same characters- there is a sense of continuity and sameness that holds the series together and perhaps again acts as a coming home/comfort zone for me!

I am not sure why this is the way it is, but do you have similar tendencies for certain types of books?

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Heh, a short list of fat books 🙂 Long ago I used to pick up books just because they were fat. Now I don’t really pay so much attention anymore. I know quite a few people who won’t read a book because of its girth. I just read what is appealing no matter the page number 🙂

    May 19, 2015
    • Yeah! I know what you mean…I know people who will completely ignore a book because they are chunksters! I honestly never thought about the length of the books, especially the books I really love, until I stumbled on to this poster and then I was like “Hey! That kinda applies to me!” 🙂 But I agree with you, ultimately I read what appeals to me, fat book or no fat book!

      May 19, 2015
  2. I was going to try to make a joke but then decided it’s best for everyone if I just leave it alone. Lol! 😉

    I think I have a theory as to why long books are so enjoyable …… well, classic long books anyway ………. Shorter books can perhaps survive more criticism than longer books because ….. well, they’re shorter. If they aren’t perfect, one can always make the excuse that the reading time isn’t much anyway. But with longer books, the ones that have survived to be labelled classics, they have to be well-written and engaging for people to take the time to get through them. So the long books we read now have gone through a “cleansing process” to ensure that they are excellent books. KWIM? In any case, that’s my rather weak theory.

    May 19, 2015
    • You know Cleo…you may have a point…if its a fat book, the author is already beginning from a weak place, cause not too many people will willingly read it! therefore the quality of that book to carry the readers interest has to be really really good. naturally the classics are classics, especially the fat ones, because they survived this test not once but across time!

      May 19, 2015
  3. You and me, Cleo. 🙂

    Long, short, if the story is good I’m not particularly bothered one way or the other. I do like to mix them up though, after a chunkster or two I need something slimmer.

    May 19, 2015
    • Ha ha! I’m glad there was someone else who thought about it! 😉

      May 19, 2015
      • Ok Ladies….Now SOMEONE had to tell me the joke!! I did not get it and I am very very anxious!! And suddenly it hit me….Terry Pratchett I think wrote something like that!!;)

        May 19, 2015
    • Delia…I agree!! Like I was telling Stefanie, I did not really think about the length of my favorites until I came upon this poster! But ultimately, I completely agree with you that it is the story that matters!!

      May 19, 2015
      • ian darling #

        There is a piece in the Independent today about a rash of big fat novels to be published this summer including the latest Frantzen and a prequel to the Pickwick Papers (!). The piece was on the lines of life is too short for reading such massive tomes (reading such long novels in Dickensian serial publishing might be a different thing). I do think that a novel has to be really good to justify massive length.

        May 23, 2015
      • Pickwickian Prequel….am not sure how to react to that!! I think its a shame that so many people tend to think of reading books and especially fat books as waste of time! Books and good books should be read because of the values and the changes the bring to our lives, giving us a whole different insight …..whether they are fat or thin is a minor point! I completely agree with you however that good novels have to be really good to justify their massive lengths!

        May 23, 2015

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