Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Is there some new fad that requires books to be massive? I've been given two titles to review this week, both of them running to some 600 pages. The one I'm now halfway through could easily have told its story in half the space; there is a ton of surplus - interesting writing in its way, but not essential to the story, and only occasionally to the characters. One chapter I've just finished spends several pages on an inane conversation which quickly ceases to be funny because it becomes so laboured.

What are the editors thinking, I ask? Do they see large chunky books as the way to publish at present? I can tell you from experience that the weight of them is annoying (you can't take them in the bath, or read them in bed) and trying to keep them open even on a table is difficult. Because they're so tightly bound, they have to be forced back, with the possibility of breaking the spine.

Some of the best books I've read in the last few years have been around the 200 page, maybe 300 page mark. They don't waste time on inessentials, things that the author thinks are interesting but which annoy the reader. They get on with the story and are focused. 

Think of me...I've got another 900 pages still to go, and I'll have only finished two books...!

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