Do you (still) have the patience to read long books?

Discussion in 'books, films, TV, radio & writing' started by ringo, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    From the What book are you reading thread:
    400 pages in, another 330 to go, I'm struggling. It's good, and the ideas and concepts are constantly flowing and interesting, but the story is sooooooo slow. Could easily be half the length. Have had to read a couple of smaller books inbetween to break it up.

    I read an article recently that the publishing industry is finding that the public no longer want long books, they don't have the patience any more. There was some reference to TV series/box sets/ binge watching being an influence but I forget what, I'll have to find it. Do you find yourself avoiding long books? I don't particuarly, still happy to plough through a Donna Tartt epic, but I wonder if I've got less patience for a long book that isn't worth the time and effort.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    Throbbing Angel likes this.
  2. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    Yes, a few, though I can't remember the last really long book I've read (Stephen King, the stand was pretty long). For me though it's a practical thing, joint and hand problems mean I can't hold big hardbacks for long. Not a fan of the kindle, but that's where I read big stuff.
  3. Yossarian

    Yossarian free shrugs

    I'm finding it harder to concentrate on long books - and long TV series, box sets, etc. - though I do generally manage to binge-read at least a few long books every year.
  4. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    Depends on the book, I suppose.
    I can have enough patience to read massive epics, or a series.
    I read very quickly, which can be a disadvantage as a short book almost disappears at one sitting.
    Throbbing Angel likes this.
  5. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    since my fast bike got nicked a year ago I'm back on public transport and I use that time to get through long (800+ pages) books. Enjoying it immensely.
  6. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I usually have one massive one, one medium one and a few shorter ones on the go. My current large one (the collected volumes of Homo Sacer) is 1336 pages and to be honest i'm getting a bit bogged down. Thinking of taking a weeks break from it.
  7. Dr. Furface

    Dr. Furface One small step for man

    I might still read a lengthy biography - so long as it holds my interest, but it'll still take me ages - but not a novel. These days those little £1 Penguin Modern books are about all I can be bothered with.
  8. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Is that the Giorgio Agamben Homo Sacer Omnibus? I was waiting for it to come out as a paperback. I might not bother though, 1300 pages sounds a bit much.

    To answer the OP about having the patience for long books that aren't worth the effort. No, I don't. I don't even have the patience for short books that aren't worth the effort now.
    sojourner likes this.
  9. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I love Kindles, probably split my reading half and half between paper and electronic. I always use Kindles for big books if I can. Current book is not available on the Kindle in English so I'm on the paperback, and tbh that's one of the reasons I'm struggling. I imagine if you have injuries or arthritis big books must become impossible.
  10. xenon

    xenon Sweep and cut

    TL DR

    Long fiction I can’t be bothered with lately. I’ve got the second book in a fantasy series that I bought several years ago, just can’t face getting into it as yet. Similarly, I keep meaning to have a go at Neal Stevensons Baroque cycle. Factual stuff, I will read very slowly over several weeks. I blame podcasts and Netflix, they are taking that time.
    BoatieBird, mango5 and ringo like this.
  11. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    This is the seventh year I've joined the reading challenge thread and it's taken me this long to stop avoiding long books until the end of the year to make sure I'm close to my target :D
  12. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    I've started that twice and given up. It's just too long.
  13. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    It is yeah. I shall finish it, but to be totally honest, i'm not getting that much out of it.
    danny la rouge likes this.
  14. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

  15. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    That looks shit for fiction, might be of use for non-fiction. I'll read fiction purely for the brilliance of the writing, the story is secondary. Maybe that's the problem, people just want to know what happens.
    Throbbing Angel likes this.
  16. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    ringo likes this.
  17. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    Aged Poster Writes: managed to leave my reading specs at me Mums so I'm stuck with reading the novels my partner has on the kindle. That's fine, but because I've got it on big text there's only about 10 lines to the page, which makes you very aware of clicking to turn the page. Reading paper text, to me, makes you less aware that you are physically reading something i.e. it's easier to get lost in the plot or ideas you are absorbing.
    ringo likes this.
  18. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    I read a lot of books on the kindle app on my phone so often have no idea at the start how long they are :D its only after a few pages when the % refuses to budge that I think , whoah! this is an epic :D I still do read some long (real) books - mostly history stuff.
  19. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Don't read nearly as much as I used to, but I do like a hefty tome from time to time. Currently reading Gnomon by Nick Harkaway clocking in at nearly 700 pages.
  20. Throbbing Angel

    Throbbing Angel Gabba Gabba-pentin

    Generally, no. Over 400 pages and I'm forgetting stuff I need to know/remember.

    For every 700pager you get you could've read a couple of 300 pagers and had a wee break in the middle.

    I am a slooooooow reader (can't turn off that inner vocalisation thing) and am prone to being easily distracted or interrupted. Can't read in near silence. It has to be a bus or a busy cafe or 4am and everyone else is asleep.

    Currently enjoying
    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - paperback
    The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers - kindle
    Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig- hardback

    #SlowReadersBookClub hashtag on Twitter

  21. imposs1904

    imposs1904 Thread Killa'

    No. *sob*
    ringo likes this.
  22. kebabking

    kebabking Unfettered ambition

    Yup, still do - normally I've a few on the go at any one time and dip in and out of each one, so I'm just about to finish a 450 page book about the move from the Heptarchy, through the Danish and Norse invasions, to the formation (ish) of the English state. I started it in mid-July and have read a dozen plus shorter books while this one has been on the go - conversely, I sat down and read the new, 550 page, Philip Pullman Book of Dust over a weekend in August.

    Still can't get into a kindle-type thing though. It's not a book, sorry, but it's just not book...
    Rebelda likes this.
  23. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Yes and I much prefer a long book as I get totally absorbed in its world. The only downside is that I find it hard to switch to another book when I'm finished as I have become so lost in the world of the long book.

    I've just finished The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock which clocks in at 496 pages and I recently re-read The Luminaries which is a whopper at 832 pages.
  24. iona

    iona makes George Orwell look like a dalek

    Nothing I love more than a few inches of big, thick book :oops:

    I really struggle with non-fiction though. Novels are easy because I read fast, almost skim-read, but take enough in to keep track of the story; doing that with non-fiction I read the words but don't take any of it in, but slowing down lets me absorb the words but stops them building up into anything coherent. I've reached the four renewals limit on a 300-page library book about physics more than once now and still haven't made it past chapter two (which I've read three times because I keep giving up and starting again ages later), while I got through the Game of Thrones books in just over a day each.

    I only just got Netflix (had it briefly several years ago too) after not watching TV for most of my teens and early twenties so I think in my case ADHD + the internet are more to blame (not that I really use social media either but I spend a fair bit of time on urban/reddit/etc).
  25. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I have read a large book in the last year, forget what it was.

    Oh I did read a short history of everything Bill Bryson which I enjoyed.

    Way back I got 1/2 way into war and peace - that was probably the last book I failed to finish.
  26. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    Me too. It's more about prose, pace and plot than length though. I think I've got less joy from just reading and now need to be gripped. I'm just finishing a (4th?) re-read of Cryptonomicon which is over 900 pages but confess to skipping some of the maths this time
    ringo likes this.
  27. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What would be the point anyway?
  28. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    I get frustrated reading real books these days because I'm always trying to right click to look up words and stuff :facepalm:

    I'm probably down to about three books a year now. I barely have the concentration span to watch TV anymore.
  29. kropotkin

    kropotkin libcom

    I realised a few years ago that if I didn't read nonfiction books I'd never learn anything outside my work life. I'd always really struggled with nonfiction, but fiction I would just inhale.
    I can do long fiction books when they are well written but badly paced or constructed books (like almost everything by neal Stephenson since snow crash) are a struggle.
    I force myself to read a nonfiction book every three or four fiction books now, but it appears to me as a chore and I have to work at it. I'm not sure how much of it penetrates to long term memory, but it must leave some residue.
    Ive got one enormous history book on the go (Rebel voices, a history of the IWW) and will probably read four fiction books alongside that before its done
    iona likes this.
  30. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    Yes, still do read long things. Also have to plough through some long old texts for my work at times.

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