A few weeks ago, I read a blog post on Dysfunctional Literacy which considered the problems associated with reading long books. Apart from the obvious issue of the fact that reading a long book takes a considerable amount of time, the post on Dysfunctional Literacy also discussed issues such as long books being heavy and having unnecessary subplots.
Anyway anyway anyway, the whole point of me discussing this was that the final question to inspire discussion was:
“I know that there are a lot of readers and book lovers out there who have read and finished and enjoyed way more long books than I have, so… What long books did you actually enjoy reading?”
And I was stumped. How do you classify what a “long” book is? Is a book “long” once it reaches a certain page-count? Or is a “long” book one that is difficult to read and/or completely uninteresting and a pain in the proverbial to read? Or is it a mixture of both?
I mean, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix most certainly is a big thick clunker of a novel to carry about with you. But is it long? For me, the gripping storyline and wonderful description had me hooked throughout the entire novel, and as I turned the last page I just wished there was MORE.
On the other hand, as a child I was forced to read The Phantom Tollbooth for a school assignment and I tell you what; it might not be too long given the page-count, but reading that novel felt longer than a 2-week holiday at my Grandmothers house (the one who collects stamps and coins and enjoys showing anyone who sits still long enough).
So if you asked me which was the longer read, I would say that The Phantom Toll Booth definitely was the longer read because I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
But then that doesn’t really answer the original question, does it? If a “long” book is one which is on your bucket list under “shave all my hair off and stick my head in a hive full of bees”, then how on earth can anyone answer the question “which long books did you actually enjoy reading”?
What about you? What constitutes a long book? Which long books have you enjoyed reading lately? Post your thoughts in the comments section.