Are you terrified to pick up a hefty looking longest book?
Well, I am! As someone who loves to read books, I am still intimidated by the length of books. Yes, the ones with the look of an Oxford dictionary or the Thesaurus from the days before Google/ Kindle.
To me, ‘hardcover’ is another intimidating aspect of any book. I always pray for the paperback to hit the bookstores at the soonest. It is, as if, half of the length of the book has been cut short, made into a precis by the Author for the benefit of my kind.
What kind of a ‘Reader’ am I?
I am a lover of Classics. This one sentence has stayed true to my reading trajectory since the beginning of time! Rest, things have traversed from R.L.Stine to Tagore to an entire range of Spiritual and Self Help Books. And, then I turned back to my current state of reading, which is a combination of Classics and Contemporary Fiction.
I lost out on the time I was reading Self Help Books and some Non-Fiction. Sadly, this meant I have quite a number of books on my TBR which ideally should have been read a long-long time ago. Now from the TBR, it is easy to pick up books around 200-300 pages. They finish in a breeze, leaving behind a happy and contented reader in me. But, then the pile on the longest books keeps at status-quo. Last year, I was finally able to read Anna Karenina and I was glad I did. Earlier, I had felt Leo Tolstoy was really hard to read but Anna Karenina simply broke this notion. The book can be read with so much ease.
I have wanted to read ‘Ulysses’ ever since I finished ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ and ‘Dubliners’. But I am unable to muster the courage to reach out to this most recommended longest book by every book lover. The memes on Ulysses doesn’t seem to help. I remember the unending pages of ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ where James Joyce went on with the inner consciousness of the protagonist. Should experience of one book by an author offset the will to read another book by them? I wonder. I had loved ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens but couldn’t get past a few pages of ‘Bleak House’. So, I guess each book is different.
My Reading Fear Threshold
My threshold of fear begins at 800 pages mark; maybe stretch it to a 1000 pages. Do share yours, would love to know at what level fear hits you. It will be nice to know that I am not alone in shying away from the longest books. However, I have noticed that I get strength after crossing the half-way mark then I am sure of reaching the finish line.
I can credit my reading skills with ‘Don Quixote’ by Miguel De Cervantes for this year. Though, it took me a really long time to finish this book. The book is divided into two parts; the first part was smooth but then reading lethargy gripped by the time I reached the second part. So, I devised some ways to get around with these longest books.
My Way to get by the Longest Books
Break your Reading Targets
Set targets for yourself. Perhaps pages or chapters that you would like to finish in one reading session. You may think such mechanical deadlines may offset the joy of reading but nay, in a longest book, you need to sail till the end. And, remember the characters and the happenings. If you stretch it for too long, you may never be able to finish it.
Then, the itsy-bitsy tips
- Have a light-hearted small length book by your side. The reading pace of a YA can always swell up your reading pride.
- Read a children’s book. Yes, the fun and frolic of a children’s book will uplift your slump at slow reading. Roald Dahl can always sprinkle sunshine.
- Keep a collection of short stories handy. Short stories are great in the sense that you get your literary dose in a small package. My bad that once I turned to Dickens, this was a never-ending tale. In the end, I finished my lengthy book but left behind the effort to complete this short story by Dickens. Then, I turned to contemporary short stories. The stories like Pastoralia by George Saunders and Floating Bridge by Alice Munro were really a great company to longest books.
Hope you liked reading this post; I tried to keep it short. Let’s have all the time saved to read our pick from the Longest Books on the TBR!