Cafe Chat: The Dilemma of Long Books

Posted April 29, 2016 by Wendy in Cafe Chat / 19 Comments


You know what’s interesting? I never had an issue before with long books before. I picked up a book and I read it. If it was really long, that just meant I’d read it in two days instead of one. (Oh, those glorious YA days when I could actually do nothing except read all day.) Long story short, the length of a book never deterred me from picking it up or reading it. But now?

I look at the book. It looks fat. Flip to the end and– holy crap, 1000 pages?? I could read TWO (maybe even three!) books in the time it’d take me to read this one. And when will I have the time??

It’s not that I don’t WANT to read these huge tomes. It’s just that typically, I don’t get to read much during the week days. (If we could all just quit our jobs and read, wouldn’t that be amazing?! Ha) So it’s not that I’m a slow reader, I’ve always been a fast reader, but if I don’t have time to read, it’ll probably take me a week to get through anything. So I know if I start a LONG book, I’m dedicating possibly multiple weeks to it. And THAT is daunting, especially when we all have humongous TBR piles and ARCs and that huge bottomless pit of ebooks side eyeing you when you pick up that big book. I’m not the only one that feels this way, right??

So do I never read a long book again? That’d be absurd. So here is how I’ve finally gotten around my dilemma.

Audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks when I drive and it’s awesome, especially because I do have a bit of a commute to and from work. (I never thought I’d be an audiobook convert but I became one last year!) For some reason when I listen to audio, the amount of time I take to get through it doesn’t bother me as much. I think it’s because I get rarer instances of a chunk of time to sit down and read whereas I can listen to audio on the go/anytime. That is actually how I am currently taking on A Feast for Crows — it’s a whopping 34 hours long on audio but I’m chugging through it! I honestly don’t think I would’ve picked it up to read otherwise.

Another way I will finally tackle a long book is buddy reads! I read Drums of Autumn as a buddy read with Tammy in March and I KNOW I would never have read it otherwise. Not only is the book super long but I felt like it had such a slow start that I am positive if it weren’t for the fact that I was reading WITH someone, I would’ve stopped and never tried again. I am also currently buddy reading Hero of Ages with Rebecca (my buddy reads with Rebecca are a whole other epic story aka whole other post) and the fact that we ARE buddy reading it is how I’m finally getting to it! (I read Mistborn and Well of Ascension last fall but other books distracted me from HoA and if it weren’t for the fact that we get to read it together and talk about it, it probably would’ve sat on my TBR for who knows how long.)

I think these are the two main tactics I use to get to those long books — and I guess I should’ve clarified earlier but by long I mean closer to the 1000 pg side of things.

So talk to me. Do you have a hard time picking up those long books? Does it make you think in the back of mind, hmm, I could be reading MORE if I didn’t read this. How do you get around that and tackle those bigger books? Tell me your secrets!



19 responses to “Cafe Chat: The Dilemma of Long Books

  1. Buddy reading long books is definitely helpful. I mean, it took me a month to get through Mistborn. And like you said, not because I’m a slow reader, I’m actually extremely fast, I just don’t have the time I used to. And even though you didn’t actually read the first two with me, it still felt like a buddy read to me so thanks!!! Feast for Crows… enjoy… don’t fall asleep while driving. Lol

    • And it’s so much more fun when buddy reading! I will try not to fall asleep while listening to Feast for Crows… haha.

  2. I happen to love long books, you really get the chance to immerse yourself fully in a story and world…BUT, if I’m behind on my reading schedule, I will hesitate to pick up a bigger book because of the time it’ll take to read it. Being a blogger has changed that aspect because you can’t wait weeks to have a review up because you’re reading a 1200+ page book. Audio books are a life saver like that because now I’m always reading at least 2 books: an audio and a physical book. If the audio is a long read, I grab a shorter book to read at the same time and vice versa!

  3. Yeah, long books give me hives. I am so hesitant to read books over 400 and I kind of groan when I see one i’ve wanted to read that is!

  4. Audiobooks is a good way to get around it! I can’t do them myself though, I would drift off in my head. I do ebooks instead because I can’t actually see how physically large the book is, so I don’t get intimidated by the size :p

    • That’s so funny because I’m the opposite with ebooks — if I can’t see how far I am I feel like I keep reading and I’m never going to finish! Haha.

  5. I am SO intimidated by long books. It’s rare that I even pick them up anymore. First, it’s a HUGE commitment. My reading time is precious. I treat it as such. If I dive into a book that long, I start to get a little twitchy. What if spend days reading it and don’t like it? That’s so much wasted time. Which brings me to my second problem with long books, and it’s one you addressed – I can read, like, 3 shorter books in that amount of time. There have been a couple I thought I’d read on audio, but then I’ve looked at how many hours long they are and I think that’s even worse. A 23 hour book will take A LOT of days when I only get to listen to audiobooks for an hour (if that) during the day. I just can’t do it.

    Great topic!

    • I totally get you! I have al those same thoughts that run thru my head! I do want to make the effort to get to some long books that I’ve put off though because some are so good! But I definitely get nervous.

  6. I have the same problem, however, I am a slow reader. So books more than four hundred pages take me a while to get through. Not only that, but over that span, I tend to forget character names or key plot points from the beginning. I have the same solution as you though – I listen to audio books of the books I want to read that are 400 + pages. I listen on my morning run, during lunch, while home and while I’m home I can knit while listening. It’s a great deal for me. I have audible, where I get a free credit each month. I wish there were a site like netflix -one monthly payment and unlimited audiobooks.

    Great talk, Wendy!

  7. I always think about how I could read a TON of other books instead of spending a long time reading a thick one. Then again, if it’s a book I’ve been dying to read, it’s not like I have any other choice. xD I do tend to just save long books for later if I’m not that eager to read it (though worst case scenario here is I’ll forget to actually READ the book and just leave it on my shelf for months and years lol).

    I tried listening to audiobooks before, but I just don’t think it isn’t for me. I tend to space out every time so I’d have to rewind a few parts a lot (I have a very short attention span xD). Great post!

    • Yes, I totally find myself putting off long books sometimes! Too bad audiobooks don’t work for you because I just love them! (but even I soemtimes will space out so I get it! haha)

  8. Tammy

    Besides buddy reading (which I loved doing with you 😉) I sometimes break my long reads up by sticking to 50 pages a day, very do-able and then it doesn’t overwhelm me.

    • That definitely helped when we did it that way with drums of autumn! I didn’t get freaked out that there were SO many pages!

  9. I have such a long list of long books to read. Since I’ve been doing book reviews every other week for the paper I work at I don’t choose too long of books but since I’m transitioning to freelancing and then finding a real job I’m hoping I’ll have some time to tackle those. I normally wait for a break in classes but that’s not going to be a thing soon. This also happens with classics though, because they take so long for me to get used to the writing style and then the plot and everything on top of that. It’s so much easier to pick up a 200 page YA novel.

  10. I almost always read on my kindle so I don’t think I notice long books as much because of it — I mean, I can tell by the little line under them when a book is longer than others but it doesn’t put me off if it’s something I want to read. If I feel rushed with a lot of ARCs, I do read the shorter ones first. I think the tips you mentioned help — I’m not hugely into audiobooks but when they’re good, they’re good. Great post!!