Yesterday I went to pick up the book A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was looking forward to the cripplingly depressing book that I have heard so much about in the recent weeks. However, when I picked the book off the shelf I realized this is no average book. Logging in over 700 pages, A Little Life went from a book I was looking forward to reading over the weekend to a long term project I wasn’t sure I was ready to embark on.
This brings up an interesting question. Particularly for avid readers, why do long books deter us? If we know we are going to be reading almost every day anyway, why does it matter which book we are reading or how long it takes us to read it? The bottom line is long books are scary and nobody knows why!
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust is credited in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest novel ever written. The whopping 3,031 page text will scare away even the most dedicated bibliophile. Oddly enough the scariest things about this book is that it is critically acclaimed as being one of the greatest books ever written. High praise like this scares me, because whenever a book gets such high praise, there is a little voice that chimes up in the minds of readers which says, “Read this book!”
Now I know what some of you are thinking, 3,031 pages isn’t really that many pages. The entire Game of Thrones series actually comes out to about 4,300 pages, and a lot of readers have been able to read it right? Well, if you can tolerate that much reading, wait till you hear about this next book.
Cyrus the Great by Geroges de Scudéry/Madeleine de Scudéry
This whopping 17th century novel clocks in at 13,095 pages total. Let that sink in for a bit. The book is a sprawling romantic héroïque that addresses every painstaking detail imaginable. Fortunately the book is not considered a classic in any relevant way, so there is no inner voice calling us to accept the challenge. But still, seriously, 13,095 pages? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
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