How long is TOO long for a book/story?

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How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby raptornx01 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:48 pm

Or is there such a thing?

for context, a bunch of us on another forum were discussing a very popular, and highly praised, story in the community and several stated as their reasons for passing on it simply was it's length. That being over 2000 pages long (and its sequel being almost double that). Others commented that people in recent generations just don't seem to have the attention span they used to, and that wasn't really a valid reason for turning their backs on it (if that was the only reason).

So it got me wondering, as most here are avid readers, how long would a story need to be for you to consider it to be too long to consider tackling? and I don't mean a series, but one single story. or can a book be too long? If TP came out with some multi-thousand page master discworld tome would you hesitate?
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby pip » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:49 pm

I've read a fair amount of 1000 + page books so don't mind it too much. Its only when its actually long winded that its a pain. Some poorer writeres can go on a bit but some masterpieces are long for good reason :D
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Catch-up » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:52 pm

I agree with Pip, depends on the content and how well written it is. Maybe people are passing because they're not interested and are trying to be polite by saying it's the length?
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby raisindot » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:58 pm

I think that all depends on the book itself. If the story is gripping from page 1, the plot keeps at a good pace, dialogue and characters are well defined, and you're engaged all the way through, then the only thing that might be difficult about a 1,000+ page book is the sheer size and heaviness of having to hold it. Obviously, if it's on Kindle this isn't an issue at all.

The last near 1,000 page fiction book I read was the third George R R Martin "Kingdoms of Fire and Ice" book. That one, for me, was the best of the series and just flew by because the story was so gripping. The next book, which was less than half as long, was a total plodding bore that SEEMED like a thousand pages.
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:00 pm

I used to read James Clavell and some of his books can be huge! I think a lot of it depends on how much time you spend reading each day. Long bus trips are great for that. A very long book by an author you haven't read before can be somewhat daunting and a commitment that some people might not be prepared to make.

As others have said - it comes down to content. If the book is a page-turner, it won't matter so much that it's a long book. I found, for example, the later Harry Potter books to be very quick reads, despite their size.
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby pip » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:12 pm

raisindot wrote:I think that all depends on the book itself. If the story is gripping from page 1, the plot keeps at a good pace, dialogue and characters are well defined, and you're engaged all the way through, then the only thing that might be difficult about a 1,000+ page book is the sheer size and heaviness of having to hold it. Obviously, if it's on Kindle this isn't an issue at all.

The last near 1,000 page fiction book I read was the third George R R Martin "Kingdoms of Fire and Ice" book. That one, for me, was the best of the series and just flew by because the story was so gripping. The next book, which was less than half as long, was a total plodding bore that SEEMED like a thousand pages.

Agree with this. A Storm of Swords was great and kept me gripped from start to end.
Pillars of the Earth and World Without End are long uns and are two of the best books i've read .
Ullyses is around the 1000 page mark and is a pile of crap
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:58 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I think a lot of it depends on how much time you spend reading each day. Long bus trips are great for that. A very long book by an author you haven't read before can be somewhat daunting and a commitment that some people might not be prepared to make.

As others have said - it comes down to content. If the book is a page-turner, it won't matter so much that it's a long book.

Would agree with that wholeheartedly. With bus and train my average daily commute (there and back again) was around the 3 hour mark so the 25 years I did that I got through a LOT of books and for most of that time Discworld ones were probably amongst the shortest ones I'd have consider picking up from choice. I did do a lot of pulp blockbusters too (Maeve Binchy & Jilly Cooper mainly, but they're both always good fun) and rarely had one I found boring with the exception of The Cosmic Trilogy (in one paperback volume) by CS Lewis, which had its great moments, but I'm afraid I was long past hero-worshipping him (was my fave author before I graduated to Tolkien at 10) so I should have known better really. :P

Long usually equals quality with good literature in my experience, but I know what I like so I rarely get beyond a pre-buy/loan flick if I pick them up in the 1st place unless it's something I feel will be 'good' for me (which was the case with Cosmic :? )
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby wicked woman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:14 pm

Don't think the length matters, I can gallop through a book if I'm into it. Can read 200 pages in a day. If no-one bugs me to do any work...
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Dotsie » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:24 pm

If I'm bored in the first 10 pages, I'll put it down, no matter how long it is. And they're all the same size on my kobo anyway.
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby raisindot » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:36 pm

pip wrote:Ullyses is around the 1000 page mark and is a pile of crap


Wow...never thought I'd see an Irishman publicly slam his nation's most famous literary son...that's almost like a Brit calling "Hamlet" a soap opera written by a first year drama student. :D
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Bouncy Castle » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:45 pm

wicked woman wrote:Don't think the length matters, I can gallop through a book if I'm into it. Can read 200 pages in a day. If no-one bugs me to do any work...



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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby The Mad Collector » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:57 pm

Back to Fifty Shades of Grey, eh Bouncy :D
One of those? Oh I'm sure I have one somewhere..

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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Broccolee » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:23 pm

And do you think about length when you read that one?
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby raisindot » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:03 pm

Broccolee wrote:And do you think about length when you read that one?


Ultimately, length is far less important than how you bend the pages. :D
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Re: How long is TOO long for a book/story?

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:31 pm

Never mind the length feel the width. :mrgreen:

As has been previously said if its a page turner does not matter how long it is, when it's good it's never long enough. :mrgreen:
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