Revisiting: I Love Big Books

Confession: I haven’t finished Lonesome Dove (yet).

So instead of posting my Part 3 Recap and my formal and final book review this week, I’m going to talk a little about big books and why I haven’t finished Lonesome Dove.

When I really consider it, I think the primary reason that (Lonesome Dove was driving me crazy and) I haven’t finished it, is that books are a social outlet for me. Which means a few things that I want to get out in to the open here:

1. I feel the need to read a lot of books

Between this blog and the people in my life who know I enjoy reading and recommending books, I feel the need to be turning over books much more quickly than one per month. Not all of the books I read are books I’d recommend, and I get asked for a lot of recommendations, so having read only one book in the last month, I found myself feeling upset that I didn’t have much to offer by way of book recommendations. This is 100% a self imposed pressure, but being able to recommend good books to friends is one of the things I enjoy most about my hobby, so I want to make sure I can do that.

2. I feel disconnected when I’m reading one book for a long time.

I definiteyl struggled to feel like I could or should post to my instagram or my blog this month– or in real life, have good conversations with my book friends! It really started to wear on me and make me feel disconnected from this community.

So to touch back on my original post, when I professed my love for big books for the very first time: A few characteristics that stood out in the books I was discussing at that time were readability, action, the feeling that pages were flying past, and the quality of the book (, which, tying it back, made it recommendable and therefore extra worthwhile.) My general feeling when I wrote that post was that the quality of the book was often increased in a long book because the character development and plot had more time to develop. I’m beginning to think that long books that are good for me when a story and a set of characters needs the length, but long books for the sake of being long may not be for me.

While I enjoyed Lonesome Dove (the 90% of it that I’ve finished so far), I wouldn’t say that I recommend it. It’s length came from the fact that it never found a central story line, but rather followed each character to wherever they may go, leading it to tell about five stories in one. While it was well written, it didn’t feel concise or efficient, which is (apparently) they way I need books over 800 pages to go.

So to summarize 🙂 , I’m not giving up on long books and I’m going to continue to not be fearful of long books, but if a book is going to take a month, I need to space it out. I need the feeling of turnover in my reading life, and those long books aren’t going anywhere. I’ll continue to read them over time, as I can.

Do you have thoughts on this topic? Let me know!

One thought on “Revisiting: I Love Big Books

  1. What a great post. I think it depends on what you want from a book that can determine how you feel. As someone who enjoys chewing over longer books I agree there has to be something driving my desire to stay vested in the overall story, character or even plot or both. But then sometimes other no so important or relevant topics take up too much time (pages). I can compare 2 books by one author by way of example, George Eliot, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Last year I read and enjoyed very much everything about Middlemarch, a few people I read it with mentioned they got a little bogged down with the talk of the townspeople and some of the political discussions included in the book. My perspective is that this was necessary giving the book a more authentic feel, you get a sense of the environment the characters live in. I loved the book and can see myself reading it again easily. Daniel Deronda, while I enjoyed it, there were some times when the religious background of one character weighed the story down for me but I do understand why Eliot choose to include it, especially since prejudices existed toward that particular group of people. I think she could have still had done a good job depicting this but cut it down a bit.

    I do understand reading and finishing more than one book but as you mentioned this is fun and creative outlet so sometimes it might be worth taking a break from a long read for a change of pace. Do you listen to audiobooks at all, I found that helpful with longer books in general, changing things up a bit.


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