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State-Of-Mind Those long reads...

Tolkiens take on disasters with a happy ending

FYI Waste not

Izuku

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If I read the first page of a 500+ page novel and love it, I'm immensely pleased with the size of the book. Seems I'm not the only one who loves a good, long read. Interesting musings on the state of reading today.

 

Hannah F

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If I read the first page of a 500+ page novel and love it, I'm immensely pleased with the size of the book. Seems I'm not the only one who loves a good, long read. Interesting musings on the state of reading today.

I disagree with him, and he did, in fact, contradict himself. The size of a Joyce or Proust book might well reduce the readership because they are not easy reads. But books that immerse the reader easily, that strike the entertainment chords that a reader is seeking - they sell well whatever the thickness: the later Harry Potters; the Wolk Hall trilogy; A Song of Ice and Fire etc.

It is worth noting that Rowling, as an unknown. didn't start her series with a thick book. But once anything she wrote Potter-wise was a sure thing, she went bigger and could have gone bigger still (just so long as it fit into a school satchel).

One also has to ask, what if Joyce or Proust had left out the "boring" bits most people skim? Would they have sold more books?

It's not quantity that matters, it's quality.
Debut authors would be wise (aka Rowling) to err on the shorter side of their accepted genre wordcount because the quality of their work is as yet unknown.
 

Izuku

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I disagree with him, and he did, in fact, contradict himself. The size of a Joyce or Proust book might well reduce the readership because they are not easy reads. But books that immerse the reader easily, that strike the entertainment chords that a reader is seeking - they sell well whatever the thickness: the later Harry Potters; the Wolk Hall trilogy; A Song of Ice and Fire etc.

It is worth noting that Rowling, as an unknown. didn't start her series with a thick book. But once anything she wrote Potter-wise was a sure thing, she went bigger and could have gone bigger still (just so long as it fit into a school satchel).

One also has to ask, what if Joyce or Proust had left out the "boring" bits most people skim? Would they have sold more books?

It's not quantity that matters, it's quality.
Debut authors would be wise (aka Rowling) to err on the shorter side of their accepted genre wordcount because the quality of their work is as yet unknown.

The writer is very close to entering the territory of reading superiority, a kind of sorting of readers by length of books they've read. Which, of course, is a load of bs.

But I do recognize the ever diminishing attention span of readers... that concerns me. It doesn't only apply to reading; so few can focus on any one thing for more than a few minutes at a time. Focus, though, can be learned. Not all is lost.
 

James Charles

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For unknowns or first timers such as many of us, agents and publishers cringe (in most cases outright reject) when we note our manuscript is 100k words. It's normally a deathknell.
 

Izuku

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For unknowns or first timers such as many of us, agents and publishers cringe (in most cases outright reject) when we note our manuscript is 100k words. It's normally a deathknell.
Oh definitely. I think the article is less about first time writers, or writers in general, and more about readers.
 

Izuku

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It's not quantity that matters, it's quality.
100% agree with this. If I had picked up anything larger than Absalom, Absalom! as my first Faulkner, I doubt I would have spent much time laboring though any of his other novels. Had to trust he was going to deliver in the end to wage war against grammar and exhausting sentences like his.
 

RK Capps

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One also has to ask, what if Joyce or Proust had left out the "boring" bits most people skim? Would they have sold more books?

Such a great question :)

Ha @Vagabond Heart I have never skimmed. I also NEVER peek at the ending, something my sisters have told me they do with every book. Sounds awful to me. Why would I do that to myself?

I'm the same: can't skip, can't peek. A book is like a long joke. Why spoil the punchline?

People these days have more on their plate than in days gone by. I don't think it's fair to compare us with the past; there are too many variables.

The writer is very close to entering the territory of reading superiority

They're almost judgemental, and when it comes to reading (hell, anything in life), we need to lose our judgement: people can read what they like, long or short. Being a short form reader doesn't make them lesser.
 

Serra K

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Am I the only one who never knew, until quite late in life, that people skimmed bits? It genuinely never occurred to me to do that. Still can't.
I shudder at the thought. How do you know if you've skimmed past the point? Do people do this with life too? Hmmm...
As a rule of thumb, if I can't be bothered to read what the author wrote, well then I'll just go read something else. Not much is more off-putting than pretending to have read something, much like switching off when a friend speaks, smiling and nodding like we heard them.
 

Hannah F

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I shudder at the thought. How do you know if you've skimmed past the point? Do people do this with life too? Hmmm...
As a rule of thumb, if I can't be bothered to read what the author wrote, well then I'll just go read something else. Not much is more off-putting than pretending to have read something, much like switching off when a friend speaks, smiling and nodding like we heard them.
I'd never skip to the end. I rarely skim. I'll plough through even if it's boring just in case I miss something. My only exception is gore, e.g. in battles. I'll skim very quickly until the story moves on. (I skimmed a huge amount of the G.O.T. Dothraki chapters - just couldn't stomach them.)
 

James Charles

"The hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd."
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I'd never skip to the end. I rarely skim. I'll plough through even if it's boring just in case I miss something. My only exception is gore, e.g. in battles. I'll skim very quickly until the story moves on. (I skimmed a huge amount of the G.O.T. Dothraki chapters - just couldn't stomach them.)
Oh but the dragons! :D
 

Vagabond Heart

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Do people do this with life too? Hmmm...
To be fair, yes. Because how else do you get through a three-hour car journey with a five yr-old who wants to relate, in detail, every episode of The Simpsons they have ever seen?
Plus, you know you have to save your energy for the minute when they switch and start grilling you on every. Single. Pokémon. And their transformations.
 

Tolkiens take on disasters with a happy ending

FYI Waste not

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