Bookish ramblings & giveaway results

The start of term has been so busy at school for me, and my daughter, my blogging has suffered slightly! I have been reading, just not had time to write the reviews – I have rather a pile building up. The 12th issue of Shiny New Books will be published in a fortnight too, so I’m still busy but will try to get more of my review pile dealt with!

stef-penneyAt the moment though I’m reading a 600 page chunkster of a book – Stef Penney’s latest, out in early November. Although I am enjoying it a lot it’s quite a challenge, apart from its length.

I’ve recently read several books set in icy climes and I can’t help compare it to the others – is this too much of a good thing theme-wise?

I look at the pile of books by my bedside I want to read next and am slightly resentful that this book is keeping me from them! Do any of you feel the same about fat books? The ideal length of a novel for me is sub-300 pages, and no more than 350. Although there will always be many exceptions to that rule, I am less inclined to pick up a fat book in a bookshop on spec, knowing it will take me so much longer to read, when I could read two, three or four other books in the same time.

My copies of Wolf Hall and the first Game of Thrones book sit on the shelf still, (I gave away my copy of The Luminaries). It’s not that I can’t enjoy a fat book while I’m reading it (viz The Goldfinch, but they do intimidate one from getting started by their physical presence.

Heft is another matter – this book I’m reading is so heavy, and although it’s a proof copy in trade paperback size, I still can’t bring myself to crack its spine, so I sit holding it awkwardly and it makes my wrists ache!

jerusalemOne solution to all of these problems could be to publish fat books – which are inevitably sub-divided into other ‘books’ internally, in slipcased volumes. I know this is costly, but I’m looking forward to taking the shrinkwrap off my new Alan Moore set – his new novel Jerusalem has been initially published in a three volume set, in addition to one volume hardback.

The multi-volume approach has other advantages. By making it feel as if you’re reading three books instead of one, you can have a break between parts and read something else. I do find it difficult to have more than a couple of books on the go – preferring to immerse myself totally in one at a time.

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pool-eight-ball-backgroundsy-com-qux5gt-clipartAnd finally, the results of my blog 8th birthday giveaway. Thank you to everyone who commented. My daughter drew some names and the winners are:




Congrats, and I’ll be in touch to get your mailing addresses.

11 thoughts on “Bookish ramblings & giveaway results

  1. Jennifer Dee says:

    I would love to win the giveaway of Steff Penney. I’m not sure if I have ever read any books from this author: if I have it was many years ago.

  2. Sylvie says:

    I think that fat books are very frustrating, but for more than just sheer size. It is often simply not warranted given the subject, story, or writing. The most basic book these days often runs well over 400 pages. In much the same way as I’ve done with too-long movies, I’ve pretty much instituted a ban on books >500 pages unless it’s something I really, really want to read.

  3. Rebecca Foster says:

    I’d almost always rather be reading several 200- or 300-page books at a time than one doorstopper. It’s such a huge commitment that it has to be worth it. The Goldfinch is a good example. I also gave my proof copy of The Luminaries away to a friend who I hoped would enjoy it more than I did.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      There are books that are worth it, but too often they’re too sprawling. I did sort of enjoy A Little Life – but it was far too long. The Goldfinch was worth it, but even it had its boring moments – and her descriptions of everything did leave very little to the imagination.

  4. helen says:

    I am midway through a fat book, but it’s non-fictioni (The Brontes) so I can put it down for ahem weeks at a time and read other things alongside it. I know your fat book blues! But I can feel that resentment with almost any book, because the world is so very full of books I want to be reading and I want to be reading them all now! Even if I’m enjoying a book, I’m often wanting to be on to the next one. Not a great quality to have.

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