Saturday, 11 February 2017

Reading Long Books

I read Bleak House by Charles Dickens this semester for a class. Just let me reinforce that: by about 4 weeks into the semester, I had finished the absolute TOME that is Bleak House. All 900 + pages of it. And if you asked any of my friends, they would tell you how frustrated I was by it, and how by the end of it, I was done with having Charles Dickens control my life. The reading requirements for that book dictated when I could and couldn't go out, when I went to sleep, when I woke up, when I got other work done. Essentially Dickens and I are in a relationship right now, and it's complicated.

But it got me thinking of the relationship we have with long books. Bleak House is a multiplot novel, so not every section is ultimately fulfilling, and that took some getting used to. In an age where we really are obsessed with and seek out instant gratification, this book, and most long books like it, make you wait. They test your patients and your stamina -- they want to see if you can make it to the end. 

But when then, if we are all so fascinated with reading as many books as we can, building up our Goodreads shelves, and hitting that yearly challenge, do we spend time reading these tomes?  Is there something inherently challenging in these books? Or do we just do it for the bragging rights that, "Yeah, I read (Insert title of very long book here). Oh it was nothing!" I personally am scared of these very long books, and I think Bleak House has helped me past the fear. I was always scared that I wouldn't get it, or I wouldn't have the commitment to actually finish it. But I did, and while I won't be reading any more until the summer, I've put together a list of books i'm not afraid to read now:

This book terrfies me, because i'm not the biggest consumer of fantasy, but also look at how long it is!! And there are still two more!! But the amount of things i've heard about this, and the amount of close friends that have read and loved it make me want to pick it up. So who knows what this summer will bring.

I have seen the film, and i've read Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea and loved it, but I have just shied away from this one. It's honestly not that big in comparison (only about 500 pages, give or take editions), and I know that once I read it it will be a new favourite.

I have seen this one floating about and my best friend is currently in the midst of reading it, and loving it. It sounds a bit witchy and i'm so intrigued by it, so I know that it's now on my to read list.

And here it is. The Brick. I have wanted to read this for so long, and I was too intimidated by the length and the sheer amount of story there is. I love the musical and I know that it's very different, but I still love these characters, and if I get to any of these soon, it'll most definitely be this one.

What are your thoughts on reading long books? Brag a little, and let me know the longest book you've read in the comments! Thank you if you've read until the end, and happy reading!