Discussions

I like big books and I cannot lie ☕️ // an ode to thick novels {chatty corner}

Hi, gang! Today I’m back with another discussion post (aka another chatty corner!) and I want to tell you about something I love: big, long books. Lately, I feel like I’ve been gravitating more towards these kinds of books. I also think I end up being a lot more satisfied reading them rather than shorter novels? So I wanted to give you a list of reasons why big books are a gift we really don’t deserve.

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Welcome to our chatty corner! In this series of posts, I invite you to grab a cup of tea or coffee, a blanket, and to figuratively join me on my couch to talk about books! I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty darn good… But enough beating around the bush — let’s start defending big books with every fiber of our bookwormy selves get on with it!

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There’s so much to love about long books that it’s even hard to know where to start. So for the sake of simplicity, let’s break it all down into bullet points…

 

☕️ big books build characters and worlds really well

This is kind of obvious: big books have more time to develop characters, setting, and relationships. Instead of sticking with a character for just 300 pages, we get to see their life unfold for 600+ pages. I love well-fleshed-out characters, so it’s a no-brainer that I love spending a lot of time with my favorite characters. Who doesn’t love connecting with characters???

Plus, when it comes to fantasy novels, I will always prefer a 600+ page book over one that’s only 300 pages long. World-building is crucial for me when I’m reading fantasy, and long books always usually nail this perfectly. From giving you a realistic tour of cities to teaching you about the magic system or ruling system, big fantasy books are my weak spot.

 

☕️ they make for a great reading experience!

My favorite thing about diving into a book is being completely engrossed in the story. And luckily, the longer the book, the more time I get to spend inside the actual story! If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a huge mood reader and I get reading hangovers. Switching from one story to the other just throws me off completely. So, spending a long time in the same universe is one of the most satisfying things for me.

 

☕️ big books force me to focus

Yes! It may sound counterintuitive, but long books make me focus and pay extra attention to the book I’m reading. I find that the more 600+ page books I read, the faster I end up reading other books and the less distracted I get. Does this happen to you too?

 

☕️ they make reading less competitive

I’m sure I can’t be the only one who sometimes picks books just because they will be fast to read. At the end of the day, us bloggers want our monthly wrap-ups to have lots of books in them, and all bookworms want to beat their Goodreads challenge, right? I can’t be the only one thinking like this!!!

I’m very much guilty of sometimes doing this. But at the end of the day, should reading be competitive? Last year, a lot of the 2-star and 3-star books I read were ones I picked just because they were short. And that makes me so sad! Why would I deliberately pass up on an interesting story just because it would take me longer to read?

So when I do pick up a long book, it’s a great reminder that reading is all about passion and diving into another world — not about numbers! And I think this is such an important thing to be reminded of, at least for me, personally.

 

☕️ not gonna lie, they look good on my shelves…

Okay, I know this isn’t a rational argument at all, but hear me out! I’m as shallow as the next reader, and I’m not ashamed of it at all. Especially not when it comes to having thick books on my shelves or saying “oh that 700-page novel? Yeah, I’ve read it.” In a world with so many shitty things, I get my happiness from these small, little things, okay???

I will say, though, that long novels are not fun to carry around at a l l!

 

☕️ more often than not, they’re not anti-climatic

Have you ever picked up a short book (200-ish pages) and felt yourself itching for the author to just bring you into the story? Sometimes, I’ll be reading a shorter novel and think to myself “ah, just ten more pages and the author will surely make me feel for the characters, right?” and then… nothing. It makes me want to throw my book out the window!

What I’m trying to say is that shorter books are sometimes very anti-climatic. You’re waiting for the plot to get really interesting and for the characters to appeal to you, and then you’re just left hanging. Think of it as a bad case of blue-pages. Not fun.

On the other hand, longer books are less likely to be anti-climatic. Because the author has more time to distill the story, they also have a greater chance of getting you to care for the characters. Or if all the characters are detestable, to at least feel like you’re in the world you’re reading about. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, but it’s something I’ve come across during my readings.

 

☕️ all in all, they’re a long (and fun!) journey!

When it comes down to it, I’ll reach for a long book if I want an engrossing, complex novel. I know that they won’t let me down (or at least, this has never happened to me before). I’m almost surely going to find well-developed characters, a plot full of twists and turns, and great world-building. Thank you big books for taking me on a journey with you!

 

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It’s clearly no secret that I prefer long books to short ones. But at the same time, they’re all books and I love all books! And I’d be lying if I said I don’t see pluses to short books and some faults with longer ones…

  • First of all, big books are a pain (literally) to carry around. If I’m commuting to school, I know I won’t want to carry a tome of a book with me. My back already hurts enough from my backpack!
  • Also, short books are a great way to explore a new genre. If you’re not sure whether you’re a fan of crime novels or not, what better way to get your toes in the water than by picking up a skinny book?
  • If the writer isn’t good (and the editor wasn’t either), long books can be extremely boring. Fortunately, I haven’t come across many novels like this, but I’m sure there are huuuuge novels out there that are no fun to read at all.
  • Short novels work great for some genres. 750-page-long fantasy novels read a lot better than 300-page ones. But at the same time, 750-page-long memoirs don’t sound as fun (or even contemporary romances!) as a 300-page-long one would…

 

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Have I convinced you to pick up a long novel? Great! Here are some of my favorite long novels… Some are longer than others, but I think that they can all be considered fairly long.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follet (The Century trilogy, book one) — 985 pages
Winter of the World by Ken Follet (The Century trilogy, book two) — 940 pages
⇒ Edge of Eternity by Ken Follet (The Century trilogy, book three) — 1094 pages
 Final Empire  by Brandon Sanderson — 647 pages
 Life After Life by Kate Atkinson — 531 pages
⇒ The Maias by Eça de Queiroz — 624 pages
⇒ Pachinko by Min Jin Lee — 525 pages
⇒ The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang — 544 pages

 

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I noticed that I started to think more about (and gravitating more towards) big books when I downloaded Jen @ Pop! Goes the Reader‘s “I like big books and I cannot lie” wallpaper design. It’s so gorgeous!!! (Jen is one of the most talented and sweet book bloggers I know — definitely pay her blog a visit!)

Another great post I’ve read about big vs. small books was written by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. She brings up a lot of great points about when a short read and a longer read are both useful (and fun!)

Lastly, I also saw that A Reader to Whatever End wrote a post about the longest books on her TBR. And (without any surprise) I realized that I’d either loved a lot of them, or I’m itching to read the rest!!!

 

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And that is it for this week’s chatty corner! What long books do you love that you’d recommend to me? I’m super excited to see if you love big books (and you cannot lie) just as much as I do! 🌼

53 thoughts on “I like big books and I cannot lie ☕️ // an ode to thick novels {chatty corner}

  1. I love a good big book! I just seem to get so much more immersed in the world and invested in the characters. Some of my favourites in recent years have been The Little Stranger, Anna Karenina, and Gone with the Wind. Also the book I’m currently reading – Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates – is also really worth checking out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Because of their length, big books really force me to slow down and take in the story, which is an even more rewarding experience when the book has lush worldbuilding or tackles complex issues or plotlines. I particularly enjoyed City of Brass and A Conjuring of Light!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand! If you feel in the mood for action and historical fiction, try picking one up that isn’t as big. And work your way through it! Do you read multiple books at a time? I do, and it really helps with big books…

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  3. I like to save a big book for summer #onesummerchunkster and it’ll be just as you describe. My recent favourite was The Complete Claudine at 656 pages, it actually combines four books, four stages of the life of Claudine and leaves you completely fascinated too by the life of its extraordinary author Colette.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh and I hadn’t even realised there’s a new film out all about it! About Colette, the writer and her Claudine books!! It seems so strange to see the trailer with an English actress, Colette is so French, but still if it introduces her books and character to more readers, I’m all for that!

        I was so enamoured of her that I wrote a whole post just on the introduction to the book, which I’ll link below, do have a read and I really hope you read the Claudine collection in one big chunkster of a book, as I did. Now I better go check out the movie, it’s actually on at my local incredibly!

        Colette – an Introduction

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this PARTICULARLY because of the point about making reading less competitive. You’re absolutely right. You simply cannot race through a large book and so you find yourself truly immersing in the writing rather than focusing on how far you got!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree with all your thoughts! I loove big books as well. Some of my favs are The Goldfinch, and of course, Pachinko 😉 Stephen King’s books are also quite lengthy but I always enjoy it so so much.

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  6. This post is wonderful, I love seeing a fellow big book lover and defender ❤️ One of my favorite thing about big books is getting to spend so much time with the characters, both in terms of pages and days spent reading it. Being immersed in a story for weeks is such a luxury, especially since I’m a pretty fast reader. I’ve not read The Century Trilogy yet, but I read Pillars of the Earth last month and adored it so I look forward to trying more of Ken Follett’s books! One of my favorite big books (and the longest one I’ve read) is A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, it’s a family saga that follows four families in India in 1950s.

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  7. This is such an interesting post and I loved reading your point of view on that topic! I agree with you that, with big books, you get a chance to have a stronger world-building somehow and you get immersed for so long into the same world, I love that about it so much as well. Sometimes with shorter books, we feel like we didn’t get enough time in this world or with these characters and it can be frustrating!
    Yet, somehow I tend to prefer shorter books, because… I think I’m a little afraid of commitment somehow? I’m scared not to enjoy a book that’s big and to pick it up and somehow that it will feel long to read and, I don’t know haha I’m just often feeling that little nervousness before starting a long book. Yet when I do it’s worth it, I just need to be sure of myself haha 🙂
    Oh and that thing you said about numbers and having more books in your monthly wrap-up?! I FEEL that on a deep level somehow, but you’re so right, we need to remember that reading is’t all about numbers, it’s about getting immersed into worlds we love, no matter how long or little the book is 🙂
    I love this post so, so much! ❤ And wow, sorry for rambling on for so long!
    Thank you for sharing and thank you so much for sharing my post, I'm so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment!!! If I were to look at the books I read every year, I’d say that I read shorter books most of the time too… I wish I didn’t, though, because the big books just bring me so much joy! I loved reading your post and it really inspired me to write this one, so thank YOU! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great post, Rita! I will admit that I tend to de-prioritize the big books on my TBR because they kind of scare me. I definitely agree that the worldbuilding and character development tends to be a lot better in 500+ books, though! Your post definitely has me thinking more about quality over quantity though, and while I don’t get super competitive with my total books read each year, there is something to be said here and I’m inspired to maybe pick up a couple of those tomes I own that I have been avoiding.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Big books are great,especially in the fantasy genre they really get you invested in the world and the story as long as they’re well written. But sometimes they are just intimidating because of their length! Now that I read mostly on my commute to work, I think having ebooks for lengthier tomes is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ebooks are so great. I’ve gotten so used to reading on my Kindle that now it feels so weird to hold a paperback?? Especially on my hour-long commute, as I have to change stations and lines three times, it becomes a hassle having to haul a paperback around!

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