‘ve mentioned that I’m reading a true monster of a book. The story itself is 981 pages. This is dense, small type. The notes in the back are another 100 pages (even more dense and small). But that’s not the long of it.
The writer in this case (I don’t want to spoil it a few weeks from now when I review it) loves to describe everything. Every thought that every character has, every description that can be made, he writes it. Sometimes the writing doesn’t even seem to serve a purpose – like when two brothers chat on the phone for ten pages and roll around and around the same issue. The footnotes, too, are lengthy – one or two “footnotes” are a dozen pages long (which defeats the point of a footnote, right?).
I’m going to finish this mother if it’s the last thing I do.
But it makes me think of Reamde, which also could be used to block a car tire.
In my humble opinion (and both this and Reamde will be far more famous than anything I’ve written), there is a point when a book can get too long. Most readers are busy people (I am). We want a story that moves with purpose. We want descriptions that are brief and insightful. We want to get through it with a reasonable effort so we can move onto the next.
It goes back to that “marginal utility” stuff I learned in college; the more of something you have, the less you will value each additional unit. And yes, I’ve read a lot of this so far (page 621). But I’m grinding down. Now it’s an Old Man and the Sea struggle*. Now I’m just fighting this book to win.
Writers, take note. Please. I don’t have this much time for every book you write. Less is more, as they say. Much more!
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* And that was a short, sharp book. Man and fish. Done.