Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some Books are Just Too Long

What makes a compelling read for you? If you like a book, do you then read all other titles by that author?

I am currently reading Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves and feeling like it is a chore. Don't get me wrong. I want to know what is going to happen and I want to finish reading it, but I think this is exactly the size and weight of what is referred to as a 'tome'. Her first novel, The Historian, was also quite long but I found it fascinating especially the descriptions of the foreign locations that the author seems to know well.

This caused me to reflect on my response to certain books and authors I have been reading of late. I couldn't put Mary Kay Andrews chic-lit Summer Rental down. In contrast Eric Larson's In the Garden of Beasts is just as compelling as his Devil in the White City. Both are non-fiction. With so many titles waiting for me, perhaps I need to learn to stop reading when I realize a book isn't going to transport me.

1 comment:

  1. What I do if I like a book is:
    1) check Fantastic Fiction for other titles by that author, and
    2) read the author's other books in the order they were published until the books no longer delight me.

    I did not like The Historian as much as my local independent bookseller thought I would. I understood why others would like it, but a professor of Eastern European history had assigned the original Vlad the Impaler tale in the mid-90s so The Historian was simply too repetitive and long for my patience.

    Fiction is easier for me than non-fiction because, unless the non-fiction is well-written and competently edited, I waste a lot of time revising the work in my head. Non-fiction frustrates me when the author is unable to restrict himself to the facts.