At a glance, this may seem like a pretty stupid question: Why do some books take so long to read? Well, some books are longer than others Laura, I hear you say. Some have more pages and more words and it means they take longer to read.
But is it just me who finds that the length of a book doesn’t always determine how long it’s going to take me to read it? There are some ridiculously long books I’ve breezed through in days (Words of Radiance at a whopping 1088 pages took me all of a few days), whilst some shorter books (We Were Liars anyone?) seem to have taken me forever to read.
There’s a few main reasons I’ve managed to pinpoint for this:
- Dull bits
If I hit a dull bit in a book, my progress with it is pretty much doomed. A ‘dull bit’ for me doesn’t even necessarily mean a slow section where not much is happening – in my opinion books need that ebb and flow of action and then slower interludes. It’s basically any section that revolves around a character, or characters that I dislike or aren’t really interested in (and that’s the danger of multiple narrative books for me – there’s always one perspective I like much better than the others!), or is just plain unnecessary (I feel that it doesn’t further the plot or develop the characters).
The problem is that if I get bored and put the book down, I’ll almost certainly find myself procrastinating over picking it up again, because I know I’ll be starting off at a dull bit. On the other hand, if I’m loving my current read I’ll be reading it at any given opportunity, so it doesn’t matter how long it is, I’ll be making tonnes of progress.
Sometimes it isn’t necessarily the book’s fault…or it is, but only because I’m reading the right book at the wrong time. This happened to me recently with This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab, and this was actually what inspired me to write this post.
In theory, I should have loved the book: it had monsters, a gritty dystopian setting, interesting characters and lots of action, which are all things I love. Yet it just seemed to take me so long to read, and I found myself not really feeling motivated to pick it up and read it, and I personally just think it wasn’t the thing I really felt like reading at the time.
- The writing style
Some books are just harder going than others, in terms of their writing style and readability. This tends to be a matter of opinion, but there are authors whose writing style I find so flowing and easy to read I’m guaranteed to zip through any book of theirs’ in days (Sarah J. Maas, for example), and others who, despite the fact I like their style, I just find harder to read.
For some reason I tend to read books of certain genres much faster than others. As my favourite genre I always seem to zip through fantasy books very quickly, even though they tend to be lengthier than other genres, and I seem to get through historical books fast too.
Science fiction and contemporary for some reason seems to take me much, much longer, and partly I think that’s because they’re genres I’m less fond of. I tend to approach them with less enthusiasm, so they always seem to take me longer to read, even if I’m enjoying them.
So do you find that some books just take you longer to read, regardless of length? Why do you think that is?