I Fear Big Books and I Cannot Lie

I recently reached 100 books read this year, which was super exciting. And since reaching this milestone I began to reflect a bit, and reevaluate my reading habits. After giving it some thought, I realized that recently before reading any book, I always check how many pages there are.

This struck me as a bit strange since I used to never give a second thought to the size of a book. If it was a book I was interested in reading I’d read it, no sweat. I wouldn’t care if it was 100 or 1000 pages long. But nowadays I always seem to care about the length of the book. I check how many pages there are in a book and I estimate how long it’ll take me to read it. Will starting this book now mean that I’ll only be able to finish one book today? Will it take me a week or two to finish this mammoth of a book?

Me talking about the enormous books that require a forklift to move

These questions pop into my head the moment I begin to consider beginning a book. I used to never read contemporaries but now I tend to gravitate towards them and their safe range of 270-350 pages. Any book with 470 pages and above I flinch from. Will I be able to finish this book? I ask myself. Will reading this book cripple my current progress with my reading challenge?

I think that my current aversion to long books stems from my urge to successfully complete my Goodreads challenge. I fear that by reading longer books I won’t be able to complete my challenge. Just moments ago I opened up my kindle eager to complete the final book in a fantastic series. It’ll be fine, I told myself. The previous books had an average of 500 pages each, so this book might take me at most 3-4 days, but it’s a good book, so it’ll be worth it. Imagine the shock and horror I felt upon clicking on the title and discovering that it had a total of 706 pages. That was 200 more than I was expecting!

When you count how many pages there are in a book before you read it

As with all fears, I desperately need to overcome this one. I can’t let this fear of ginormous books stop me from reading what I love! I will not stand for it! Maybe I should stop updating Goodreads for a while, or lower my challenge goal. Maybe I should try to force myself out of this long book reading slump (because everyone knows that when you force yourself to do things the results are always amazing). I don’t really know how to face this problem, but I guess the first step is acknowledging that I have a problem in the first place, so at least I’ve got that step taken care of. 

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Do you guys have the same problem? How would you face a fear of big books?

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35 thoughts on “I Fear Big Books and I Cannot Lie

  1. I never really thought about it, but I totally obsess over how many pages are in a book before I start reading it. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to read really fast because that seems to be the norm among book bloggers, but it means that I don’t really enjoy reading as much as I used to. I also do that thing where I’m constantly checking (a) how many pages are left and (b) how many pages I have to read a day to finish the book by my target date. Which is just…so much work for something that’s supposed to be my favorite hobby. Why do we make everything so hard on ourselves? lol! But congrats on reading 100 books! I’m totally impressed. That’s my goal for 2019 but I think I’m going to have to bump it back down to 75 because I’m so behind :/

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    1. Exactly! I think I’m going to start slowing down challenge and reading wise, since forcing myself to read more books in a shorter amount of time is starting to get a little bit stressful, and it makes no sense to stress over something I’m supposed to enjoy! 😅

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  2. It’s not really the size of the books but rather the amount of time it would take me to read it. I used to take a week or more reading a book. There was no pressure for me to complete and I didn’t have many books then. Now, with review copies and since I can afford to buy secondhand reads I have more unread books than read books. To me, that is troublesome.

    I’ve set my Goodreads channel on a low number, and since I live away from home I take only a set number of books that I want to prioritize.

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    1. This is so true! Before having review copies or just a blog in general I used to just pick up a book whenever I was in the mood, finish that book whether it took a week or two and then get another one the next time I was in the mood.

      Now, I’ve accumulated quite a lot of unread books and it is a little bit stressful 😅

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  3. I think this is why people don’t like setting a GR challenge… They say it takes the fun out of reading! I don’t really think about how many pages a book is before I read it — although when it comes to physical books, I’ll be intimidated when they’re huge and hesitate to read it, but not because it’ll affect my challenge. I think if it’s making you hesitate to read books you’ll love, cutting down your challenge goal or taking time away from updating GR sounds like a good idea 🙂

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    1. Yeah! It’s especially difficult when life gets busy too. Because it’s hard for me to separate my priorities reading wise and school wise. This month I have finals, so I think it’s a perfect time to separate myself from GR a bit just to be able to focus on schoolwork and on reading the books that I want to enjoy 😁

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  4. Oh I love this post so much. I tend to pay attention to the number of pages way too much just as well, somehow? I feel like big books scare me a little bit, because they take such a long time to read, too ad it’s such a bigger commitment somehow? I feel like I shouldn’t pay so much attention to it, but at the same time I can’t help it, because you know as a blogger you feel like you have to read loads and loads of books. It’s a little… complicated haha. 🙂
    Loved this post! and I am amazed by how much you’ve read already, WOW.

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    1. Thank you! 💕

      Exactly! I see some bloggers who read so so much and I’m like wow I should really read more, but I have to keep reminding myself that everyone reads at their own pace 😅 Also big books are such a commitment! Especially when they’re fantasies since I feel like those tend to take longer to read.

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      1. oh YES I have that same feeling… well, I know I take longer to read fantasies because of the world-building and so on, while contemporaries, I’m more used to them and read them so quickly haha

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  5. I think this post is a really great lead in to a bigger discussion about the amount of pressure people in the book community put on themselves to read as many books as possible. The more pages in a book the longer it takes to read, which as you said ultimatlely lowers the amount of books you read per month and then per year. I tend to avoid larger books too because of the time required to read them, but more because I own a LOT of backlist books and I always feel a bit guilty spending so much time reading one long book I own when I could be reading 2-3 shorter books – which is totally silly!

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    1. For me some of the pressure has got to do with how much I see other bloggers reading. When I see that one blogger set their goal to 70 more than mine, I ask myself if I’m reading enough. Which is a little ridiculous since I shouldn’t be forcing myself to quantify my reading 😂

      I think we just have to routinely remind ourselves that we’re reading because we enjoy it, and not to reach some sort of quota, and then we’ll be able to catch up on all the long books that we’d like to.

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  6. I love this post! I wrote a blog post with a title very similar to this (I love big books and I cannot lie) where I professed my love for chunky books! I definitely see where you’re coming from when you talk about the Goodreads challenge. Actually, the reason why I love big books is that they FORCE me to leave my comfort zone of hitting (and surpassing) the goal I set for myself. BUT! The good thing about big books is that at the end of the year you still see that you read A LOT of pages. Not to mention that fantasy books over 500 pages are (usually) very well developed! Just find a writer you love or a series you adore and embrace the thickness of the books!

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    1. This is so true! Name of the Wind is one of my favorite fantasy’s ever, and I’m super proud that I’ve read all 994 pages of its sequel, A Wise Man’s Fear. There is a certain level of accomplishment that comes when finishing a big book, and I usually always end up enjoying the story that’s inside 😄

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  7. I’m like this with anything over 400 pages. Not because I’m trying to read as many books as I can in any given year, but because I’m scared that it just won’t hold my interest at all and I will end up DNF’ing it! If I really love the sound of it, I will most likely give it a go, but for books that I am not too fussed about, I really don’t bother.

    Great post, I really love the title!

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    1. That’s a good policy! The worst thing is getting 200 pages into a book and then deciding not to finish it, because then it feels that all the time you invested was wasted 😪 I think that once you get to a certain point in a book, even if you decide to DNF it should be counted as finished 😂

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    1. Exactly! It’s a bit unfortunate though because I really enjoy reading fantasy’s, it’s just they tend to be so long 😅 It’s even worse when it’s a super long fantasy series, especially since fantasy series tend to be longer than the regular book series.

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  8. Definitely have this fear too- and like you, I didn’t used to! I think it really is the Goodreads thing- and perhaps just comparing ourselves to other bloggers in general, you know? Maybe it isn’t even conscious, but I know for me, I just get so stressed if I am reading one book for too long, even if I am loving it. Which is clearly ridiculous! The only thing that sometimes helps me deal is reading a novella or a graphic novel or something right after a long book, kind of balances everything out!

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    1. Exactly! I often see how much other bloggers are reading and start to panic a little bit, but then I remind myself that everyone reads at their own pace and as long as I read what I enjoy there’s no problem! I actually do the same thing 😂 I read two graphic novels this week to counteract the fact that I wasn’t reading anything else.

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  9. I have struggled with something similar, for sure! The way I solve it is by reading more than one books – a shorter and a longer – and I can always turn to the shorter if I really want to finish something fast. But to complicate matters even more, it makes me so nervous when my average page number in the “Your Year in Books” on Goodreads is low haha. In 2017 it was barely more than 300 (because I added quite a few short stories and novellas that year), and I was SO BUMMED by the low page number average. It’s so stupid because who cares, right? But still, seeing 330+ last year was nice haha. Great discussion! 🙂

    Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

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    1. I totally get it! I get so stressed out sometimes with how many books I’ve read over year, or my reading progress in general, and I sometimes think, who cares?? But it just seems to be one of those things 😅 I do love reading novellas and graphic novels though! They’re so enjoyable, and the perfect length 😂

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  10. If I’m iffy about a book I instantly look at the page numbers too. And will err on the side of caution NOT to read the book if its too long. Long books spiral me into a reading slump if I don’t enjoy them and slumps are my greatest fear!! I drag on for a week many times trying to read it until I realize I juts don’t like it. Hahaha so I totally get you! Good luck. ❤️

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  11. Love your discussion and I so identify. It’s not so much my Goodreads goal but that factors in! I like to read two to three books a week and well a long book is most likely going to take a week or two!! So avoidance issues here as well. I have one 800 page book on the go, its kinda a classic and so I do about ten minutes a day on it. I aim to um… finish it my the end of the year. However I am a big Outlander reader so if the next book came out I’d drop everything and read it whatever the length and generally some of them are rather long.

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