Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Girls Don’t Cry: Does Size Really Matter?

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Book Girls Don’t Cry is a feature where we will discuss/vent/advise on a bookish topic. This feature is hosted by myself along with these pretty ladies:


Do  you like em big? Or not so big?

Sorry – this is not a post about male genitalia *crowd boos*. But now that I have your attention, what’s your opinion on the size of books? Do you like big books (and you can not lie)? Or do you prefer reading shorter ones? Has it changed since blogging?

Am I the only one who, before getting on Goodreads (or blogger) didn’t even know just HOW many great books were out there? So weird how much that changed! Before, the size of a book was not something I even considered. I would browse in bookstores and pick my next read at random. Now, as a blogger with piles and piles of review books and ARCs, not to mention a 2193789127 mile long TBR list, I tend to be happier when I start a book that is not too big – under 350-375 pages. When it’s a 500+ page book, that means less books this month/week because they take so long to read. Since being a blogger, I was made me aware of all the awesomeness that exists and my TBR increased dramatically! So, yeah… have you ever skipped a book only because it had 600 pages so that you could get through more of your TBR? I have. At least now if I own it, whether it’s big or small, it’s a book I WANT to read – I’ve learned to only request ARCs I am truly excited for, unlike at the start where I would request everything (I think we’ve all been there!).

Now if there is a book that sounds absolutely amazing and the reviews have been epic – like The Diviners – I will still read it. (I did read The Diviners and it was awesome!) There is nothing worse than reading a 600 page book that you rate no higher than 2 stars. Even 3 is sometimes not worth all the hours put into it. I’m not one who can read 100 pages in 20 minutes – I envy those of you who can! One thing that is, I guess fortunate (for me), is that I’m not a fan of epic fantasy at all, and I’m very selective when it comes to historicals as it’s not my favorite genre either. I’ve noticed those genres have, the most often, very large books.

What to like about big books: Character development, world building, and the plot itself are usually very fleshed out. But it doesn’t mean your average-sized book won’t be as epically memorable (look at THG for instance). On that note, do you find that epic fantasies and historicals are the ones who need more pages to fully satisfy, compared to, say, the contemporary and paranormal genres? All you epic fantasy readers would have more say on this. Do you often find small books in those genres are just as good?

In the end, I’m not against large books, but I will generally need to have seen a few reviews and recommendations that has made me pretty sure that I will really enjoy it – In other words: It better be worth my time!


What do you think of book size?
Does it weigh in on your decision to read a book?

We’re looking for topic suggestions for future BGDC posts! What would YOU like to discuss (can be anything from vents to advice)?
Leave a topic suggestion via this form!
You know you love me!
XOXO, Book Girl

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

37 Responses to “Book Girls Don’t Cry: Does Size Really Matter?”

  1. Tanya Patrice

    When I first started blogging about the books I read, I stopped reading as many big books – but that didn’t last long thankfully. In fact – summers are for big book reading! Now, I pick up whatever – whenever and don’t worry about the page count.

  2. Lindsay Galloway

    I totally agree, Giselle! Blogging hasn’t made me shy away from big books, per se, but I have had to organize my time better to make sure I don’t have any reviews due before starting in on a hefty read. Even before blogging, I wouldn’t have picked up huge books without having heard of them first. They just weren’t my idea of a “fun” read, so I would only read them if they were gifted or came highly regarded.

  3. Whitley

    Appropriately enough, my answer for the real question and the innuendo are the same: I like em to be middle of the pack. Not too big or too small, and if I have to go one way or the other, I’m going small. But my style (both in reading and in my own writing) is towards concise. I get annoyed at meandering side plots and long, drawn-out set-ups. Especially these days, it feels like doorstoppers have become an indicator of bestseller material, so a lot of books will pad, pad, pad in order to get a really good novella-sized plot out to 400 or 500 pages. Uhg.

    I will read longer books if a reviewer I trust indicates that the plot is big enough to fill its literary britches, but those don’t come around as often as I’d like. 🙁

  4. Johanna

    Before I started blogging, I read much more of those huge tomes. I was majorly into epic fantasy and I loved the outlook on a book with 1000+ pages (which happens more often in German as they’re printed with less words on one page).

    Now, that I have some sort of schedule (I try not to stick to it all the time), I’m glad for the shorter reads, mostly to be found in the YA department. I’m a little reluctant now to pick up a big book. Sometimes, that makes me a bit sad, too. But then, I could also just redesign my schedule and fit them in which I occasionally do.

  5. Savannah

    For me, size doesn’t matter in books. Because I have read really big books (like 600 pages) and the story is boring and dragged out. And then I read small books that are only 200 pages and its packed with amazing characters and plot. So for me, its all about content.

  6. Jackie (Bookcharmed)

    I think my sense of the size of a book has really changed since I started to use my e-reader. All of the books are physically the same size on a tablet, whether you have a short 100 page story or a mammoth of a 690p copy. Size has never really mattered to me before, and I think it matters less now. Then again, I rarely choose long epics to read in the first place, but when I do, spending a few extra days to get through it doesn’t seem like a chore since I usually get into them more.

  7. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books

    Great discussion on size. I believe the genre does matter, if its a romance I’ll prefer shorter novel. I am amazed how deep HG’s is too from being normal length. I like to read long novels when their is great characters, I recently was sad about a average-sized book that ended and wished it was longer. (and never ended)

    Time is definitely the issue with long books. I probably won’t waste the little time I have with a long negatively reviewed book either. I could never not re-read HP though just because the later books are giant, those books speed by.

  8. Amanda @ Book Badger

    I have a problem with buying short books because sometimes I feel they’re not worth the money, and I usually feel intimidated by large books because I know that I could spend days making my way through it. I tend to like middle sized books on the whole, around 200-450 pages, and as a fellow blogger these are the easiest books to read and review, usually.

  9. Pili

    There was a time when short books held no appeal to me whatsoever, I went through them too fast and I wanted books that wouldn’t be over so fast! But now I don’t care so much about the size of a book but about what’s between the covers and how much I enjoy it.
    Though I have to confess when it comes to review books I always feel better when they’re less than 350 pages long, meaning I can read more of them!

    About high fantasy or historicals… well, I’m a huge fan of the Game of Thrones books, so I guess that answers that question?

  10. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

    Before becoming a blogger I would read anything that struck my fancy. It actually makes me sad that these days it’s all about QUANTITY … we all want to reach that yearly goal of books read. For me, at least, I love seeing the number go up and up. Meanwhile, I have some great-looking books on my shelves, classics and contemps, that are well over 500 pages. Only recently have I decided to just forego following the trends and just read what I want to read … I mean, I bought these books for a reason, right? I guess it helps that everyone seems stuck on dystopians and NA books that I feel that I can slowly slip out and just go back to reading what looks good to me — regardless of how long it will take to get through.

    Great post!

  11. Ashley

    Big books definitely do intimidate me. Although I love reading, I know there are a lot of books out there that will only be “okay” or I’ll “kind of like”, and I don’t want to read 400+ pages of that.

    But on the flip side, sometimes I read an AMAZING book that I wish was longer!

  12. Sophia Rose

    Funny you bring this up. I’ve groaned a few times when books on my review request reading pile for the week all end up being sizeable novels. I love novels for all the positives that come with it, but a sprinkling of novellas and short stories scattered with them are much easier to handle.

  13. Tsuki @ Tsuki's Books

    My limit is 400 pages. If there are more than that then I have to sit back and really debate it. I have so many awesome books to discover and enjoy that I can’t spend extra hours on a book that might only get three. If I don’t like it by the 100 page mark, then 500 additional pages aren’t going to change my mind.

    Great post.

  14. Suzanne van Rooyen

    Yup, with an ever burgeoning TBR pile, I tend to give priority to shorter works, 300-350 pages or less. I will read a longer work (400+) but usually only by an author I already know and love.

  15. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I am the freaking Goldilocks of book lengths. Anything under 150 is too short, anything over 400 pages is too long, but give me a book between 250 to 350 pages and it’s juuuuuust right! This is actually one of the first things I do when I try to figure out my next read, make a list of how many pages each one has. I’ve noticed my favorite book length is 285-ish pages…not to be specific or anything. Now if it’s a book by a favorite author then length doesn’t matter. I read Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead in less than a day. It was 700 pages long!

  16. Melliane

    it’s quite the same for me. Before it would be the same for me but now? It’s really difficult for me to read big books, it took me so long to read them compared to less large. And at the end it’s always more attracting to take a shorter one.

  17. Candace

    I’m pretty much with you. I used to not pay attention to size at all. Now the big books get put off unless it’s one that is part of a series I love or has such epic reviews I HAVE to read it. Just too many books, and never enough time…

  18. Kristin@Blood,Sweat and Books

    I definitely hesitate if a book is over 500 pages because I know how long it will take me to read and that means less books I can get to that month. I prefer books between 150-325 pages the best but I’m also in love with Novellas as I can read several in a day. I definitely still read larger page counts but not nearly as frequently as I used to. It’s a case of so many books, so little time. Great post.

  19. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m definitely scared of reading big books, but that doesn’t mean I do. I do admit that it’s especially annoying if a book is a long and is boring, but I’ve learned to DNF, so that’s not a big problem. Smaller books are much more pleasant though.

  20. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I’m pretty much the same when it comes to my feeling about long books. I’d never really preferred 500+ over shorter books, but I will read them when they sound good enough. Sometimes they can be really epic, because there is so much space to create a good cast, solid background and interesting world-building, but it’s of course also easier to get boring.

    Let me just say that I won’t let the amount of pages influence my thoughts whether I want to read it or not. If it sounds good and I see many people like it, I’ll try it 🙂 I always read several books at the same time, so I’ll switch it up with smaller books.

  21. S.Huston

    I like big books and I cannot lie! Although it sounds like my idea of big and everyone else’s idea is different. The perfect length for me is anywhere over 300 but I don’t do epic fantasy. I just like bigger books because they last longer and I feel I get more for my money.

  22. Aman

    Unfortunately, and I hate to say this, but size does matter! I want to read The Bronze Horsemen trilogy so bad but every book is around 800 pages and it has tiny font. I hate tiny font! So yeah, I go for books that are around 300-400 pages and can be read within 2-3 days because I don’t read books beforehand. I read and review it few days before the post goes live. That’s also why I don’t reread. There is just not enough time in world! Wow, aren’t I a bit dramatic today? 🙂

  23. Bianca

    Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off never discovering goodreads or blogging lol Okay not really. I would miss out on some much. The good thing would be is I wouldn’t know what I was missing and not have to be upset that I don’t have time to read it all. I agree it is harder to pick up big books when there is so much to read but really I do not notice the page count at first. I read the summary and if I want to read it I want to read it and I’ll check it out or go buy it without knowing the page count. Luckily I haven’t really come across many books that I have wanted to read over 600 pages. I would definitely be upset if I were to read it and not love it.

  24. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    I tend to try and stay away from books that are reaaaally long. I have The 5th Wave sitting on the shelf, and I want to read it but wow it is one massive book. There are a few like that. I think that book that are less than 400 are more my cup of tea. 🙂

  25. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I’ve said this before, but I LOVE longer books. Part of that is definitely because I do tend to read fantasies and historical fiction. Authors don’t have world-building to worry about contemporary fiction, which I’m sure is part of the reason contemps are generally shorter. But I also LOVE world-building. It’s so fascinating to see what types of worlds authors can create. And it makes me work harder as a reader in that aspect, which I appreciate.
    Still, I’ve definitely noticed a drop in the length of books that I’ve read recently. I’ve been reading mostly YA this year, and I think that YA books (even fantasies and historical fiction) tend to be a bit shorter than their adult counterparts. It makes me sad, because I enjoy spending lots of time immersed in one world with one specific group of characters. Sure, there are tons of amazing books out there, but if I’m reading stories that I love, then I’m never going to regret the time spent reading them.
    I think you make a number of good points here about the value of shorter books as well. Ultimately, I think it comes down to preference. I can totally understand why you prefer shorter novels, but what works for you and others doesn’t always work for me. And that’s part of the reason I love reading – how personal and unique of an experience it is for each person. 🙂

  26. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I like all sizes (because it’s not the size that counts…it’s how you use it. *snort*). With my ereader, it’s harder to judge which book is big and which isn’t so, sometimes I’ll get into a book and only then do I realize, “Hey. This book is the size of a door-stop!” If it’s good, it doesn’t stop me. If it’s not, I’ve gotten really good at DNFing books (a skill I only really learned since blogging).

  27. Lisa F - Bookworm Lisa

    There are times when I start reading a review book and groan when I look it up to find out how many pages it is. When you have many people trying to get you to read their books in a timely manner, size is definitely a consideration.

  28. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    I don’t mind books whether they are big or small but sometimes when I’m looking for a quick read I aim for the smaller sized books. I like big ones sometimes though (oh god this is pun heaven) because as you said, they tend to be more fleshed out. Sometimes they seem like a big obstacle though.

  29. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I totally get what you mean about tending to skip over bigger books. Not that I don’t enjoy them, but if I have a bunch of books to get to I tend to go for the smaller ones first. Though I suppose I should read the bigger ones first so the shorter ones are easier to get through getting closer to release dates.

    Like you said though, bigger books are very enjoyable when it’s bigger because it takes the time to flesh out the characters and develop the world well. That’s not always the case though. Sometimes I feel that a bigger book could have left a whole lot out and still been amazing. When it’s just big with filler stuff that’s not necessarily important it starts to bore me.

    Great post love!!!

  30. Alexa

    Sometimes it is easier to pass up those very long books because you know they will take more time to finish and then you feel like you wasted some time. I know since I’m so busy all the time that I like to read books that are 350ish pages just so I can get through them faster. I’m not opposed to a longer book though if it is a favorite of mine or in a favorite series. I will also try a long book if the ratings are very high.

  31. DeAnna @ Mommy's Reading Break

    I do get scared away from long books sometimes. That’s part of why I’ve been procrastinating on reading Game of Thrones. However, sometimes, I don’t even blink an eye. Harry Potter starts off in the low 300s, but the last 4 books are all over 600 pages, and not only have I read them, I’ve read them multiple times! It really depends. If it’s a book I’m not sure about in the first place, and it’s really long, I’ll procrastinate or skip it altogether.