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Matt T.
04-05-2016, 12:39 AM
I've been reading a lot of books of wildly varying lengths lately ranging anywhere from 200-300 pages (YA novels) to a couple near or over a thousand pages (The Talisman and The Stand).

It got me thinking. When you're selecting books to read, what is your ideal length for a novel? Do you find yourself preferring shorter novels, longer ones, or somewhere in between?

I enjoy shorter novels in general because they feel more tightly paced, but I enjoy lengthy tomes if I'm really into the story. I also find that I'm less willing to start longer novels by authors that I've never read before.

Chasing the Horizon
04-05-2016, 01:05 AM
I intentionally seek out longer books in the SF&F genre because it has been my experience (over and over again) that books under 350-400 pages almost never have the depth of world-building I'm seeking from that genre. Many of my favorites are in the 700-800 range. This is only for that genre, though. Some of my favorite contemporary books are much shorter, but they're not trying to juggle extensive world-building along with the plot and character development.

I'm sure this is a personal preference thing related to my desire for moderate pacing and decent amounts of description.

Brightdreamer
04-05-2016, 01:07 AM
I prefer novels that are just as long as the story they contain.

Really, I don't know if I can give a page count answer. Sometimes I want a fast-reading 200/300-page yarn. Sometimes I want to indulge in a doorstopper... or a series of doorstoppers. In eBooks, I tend to prefer shorter reads, though not exclusively.

I do agree that it tends to be harder to justify a long-haul novel from an unknown author, unless I've heard some really, really great things about it.

davidjgalloway
04-05-2016, 01:13 AM
It's not a consideration that's ever occurred to me, honestly. I read between 550 and 600 wpm, and so I don't judge books on visible length unless the story starts to fall apart. Then I'll heft it and either quit or decide to plow on a little further. Well, that was five years ago, when I was young(er) and optimistic. Now, I just quit. Plus, reading on the kindle or any other platform makes it hard to gauge length that way. You have the little percentages to go by, but unless I watch it carefully, I don't even notice how many pages make a % or do that calculation in my head (downside of not being a math person, perhaps).

Choices cut both ways: if it's short and it's great, I'll hate that it ends so quickly. If it's long but tiresome, then it's a burden. You can't know until you're a ways into the story, I think. But YMMV and everybody reads differently. Would you actually weigh (perhaps literally?) two books before deciding between them?

(Makes me think of the old professor joke that you grade by throwing the term papers down the stairs, and the heavier ones go farther, thus earning the A.) Except it sounds like you'd prefer to pick the shorter one?

Actually, to be fair, I can sympathize a little--when Outlander first came out (and I still have not read it), I distinctly recall being almost offended at how long the book looked. It just felt like a dare: read this MONSTER! I didn't take the dare, though I also am not a regular romance reader, but definitely the length played a role. Now, if it had been a kickass 300k word fantasy, maybe....

Can you give an example besides those you've already listed of a long book that kept your interest throughout?

Latina Bunny
04-05-2016, 01:36 AM
For me, I tend to like books that are around early 300ish pages. That seems to be my ideal length. I get exhausted reading 400+ page books.

330-400 pages feels like my absolute limit (with a few exceptions).

However, even with 200-300ish page books, what's more important to me is how the words are packed into those pages.

If it's dense, long paragraphs, or difficult literary stuff, then I would have a hard time sticking to the book, regardless of length.

The writing style also matters as well. I tend to prefer more straightforward first-person prose with smaller paragraphs and less worldbuilding details, etc. It is one reason why I can't get into most adult (especially epic) SFF books, for the most part.

Then there's the actual subject matter and content, which is another factor as well.

For example, I can read a 330+ page Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic book about the main character's dilemmas during her pregnancy or her dealings with a wild toddler, but I may not be able to get into a 200 page YA book with an abusive love interest or abusive characters in general, etc. (I like more gentler, lighthearted, almost beach reads kinds of books.)

I start cringing around 400 pages, and I start putting down "door stopper" books with page length that become longer than that. I don't have the patience and mental energy for elaborate or super-dense worldbuilding like that, lol. I'm so weak. :P

Matt T.
04-05-2016, 01:42 AM
It's not a consideration that's ever occurred to me, honestly. I read between 550 and 600 wpm, and so I don't judge books on visible length unless the story starts to fall apart. Then I'll heft it and either quit or decide to plow on a little further. Well, that was five years ago, when I was young(er) and optimistic. Now, I just quit. Plus, reading on the kindle or any other platform makes it hard to gauge length that way. You have the little percentages to go by, but unless I watch it carefully, I don't even notice how many pages make a % or do that calculation in my head (downside of not being a math person, perhaps).

Choices cut both ways: if it's short and it's great, I'll hate that it ends so quickly. If it's long but tiresome, then it's a burden. You can't know until you're a ways into the story, I think. But YMMV and everybody reads differently. Would you actually weigh (perhaps literally?) two books before deciding between them?

(Makes me think of the old professor joke that you grade by throwing the term papers down the stairs, and the heavier ones go farther, thus earning the A.) Except it sounds like you'd prefer to pick the shorter one?

Actually, to be fair, I can sympathize a little--when Outlander first came out (and I still have not read it), I distinctly recall being almost offended at how long the book looked. It just felt like a dare: read this MONSTER! I didn't take the dare, though I also am not a regular romance reader, but definitely the length played a role. Now, if it had been a kickass 300k word fantasy, maybe....

Can you give an example besides those you've already listed of a long book that kept your interest throughout?

You're quite the speedy reader if you can read between 550 and 600 WPM! I wish I could read that fast; I tend more towards 300 to 350 depending on how dense/complex a novel's writing style is.

I'm the opposite in that I note the book length when I'm deciding what to read next. Whether it's a natural short attention span on my part (which is entirely possible) or a natural tendency for novels to become bloated once they pass a certain point, I find my interest flagging when reading doorstop novels. Additionally, I really hate quitting novels because I always want to know what happens even if I don't care for the novel, and it's a lot easier to push through something I'm not completely feeling if it's 200 pages compared to 800.

Some of it does come down to my love for variety and trying out different authors, styles, genres, etc. There are only so many books I can read in my life, and I love exposing myself to as many different approaches and novels as possible, both for my own enjoyment and for my writing. If I'm looking at a book that's 1,000 pages long, I have to ask myself--would I rather read this one novel, or two or three separate and very different novels? Sometimes I feel like the former, but I've found myself choosing the latter more often lately.

I hate to keep using the Stephen King examples, but 11/22/63 was a great example of something that kept my interest. It's nearly 800 pages, and there were a few sections where it bogged down, but I really enjoyed it and felt that it (mostly) justified the length.

Brightdreamer
04-05-2016, 01:45 AM
Plus, reading on the kindle or any other platform makes it hard to gauge length that way. You have the little percentages to go by, but unless I watch it carefully, I don't even notice how many pages make a % or do that calculation in my head (downside of not being a math person, perhaps).

My Nook tablet gives page numbers (and "pages left" in a chapter), save in some ill-formatted eBooks, though my old-school eInk Kindle only does percentages, with little square dots on the progress bar to show chapter breaks (handy if I'm deciding whether to commit to another chapter before taking a break.) Though it doesn't "feel" the same length, somehow - I find Nook pages tend to read faster than paper pages or Kindle pages, for some reason, making me wonder how they determine what constitutes a page.


Actually, to be fair, I can sympathize a little--when Outlander first came out (and I still have not read it), I distinctly recall being almost offended at how long the book looked. It just felt like a dare: read this MONSTER! I didn't take the dare, though I also am not a regular romance reader, but definitely the length played a role.

Good call... (Outlander is not universally loved, despite what the ad hype will tell you. I personally found it slow going, and the ending... ergh. Though if you enjoy seeing redheaded Scotsmen tortured again and again (and again), you might want to give it a try.)


Can you give an example besides those you've already listed of a long book that kept your interest throughout?

I'm not the OP, but I personally favor long epic fantasies - though, admittedly, my reading interests are skewed, and I don't read many doorstoppers in other genres. (I do, however, have Stephen King's 11/22/63 in the TBR pile.) Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series has been keeping me entertained, and I enjoyed the first three books of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, though I don't hear great things about where it goes from there, and thus have been hesitant to continue. I also liked Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy and his Shadowmarch quartet.

Kerosene
04-05-2016, 01:46 AM
From what I've read, I don't really prefer a general length. It's more about if the story feels like it should be the length it is rather than the size of the book. I've read border-like novellas that have felt bloated, and read fast-paced (or how I read them) novels that have felt they rushed and ended too soon.

I will agree that approaching a long book from a debut or new author can be daunting. It takes high recommendations for me to dive into them.

Also, word count is a better determiner of length. After typesetting a book can turn out much longer or shorter than the actual words should average to. A Thriller can have the same amount of pages as an Epic Fantasy despite being half the word count.

davidjgalloway
04-05-2016, 01:48 AM
I've fallen down on my Stephen King, I'm afraid. I read most of his stuff up to the early 1990's, but then life took a turn and I haven't read much since. God, that's a long time :(. Maybe I'll take a look at the '63.

Yes, the speed has helped me a lot, but it's not something I can claim credit for--just always have been that way. Dunno why, and nobody else in my family seems to, but it does mean I got dibs on all the Harry Potters as they came out, since I could finish them in a couple hours before handing it off to the next person. No way I was going to wait for others to take three days on it!

davidjgalloway
04-05-2016, 01:54 AM
I'm still game for the next (if it ever happens) SOIAF from Martin. I know some people aren't entirely pleased, but I enjoy them. Though I feel like the guy in "Rage of Thrones" all the time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CLCOvZOh1o). I do like a long epic fantasy, and would probably choose that over any other genre.

Actually, the real reason I picked books in my tender years was the covers. I used to go to Waldenbooks with my pathetic little allowance and buy $3.95 paperbacks from their huge wall of SF. Covers were the draw almost every time. Donaldson, Feist, Brooks, Dragonlance--they all had killer covers, especially the last one, and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. So that's just as arbitrary as length, I suppose :).

Latina Bunny
04-05-2016, 02:05 AM
My Kindle App also has page numbers nowadays. (It was a recent thing, I think?)



Would you actually weigh (perhaps literally?) two books before deciding between them?

Kind of, yes, lol. XD If a book is going to be that heavy, I might as well as get the digital version (if I get it at all).

I do skim the content in the end, but I'm discovering that big books are just not my taste.

I'm more beach reads series types of books than giant books.



Can you give an example besides those you've already listed of a long book that kept your interest throughout?

How long is "long"? Like 300+ pages? Hmm... Ones I actually enjoyed and liked the endings of? Some Harry Potter books, and maybe Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.

Taylor Harbin
04-05-2016, 02:20 AM
I don't have a length preference, but it depends on the skill of the writer in question. "A Game of Thrones" was massive, but it had no wasted or uninteresting chapters. Martin had a near-perfect blend of narration, world-building, characterization, and good dialogue. However, "Of Mice and Men" wouldn't work if it was any longer.

Kylabelle
04-05-2016, 01:27 PM
I used to factor book length into my choices when buying novels because I read very fast and if I was going to spend the money I wanted something that would last more than one evening. I would also check to make sure the fatness of the book was not due to thick pages and large type. (Smart shopper here. :greenie )

I don't read that fast these days, nor do I read in marathon stretches of hours. So while I would still resist a book that was too slim, if I had enough other reasons to buy it I'd override that objection. As well, I more often purchase new books of poetry these days, than novels, for example, and that changes the entire complexion of the question.

Basically, I used to be a rather addicted reader, consuming stories like they were drugs, and that is no longer so, which change has actually improved my reading experience and choices.

Katharine Tree
04-05-2016, 07:03 PM
I don't use length as a selecting factor, but I really enjoy having a looooong book to read. In the neighborhood of 300K words gives you plenty of time to revel in the world and to do a lot of character development. Long books like that make me wiggle my toes in delight.

LJD
04-05-2016, 07:05 PM
Not a doorstopper.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2016, 11:05 PM
You're quite the speedy reader if you can read between 550 and 600 WPM! I wish I could read that fast; I tend more towards 300 to 350 depending on how dense/complex a novel's writing style is.

.

I'm a pretty good speed reader. Not the best, by any means, but a pretty good one. I can read a thousand words per minute. But there isn't enough money in in Morocco to make me read fiction faster than the speed of regular conversation. I'm in no hurry to get to the end of the story. I want to live the story as it happens, and this means reading it at the same speed people speak.

Speed reading is a wonderful tool for nonfiction, but it should be against the law when reading fiction.

- - - Updated - - -


Not a doorstopper.

For me, there is no such thing.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2016, 11:09 PM
I really don't care in the least. There are a lot of old, forty thousand word novels I love, and a lot of two hundred thousand word novels I love. Some are much longer than this. I love series where every book is loooonnnggg, and there are a lot of books. I love novels short enough I can read two of them in a day, and novels so long it takes a week to get through one.

Length is not the issue. The issue f whether or not the writer is good enough to make me leave this world and become immersed in his world. Short novel or extremely long novel, when this happens, I slow down as I get near the finish, sometimes reading only a page or two per day because I do not want to leave that world.

davidjgalloway
04-05-2016, 11:31 PM
Speed reading is a wonderful tool for nonfiction, but it should be against the law when reading fiction.

That's why I'm strongly in favor of MANDATORY speed limits on every book. Slow down, save lives. Enough with the "trust the reader." We need real policy, not some opt-in nonsense.

Myrealana
04-05-2016, 11:52 PM
Paraphrase of the Roger Ebert quote my husband has tattooed on his arm:

No good novel is too long and no bad novel is short enough.

Roxxsmom
04-06-2016, 12:01 AM
I read a lot of fantasy, so I tend to think of a "normal" novel as being somewhere between 350-600 pages (for a printed book with mass market paperback formatting). My eyes tend to skip over the spines of "skinny little books" that are nestled between fat epics on bookstore shelves, though this aspect of visual browsing is gone when I search for reading material online.

Lately, I've noticed some e-books don't even try to approximate page counts and instead give those "reading positions" or whatever, with each page progressing the count by thirty or so. I hate this, as I tend to think in terms of pages and word counts. I wish e-books made it possible to get actual word counts on novels, as this is something I'm interested in as the reader of a genre where bestselling books (including those by debut writers) seem to run longer than the recommended lengths we're told to shoot for. I wish it were possible to get hard data that could confirm this notion.

I suppose somewhere in the mid 400s is my sweet spot as a reader, but a longer novel is fine as long as it doesn't drag. Shorter novels are fine too, as long as they feel sufficiently fleshed out and complex.

PeteMC
04-07-2016, 02:54 PM
Paraphrase of the Roger Ebert quote my husband has tattooed on his arm:

No good novel is too long and no bad novel is short enough.

Exactly this. I want the book to be as long as the book should be. If it's a Big Fat Fantasy (tm) *and* it's good, then I'll happily read a 12-book series of 700+ page books. But I also love Michael Moorcock, and most of his books are only around 60k words I should think.

I do find some of Stephen King's later stuff bloats horribly, I must admit, and could stand to be a fair bit shorter than it actually is but I guess when you're Stephen King you can pretty much write what you like.

Silva
04-07-2016, 09:39 PM
I tend to like a book that takes about 200-400 pages to tell the story, and this is because of the amount of time I am able to spend reading and how it will be broken up over a series of days and how long it takes for my brain to get into it and how long my brain will last before it wants out.

I don't want to spend weeks reading a book; too much other stuff happens in life during that time, and I lose track of what I've already read. I want to spend about three days on it, ideally, no more than five. So I don't generally read door-stoppers because I just don't have the time to read them that much. Most fiction I am able to read 100-150 pages/hour, and non-fiction or dense fiction might read more like 50-80 pages/hour depending on how difficult it is (or like 10 pages an hour max if it's a textbook, hah).

Three books I've read recently: Girl, Interrupted at 169 pages-- the layout is not space-efficient and it took me less than an hour to read. I feel like that wasn't quite long enough for my brain to really engage-- it was interesting, but there wasn't enough there for my brain to click into gear and start going places with it. Under the Banner of Heaven at 365 pages-- I spread it out over four days, I think, and it was starting to feel like it was taking too long to read and I wanted to move on to something else that was different in subject (I avoid reading multiple books at the same time) but it was long enough that my brain really got enmeshed in it and I had lots of interesting related thoughts and tangential thoughts which I like to have when reading something. A Room of One's Own at 114 pages-- This was dense reading not because it was intellectually difficult per se, but because she meanders around like crazy while getting to her point and I found that irritating and difficult to follow. It took me three days to read it; I had to reread several parts because I found myself skimming ahead, or I had to stop in the middle of something and had to rewind later before reading on, etc. I think overall it took two hours to read which falls in that 50-80 pg/hr range I mentioned for non-fiction. But my brain wanted out in the first twenty pages because it was boring (It got slightly more interesting 40 pages in or so, and was actually interesting in the last twenty where she finally got to her point).

So those three all fall between 100-400 pages and you can see how it's really more about content and style and how ADD I'm feeling than it is about the actual page count. And in spite of all the above, I don't pick books based on the length, I pick them based on reviews, and as I'm browsing, if something catches my eye on the jacket (title, author, blurb, etc.).

Sargentodiaz
04-07-2016, 09:46 PM
I've personally never paid attention to the number of pages or words in a book. My main interest in the subject, maybe the author, the genre, and how well the first few pages are written.

If I look at something on Amazon.com, the first thing I do is read the sample provided. I can usually tell whether or not I want to buy it within the first page.

It ain't how long it is. It's how good it is. ;)

Laer Carroll
04-13-2016, 12:44 AM
I hate skinny little books; as soon as I get interested in the people and their problems, the damned thing ENDS!

The longer the better for me. But only if I like the book.

cmi0616
04-13-2016, 12:53 AM
I prefer novels that are just as long as the story they contain.


This. I'd rather read a 500-page novel in which every page was stellar than a 100-page novel where you got maybe 50 good pages (and vice versa). One of my favorite all-time books is Infinite Jest which weighs in at 1,000 pages. But another favorite is Herzog, which is less than 300.

Really guys, size doesn't matter :)

blacbird
04-13-2016, 06:38 AM
I never much consider this. If the book grabs me, I'm happy reading to the end. My 2016 classic novel read (I do one at least one biggie every year) is Don Quixote, weighing in at over a kilopage. In the past I've done The Count of Monte Cristo (900-some pages, and greatly enjoyed), Tom Jones (similar length and enjoyment) and Moby Dick (600-some pages, glad I read it, but not one of the favorites). Last year I did Little Dorrit, one of Dickens' less well-known big tomes (900-something pages), and enjoyed it a lot.

But among my favorite authors are Philip K. Dick, Rex Stout, John D. MacDonald and Ray Bradbury, none of whom produced anything much longer than about 250 pages.

For me, story matters more than the distance between front and back covers.

caw

chompers
04-13-2016, 07:46 AM
Short ones. I get bored fast.

rfitzwilly63
04-13-2016, 09:01 AM
blacbird, I too loved The Count of Monte Cristo. But, I think Dumas was the thriller writer of his day. His books still read like a bestseller. Neal Stephenson writes some long books that read like a shorter book also.

Laurel
04-29-2016, 12:17 AM
I'll read doorstoppers if they come highly recommended from people I trust or if I love the author, but I usually prefer shorter books. I write fairly short, too.

Lillith1991
04-29-2016, 12:31 AM
I don't really have a preferred length. Lean and sparse and short YA contemporary can be just as interesting as my 50th anniversary edition of LOTR, which is over 1000 pages long.

blacbird
04-29-2016, 05:22 AM
This is in some ways two questions: What is the ideal length you'd write, and what is the ideal length you'd read. For writing, mine tend to run in first draft about 120,000-135,000 words, and that's without pre-planning, and I aim to cut those to around 100,000.

For reading, my ideal length is the one that carries me, with enjoyment, from page 1 to page n. I just finished Don Quixote, all 1050 pages of it in the edition I have. That's the longest one I have ever read. But it met the criterion.

caw

pisatel
04-29-2016, 09:10 AM
Great post! I have read a number of books over 1000 pages. At the age of 12 I read The Count of Monte Cristo without stopping. All day, all night with a flashlight in my bed and through most of the next day. I think it took me about 35 hours to read. In high school I took a speed reading course and got up to 400 wpm with very good retention, so a good long novel wasn't too bad. I have written a novel of 250,000 words myself, but very hard if not impossible to publish if you are unknown. If the first chapter doesn't consume me and take me into the author's world, I usually put it down. Some long ones I liked
War and Peace
Shogun
Gone with the Wind
Lord of the Rings
The Stand
It
Don Quixote
Arabian Nights


greg

Laer Carroll
04-30-2016, 01:06 AM
Length is not the issue. The issue [is] whether or not the writer is good enough to make me leave this world and become immersed in his world.

Exactly my feeling. I'd rather read fascinating long than boring short.

andadu27101
04-30-2016, 02:43 AM
Hmmm…interesting. Read all comments. While most have length prefferences, all are willing to bend…for the right story/writing. That’s the way it should be. Personally I write thrillers in the 400 pages range, but I’ll read any length, 200 to 800, if I enjoy the style and story.

owlion
04-30-2016, 03:37 PM
When choosing a book, I don't tend to think much about length and instead pay attention to the style (I usually read the first couple of pages, if possible, before buying) and the overall idea for the story. If I'm just browsing shelves, I'm likely to pick up a book based on the title, seeing as you often only get to see the spine initially.
But length doesn't really matter to me. I mean, longer books might cost more, so I'll take the price into consideration, but I've read great long, short and medium books.

phantasy
04-30-2016, 04:25 PM
I also don't care about word count. I read plenty of fantasy, so I'm used to the longer stuff.

That being said, I'm finding more and more that I dislike reading a series. Or if the book is very gimmicky, as a lot of YA fantasy seems to be, I have trouble reading more than one book in a trilogy. I couldn't be interested past the first book in a game of thrones, and by book three in the Dark Tower series, I just wanted them to find it already. My personal opinion is that in a long series quality begins to suffer because the publisher assumes you're so hooked to the characters that you'll read anything, no matter how rambling. And they're probably right when it comes to other fans, but not to me.

I think I want a fresh character and concept more than anything. Too often I get sick of characters that hang around too long. Even for my writing, I'm planning one trilogy and the rest are one offs.

Hutching
04-30-2016, 04:52 PM
I prefer books of between 250 and 500 pages. There appears to have been a trend in recent years to produce novels of a far higher page count that don't necessarily meet expectations. The greatest example for me was 'Pillars of The Earth' by Ken Follett. It is a highly praised book, but for me it just meandered all over the place and despite a very good opening it felt like a medeival soap-opera. I finished it but then reflected that it was a waste of good reading time.

Claudia Gray
05-01-2016, 07:14 AM
I'll cosign Jane Austen's quote: "But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

I read books of all different lengths. I may prefer longer or shorter books given my own circumstances at any given moment, but that's as much as I could narrow it down.

As for writing -- when I began, my YA novels tended to run around 300 pages. Then they worked their way up to 350. The last several have come in closer to 400. Hopefully I can hold it there!

xbriannova
05-02-2016, 07:27 AM
My first novel that I feel is publishable (there were a good number of works that I either wrote for practice/fun or that I eventually decided not to let people see) is 157,000 words long, or if a page is taken to have 250 words, 628 pages. I feel that it's almost just right for the story I'm telling.

If I had more time, I would have tried to trim it down to maybe 150,000 words, or 600 pages. Maybe even 140,000, or 560 pages. But there's nothing to be done when it's gonna be read by my editor.

There's a good chance I won't be published because of it.

Personally, I don't mind reading books with 500 or 600 pages. Stephen King's books can run up to that number, and if every page is good, it'd just be immaterial to the experience.

mpack
05-03-2016, 02:54 AM
I gravitate toward longer stories. I like immersion in a world, and I tend to prefer high fantasy and science fiction where such immersion is common. Best of all, a long running series with a great deal of depth.

sierrawrites13
05-08-2016, 07:56 PM
I prefer novels around 300-400 pages in length. It's usually enough to give me enough story and character development, but, as some above have said, that's not always the case.

My preference is a bit ironic, since my current manuscript is 164 pages. :)

Re-modernist
05-19-2016, 02:17 PM
People read fiction in order to:
a) experience a snappy pick-me-up through the tension/release mechanics of suspense
b) immerse themselves in someone else's life/world with its endless twists and turns
c) meditate on the human condition
d) experience awe and wonder (good sci-fi, mostly)
d) commune with the creator in the act of creation (if you're a writer too and enjoy the skill you see)

As a rabid hater of soaps I'm not in the b) section, but everything else is welcome, in all lengths, from Lovecraft to Tolstoy.

If you know which demographic you're writing for, and which proportion of which element is best, considering your skill level, then it all should work out great.

blacbird
05-20-2016, 07:30 AM
I've been willing to read some pretty long classics (Don Quixote, The Count of Monte Cristo, Little Dorrit, Moby Dick, Mardi . . . ), but I'll admit to being defeated three or four times by Proust's Remembrance of Times Past, even in its arbitrary division into shorter novels.

caw

Re-modernist
05-20-2016, 04:30 PM
There's a great sketch by Monty Python's Flying Circus about a TV gameshow called Summarize Proust.
http://www.montypython.net/scripts/proust.php

MaggieMc
05-26-2016, 12:04 PM
I prefer a longer novel ...like getting embedded in a great story, great character development etc. I think that's hard to do in a shorter work.

maggiee19
06-07-2016, 09:26 PM
I don't care much about the length of the stories I read as long as they're good stories.

beckyhammer
06-07-2016, 11:38 PM
I just did a quick analysis of the books I've rated on Goodreads. I calculated the average length of the books I gave 5 stars, as well as the average length of the books I gave 1 or 2 stars. (I lumped the latter together because I rarely ever give a book 1 star.) Results:

5-star books (42 books total): average length 428 pages
1- and 2-star books (47 books total): average length 334 pages

That's a pretty big difference! I guess this means I tend to prefer books on the slightly longer side (over 400 pages).

Wyndsgal
06-21-2016, 02:40 AM
I prefer books around 300 pages, but will generally read ones up to 400 pages. Past that I have to really want to read the story.

JimmyB27
06-21-2016, 03:24 PM
I only read books with precisely 276 pages. Sometimes, if it's a particularly good book, but longer, I'll read to page 276 and stop.

quicklime
06-28-2016, 10:13 AM
one more vote for "as long as they gotta be."

I never particularly liked The Stand, I felt it was long and bloated. At the same time, two of my favorite King books are Thinner and Bag of Bones, one pretty fucking long and one pretty fucking short, by King standards.....but they told their stories well.

THAT is my ideal length: "Enough but not too damn much."



that doesn't exactly lend itself to a tidy pagecount.

nossmf
08-23-2016, 06:06 AM
When I was young (teens/20s) I tended to prefer shorter books, <300 pgs, so I could read them fast and move on to the next book, I could never get enough different titles under my belt. Back in high school I made it a point of pride to read 5 books a week.

Now I'm pushing 40, I tend to prefer the longer epics, 500-800 for stand alone books or 1k+ for trilogies (which I consider to be a single story split up into multiple covers). I've only read a handful of uber-long single books (Shogun and a few Tom Clancy novels), but loved them deeply.

Which is all great to hear for the sake of my first novel, a 186k word fantasy, which has received great praise from readers. But until I get published a few times with shorter titles, I don't think I'll ever get the first novel trade-published. More's the pity.

Sunflowerrei
08-23-2016, 10:29 AM
I guess ideally, I tend to read more in the 300-600 page range, but if the story or subject sucks me in, I'll definitely go longer--I read two Ron Chernow books earlier this year and they were awesome and about 800 and over 900 pages, respectively. I read a lot of historical fiction and that tends to be a bit longer than some other genres, but not as long fantasy epics. I'll admit to being dissuaded by a long word count or a long page count, though. I've read all eight Outlander books, but by the last few, I could barely contain my impatience to move the story along already.

As for my preferred length to write--the one thing I've published is a 30,000 word novella, though I'm working on a novel now that I'm aiming for around 90K with.

zmethos
08-23-2016, 08:50 PM
I feel like about 400 pages is ideal for me, just based on novels I've read and enjoyed. Funny, because my own books tend to be shorter. And then again, I'm currently reading Wolf Hall, and it's massive. Still, the size might be one of the reasons I avoided picking it up for so long.

spork
08-23-2016, 10:41 PM
After a quick glance at my shelf, I'll apparently buy and read almost anything if it seems interesting in the store. I do tend to gravitate towards thinner books simply because they weigh less. At work, I am pretty much a turtle, carrying everything I need around in a backpack. If I'm lugging around a 500-page monster, it better be damn good.

Cindyt
08-23-2016, 11:10 PM
Fat ones.

nossmf
08-23-2016, 11:33 PM
Fat ones.

"He likes big BOOKS and he cannot lie!"

sunandshadow
09-15-2016, 02:54 PM
As a reader I tend to prefer novels in the 500-600 word range.

mrsmig
09-15-2016, 03:50 PM
Do you mean 500-600 page range? Because 500-600 words is barely a short story.

DancingMaenid
09-15-2016, 04:24 PM
Generally, I prefer novels in the 200-350 page range, give or take. I'm a pretty slow reader, not in the sense of words per minute but in the sense of only reading for short stretches of time as a rule, and not having a very good attention span. It can literally take me months to finish longer, more epic novels.

I do like the experience of reading a long novel over a period of time. It can be nice to meander through a 900-page novel over the course of a couple months. But I don't want that on a regular basis.

Alary
09-15-2016, 05:03 PM
Doorstoppers. I love doorstoppers.