Don’t Fear the BIG
Kami L Martin
I like Big Books
And I cannot lie. Now either you are singing that to the tune of the Sir Mix-a-lot, have no idea who I am talking about, or are rolling your eyes that yet another bibliophile used that metaphor! Maybe you are asking yourself how anyone can claim they like Big Books and be honestly telling the truth? Well, believe me- it's true! I like ‘em chunky! Give me a little weight on that binding! This wasn’t right away and it didn’t happen overnight. My love for larger books came with my desire to satisfy the craving. Ever read a good book but then find yourself saying, it was good, I just wanted, MORE! And some authors do not disappoint. Some have such a gift for creating these stories that its almost guaranteed when that author publishes something, you’ll be one of the first to snag a copy.
For some big books comes with real fear. Let’s look at some of the stigma and excuses that come with lots of bound pages.
- They are too heavy to lug around
- Page One, 800 pages to go- I hate it already
- It's full of excessive plot-fillers (get to the point)
- There are too many characters to keep track of
- Takes too long to read
In a digital age, weight should no longer be a factor. You can easily download The Stand Complete and Uncut into your Kindle and not add time to your commute. Another great way to ingest a larger book may be in the form of audio. Now I know this is an argument all on its own, whether audio is reading, but audio is important on so many levels for various types of readers. And if it's not for you, that’s okay too!
Don’t go into a book anticipating anything! Negative or Positive. Go into a large book the way you would any other. Because of a recommendation. Because it was a cover buy. Because you like the author's other work. Yes, it's big but just read. Don’t become obsessed with page count.
It may seem that big books can get long-winded but our author is sharing years of research, time vested, and world-building creation. They are essentially creating a visual palate on paper in written form. It's art. They are the artist; the creator. The pioneer that has written something unique. If a story is well written and formatted with care you’ll be 200 pages or three hours in and it will feel like only a moment has passed. Not all books are well written regardless of size. You’ll know a good book when you find it and it won’t disappoint. The plot will essentially write itself.
There are going to be a varied number of characters in a book regardless of size. Keep in mind with larger books you have more characters because the author is often building a multiverse, or a new world, or a city or state from scratch or reworking it__ but you don’t have to remember everyone you encounter! Not everyone is a main character or is meant to drive the plot. Some are merely a mention. Don’t overthink too many details or you will tire your brain and burn yourself out.
One of my favorite authors of all time is someone you may have heard of? Stephen King. He’s kind of a big deal in some circles (hee, hee) But so often people tell me they haven’t bothered to read him because everything he writes seems like a chunker! I can’t argue that. King is a master of his craft and he is notorious for creating a multiverse like no other. Like King, take bigger books in like a seven-course meal. Ingest it in pieces and slowly digest it. Set timers, or a goal for a completed number of pages per day- or every other day. Don’t smother yourself! It is a book just like others of varied sizes. Like a meal, make it an enjoyable experience.
Tackling the Tomes
There are those that are intended to be larger than life. Bigger than us concepts and subject matter. A tome is one that I think is often misused in the world of social presence. A tome, although large in size, is a scholarly book. One volume of a multi-volume scholarly work consisting of 1,000 or more pages. In the age of BookTube and InstaStories you see where more content creators are tailoring this to suit their definition of a ‘magnum opus.’ This is not a way to describe every large book over 500 pages. These are more like textbooks or more dense material. Maybe try not adding these to a 2-week readathon?
BIG is Better
Now as you may have heard a time or two, size doesn’t matter. Oh, but it does! It really just depends on what one is referring to I suppose for it to matter to you. It was Freddy Mercury who said, “The bigger the better, in everything.” So why not books too? A book that contains a larger page count is intimidating. When you set out on a book buying experience lets be honest, for many, they will shy away from buying a larger book in fear of complex storylines, long narratives, over exemplified descriptions, an exemplary cast of characters to keep up with, or fear of completion. Don’t overthink it, but certainly give larger books the opportunity to be read and not fall back on old habits as to why you're not trying.
Moving on to BIGGER and Better, books
Now that we have eliminated the disparaging tone of dismissing bigger books due to stigma let’s look at positive ways of encouraging yourself and those around you to tackle and incorporate larger paged reads to your TBR. Simply Put, TRY! “You do not like them. So you say. Try Them! Try Them! And you may.” _ Dr.Seuss, Green Eggs, and Ham
See the idea has been with us since childhood. Happy hearty Reading!
Kami L Martin