Something I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of days is the whole idea of short stories, novella, and full on novels. I think its great to mix it up some, but I got to wondering if it just might be worth bringing this up that perhaps over the past month or so one of these categories might have gotten abused a little in my reading. Short stories are a great thing as it can bring a feeling of satisfaction of finishing a book without putting in a lot of hours reading. But, can one read so much of one sort of book that you miss out on true satisfaction of reading a longer one? The more that I thought about this particularly yesterday I felt less sure about the original answer that I’d come up with. My first thought was yes.
That was until I realized that length might not truly matter as much. This wasn’t the first time I thought this and was more sure about that after reading a number of very good and well written short stories last week. This realization felt very freeing in a manner of speaking. The more I thought this through as a reader it becomes more about quality than the quantity of pages. I don’t know about you, but I have certainly read some crummy full length novels and felt unfulfilled at the end. I want a book and/or story that is going to draw me in from the very first page and then at the end feel almost sad that the book was over. This very feeling is something I felt after reading the last two books mentioned in the prior post by Simone Pond. Yes, they were short and I read each in a single sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. I was honestly glad I had stumbled on these two books and another two that were free over the last weekend. I totally plan to read more of this series and seriously may buy the others. I am also enjoying a short story by Lucas Bale right now called What it Means to Survive which was chosen to test out another new to me author whom I happen to have a series of books by. So, in the end I would say that shorter stories and even novella length reads are a great way to test the waters and you just might be surprised by them. I certainly was regarding these in particular.
That being said I am in no way advocating one should purely jump in and only read short books even if it feels so satisfying to say you finished something. I hit on something that made sense to me personally so this might not work for you reading wise. On any given week I’ll usually have three or four books of various lengths and even genres going at the same time. I have set a goal for this next set of books on the docket if you want to call it that. The next batter up was something I’ve intended to read for a long time and it may come of some surprise to you all that in all these years I’ve never read the Game of Thrones books by George R. R. Martin. I’d don’t exactly remember when I picked the box set of all five books up, but my goal is to tackle these and finish them up this year.
Well, there you have it loud and clear. It is my opinion that length of books means less than the quality contained within the pages of our reading selections. I would even go as far as to say that in some cases a short story can be just as satisfying to read as a novel of 500 pages or more. I want a story that is going to engage me. I have a general rule that has held up well over the past year which I have given the name of the 10% rule. If a book hasn’t captured me thoroughly by then or I have it at the mark and find it sitting longer than a week or two maybe it’s just not tripping my trigger. What is your take and how do you deal with deciding when a book is good enough to continue on? Maybe you are like my sister and just push ahead reading the book and at the end wish you hadn’t feeling a bit cheated.