For someone who reads long books, there are those reads where I take my time because I do not want the story to end or to leave the characters behind. On the other hand, there are those that keep me reading but I still have a mental demand for something new. The books that come to mind for the former are The Passage and The Twelve (City of Mirrors is next!) and Anna Karenina. It is quite a gift for an author to slam out 500+ pages and leave me wanting more. Those are the long books I love. For a long book to be gripping, the characters have to be well defined to the point where they feel real and the story has to be equally compelling. Usually authors get one or the other right.
I am not someone who has to read a book all the way through. If I am no longer engaged, I have no issue sending it to the bookshelf graveyard. But once you get into page 530 of a 720 page book and you’ve finally hit something of a climax, I don’t know if that speaks to my patience or the author’s ability to build up a story.
Two books fall into this category:
The first is “The Meaning of Night” by Michael Cox. I do not remember much regarding the details or the characters names; however, I do remember a very strong story that you read for the end/final show-down. I remember the feeling of reading the last page. While the book was very long – at 700+ pages – the feeling at the end made it worth while. In the same vein, I am reading “By Gaslight“. Another clunker of a book at 721 pages. This one has a grip and with a little over 100 pages to go, I am hoping to have the same feeling at its conclusion that I did with “The Meaning of Night.” Although it has kept my attention, I find myself thinking ,”Are we done yet?”