Saturday Musings: In the Pursuit of Always Reading More

Saturday morning has become my time to catch up on all my favorite blogs. One of these is Modern Mrs. Darcy, a blog largely devoted to books.

The post I read today talked about big books – those with 600+ pages. In her introduction to the list, Anne Bogel says this:

I do love a good long read, truly. But these days, I get hung up on the opportunity cost—a fancy way of saying I could read five full-length novels in the time it would take me to read Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, for example. And wouldn’t I rather read five books than just one?

This really spoke to me because I’m feeling the same way. I commented on the blog post, but it’s destined to get lost in the 150+ comments. However, I really am interested in what others think about this so I am reposting my comment here in the following section.

The Opportunity Cost of Reading Big Books

Can we talk about opportunity cost for a minute?

It’s funny you should mention it. I’m reading The Time in Between right now and really enjoying it. However, at the same time I’m thinking: this is really long, and I can’t wait to get through it so I can start on another book.

I don’t like that. I don’t like that I can’t seem to savor the book I’m reading without looking forward to what’s next. Obviously, as a book blogger, Anne has a professional reason for churning through books quickly, but I can’t figure out why I do it. Is it because I have too many books on my to-read list? Is it because now that I’m pushing 40, I’m very much aware there are more books in the world than I could possibly ever cover?

I’d love to hear what others think. How do we enjoy our books without feeling like it’s a race to finish them?

Some Favorite Big Books

As for Anne’s big book suggestions, I have only read a few on her list. I loved The Stand – a book that I will forever link to months studying abroad in Latvia – and Atlas Shrugged. The latter was another book I read in college, and I probably understood it less than I thought I did. As for The Historian, that gets a “don’t bother” from me.

Other long books I’ve made way through in recent years include:

  • Doctor Zhivago – To say I struggled through it would be an understatement.
  • IT – One of my favorite Stephen King books, and I’ve read a lot.
  • The Dark Tower books – A mixed bag. I like some of the characters and story line, but it got bogged down eventually. I feel like series peaked at Wizard and Glass for me.
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Cannot recommend it enough!
  • Twilight series — Judge me if you must, but these were quick, enjoyable reads…even if they did put the feminist movement back 50 years. 

Let me know what you think about reading big books and how you enjoy what’s on your lap instead of fixating on what’s next on the list.

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