Book length (was Re: tad williams)

Rebecca Ganetzky rganetzk at
Fri Feb 7 08:22:17 EST 2003

>Strangely enough, I'm more inclined to Christian's tastes -- at least,
>I've been coming to the conclusion very recently that if a book is
>longer than about 300-400 pages, I'm likely to find that it just drags too
>much.  So maybe it isn't so much *length* as *pace*.  My recent
>encounter with "The Baker's Boy" is one of the chief reasons I draw this
>conclusion about myself -- I was frustrated because nothing was
>*happening*.  That isn't to say that a longer book can't have a faster
>pace, but what seems to be more often the case is that the longer the
>book, the slower the pace.
<delurking twice in one morning>
I think that pretty adequately sums up my taste as well.  Accept for 
me it's not just how much happens, but ... I can't quite explain it. 
For instance, de Lint's The Onion Girl did not hit me as a 
particularly long book (508 pages), because de Lint usually writes at 
a short story pace (the book has other problems for regular de Lint 
readers...for instance the need to recap and summarize almost every 
subplot from previous books.  Which bothered me more than it should 
have as I'd read many of those stories the day before.  de Lint 
fixated?  Me?!), whereas Tolkien seems much longer to me, because of 
the slower pacing.  But Onion Girl is very focused on the events over 
a very short course of time, although many flashbacks and the like 
get involved and LOTR covers many more events.  I guess for me, it 
has to do with telling v. showing -- Onion Girl had dialogue and 
character development, plus other devices to reveal underlying plot. 
LOTR, on the other hand, I found a slower read because Tolkien uses 
the same literary techniques (mostly telling) throughout the book.
Rebecca D. Ganetzky
"...and do not say that a thing is impossible to understand, for 
eventually it will be understood."-Rabbi Hillel
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list