This is regarding Neal Stephenson’s latest novel, Readme.

I don’t have a problem with long books. My two favourite books, Atlas Shrugged and Les Mis’erablesĀ are both long, significantly more than 1000 pgs. If a novel is more than just a story, say having a deep philosophical underpinning, or massively epic in scope, as are respectively my two favourites, then the length is appropriate and justified and well worth it.

Reamde is a great thriller, a good story and very contemporary. But it is just a thriller. No more, no less. I thoroughly recommend it for what it is, but it’s not going to become a classic. I doubt I’ll read it again.

So for Reamde to be 1050 pgs I found frustrating and just way too long. It took me 3 weeks of committed reading, dedicating some time every day to complete it. Almost a chore. Denying myself the opportunity to move onto other equally worthy novels.

Is it an arrogant notion of mine that an author should respect my time as a potential reader of his or her book, and that by making the novel 1000+ pgs is not very considerate? It’s true that I don’t have to read his book, but I want to, but I also want my time invested to be commensurate with the intellectual depth of the novel. In this case it wasn’t commensurate.

I gave it 3/5 stars on, but had it been packed into say 6-700 pgs I’d have given it 4 stars and not felt the need for this rant.

About Alasdair

Capetonian, software developer, land surveyor.
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