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Are You Afraid of Big Bad Books?

By Bianca Smith • March 26, 2018

By big books, we mean anything with more than 700 pages. The ones that need two hands to read, and more than one cozy afternoon. There's such a prestige attached to them. Reading a big book lets you claim you're a real reader (personally, we dispute this, but the perception is there). You're considered accomplished for reading all The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not like the fluffy 300-page lightweight novels. Real books.

However, big books mean commitment. Stephen King's Dark Tower series is 4,250 pages. That's a scarily, serious reading marathon. Les Miserables is "only" 1,463 pages. Big books also tend to be classics and use more complex language, adding to the problem. But they have some deep, amazing stories and worlds that couldn't exist in fewer words.

We discovered this problem recently on our Facebook page. We asked which books you mean to read but never get around to, and you listed a lot of big books. As we believe all books deserve to be read, here are tips for reading big books. If you're curious what the big books are that everyone wants to read, check out the list below.

Tips for Reading Big Books

Break It Up Per Day

Remember the cute answer to how to eat an elephant? Bite by bite. Big books are the same but without the animal aspect. Set a reading goal per day. It could be a chapter or two, or a set number of pages or minutes. Be flexible though. Stopping in the middle of a ringwraith scene in The Lord of the Rings may cause nightmares.

Stagger Your Reading

Imagine you're reading a series of shorter books. If it's in parts or volumes, use them as stopping points and read something else. Then come back to the book later. If it's something with complex language, switch to a fluffy short fiction read. Books published in volumes work well for this. There's no need to even mark the page when you're jumping into a different book. And smaller volumes are physically easier to carry. Double win.

Block Time

Why save all the good time management tactics for work? Mark an hour or three and hide away with your book. A blanket fort filled with pillows is a comfy hiding spot. More realistically (and socially appropriate for adults), try your favorite cafe or a park.

Don't Stress

There's a saying that books get you at the time when you need them. The opposite happens too. Sometimes it's just not the right moment to read a big book. Life happens. Don't beat yourself up. Just put the book back on the shelf for another time.

Mix It Up

This doesn't work for everyone, but reading concurrent books can help with marathon reads. Some days you want something intense, and some days you need something light. Perhaps mix fiction with non-fiction and read what suits your mind each day.

Take Notes or Bookmark Lists

So who is that man again? In a long book, you may meet a character at the start and then not again for many chapters. If the book has a character list, bookmark the page to find it easily. Other options include taking notes or checking Wikipedia. Beware of spoilers online though.

Read more by Bianca Smith

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