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Old 10-20-2008, 04:27 PM   #31
rhadin
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Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
For those of you who don't like short stores, may I suggest, if you haven't already, reading Stephen Kings little gem
"Nightshift"? Written in his early, and best years, (IMHO) these stories blew me away.........short, yes, they really sock a punch! Just a suggestion....
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm one who dislikes short stories, even though I have read any number of them over my life. The problem is that I rarely find them satisfying. I'm just beginning to get involved with the characters or the plot or whatever and it ends. Granted a story shouldn't be a longer than necessary and I think some of the worst books I have read began as well-accepted short stories that got lengthened for a second go at a new market, but there is something that for me a short story is missing.

As I think about it, it is similar to my work. Years ago I edited journal articles and books. What I discovered was that just as I was beginning to get into the swing of the author's text and get a feel for the author's writing style, the article was over and it was time to move on to the next article, written by a different author in a different manner. I never really had time to synchronize with the authors. In contrast, books gave me that opportunity. Consequently, I rarely edit articles these days, concentrating instead on long tomes (1500+ pages).

Perhaps that is why I do not enjoy reading short stories: N sooner than I get in synch with the author than I need to move on to another story.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:34 PM   #32
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Re: Battlefield Earth
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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
In my opinion that was a book too long by its number of pages - 1. The cover would have been enough for it, no need for text
That book prompted a fair bit of snickering and head scratching in my circles. We couldn't decide whether it was an unpublished manuscript sitting in a drawer from the days when he conceived Dianetics and proceeded to Get Rich Quick, or whether it really was a new book, written since his return to writing, and he simply hadn't learned anything in the intervening 30 years.

No such question exists about the "Mission: Earth" series. The question there is who wrote the last 5 or 6, since Hubbard died part way through. I heard a rumor A.E. Van Vogt was responsible, which would make sense, but haven't seen confirmation one way or the other.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:35 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
What a dreadful concept, that a book should be judged by its length. Quality, not quantity, is what counts.
Harry, I'm not certain that the argument is about quality vs. quantity as much as it is about how fast one melds with the author's prose and characters and what one wants to get out of a reading experience.

I don't like to read short stories. It has nothing to do with their quality; rather it has to do with the effort I need to put in to become in tune with the plot and the characters and whether when done I find myself unsatisfied because of the shortened development -- even though the development is more than adequate for the particular story. (I hope I'm being clear.) I want to grow with the characters so that when they hurt I hurt, when they laugh I laugh, etc. This takes a long time, at least for me.

Another genre I do not enjoy is poetry (with some exception). Yet poetry is really the epitome of the short story.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:47 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm one who dislikes short stories, even though I have read any number of them over my life. The problem is that I rarely find them satisfying. I'm just beginning to get involved with the characters or the plot or whatever and it ends. Granted a story shouldn't be a longer than necessary and I think some of the worst books I have read began as well-accepted short stories that got lengthened for a second go at a new market, but there is something that for me a short story is missing.

As I think about it, it is similar to my work. Years ago I edited journal articles and books. What I discovered was that just as I was beginning to get into the swing of the author's text and get a feel for the author's writing style, the article was over and it was time to move on to the next article, written by a different author in a different manner. I never really had time to synchronize with the authors. In contrast, books gave me that opportunity. Consequently, I rarely edit articles these days, concentrating instead on long tomes (1500+ pages).

Perhaps that is why I do not enjoy reading short stories: N sooner than I get in synch with the author than I need to move on to another story.
'sigh. I guess I shouldn't assume just because I get so much enjoyment from many, tho not all, short stories, everyone else should. I know there are people on here who think "Dune" is one of the greatest stories ever written. It sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:39 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
If I'm on the fence whether to buy it or not, long books tip it over to buying them.
...
Hi GatorDeb,

Your question reminded me of one of my college roommates (Hi Tom!) who would always SMELL a book to help him decide whether or not to buy it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
I believe it is a writer's job to use every word that is needed to tell the story, and not one word more or one word less.
...
Hi Lemurion,

Your comment reminded me of my 7th grade English teacher (Hi Mrs. Hazelman) who replied, if anyone asked her how long our essays "had" to be, "As long as a woman's skirt--long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to maintain interest."

Regards,
R.L.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:22 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
It takes a lot for me to buy a book that is less than 250 pages. I love 400+ page books. Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn't matter. The way I figure I get twice the value from a $10 500-page book than from a $10 250-page book. That doesn't always hold if I like the book enough, but it is a heavy consideration. If I'm on the fence whether to buy it or not, long books tip it over to buying them.

How about you?
Depends on the genera for me. If it's non fiction, I usually go for longer. There's some shorter fiction books that take a while to read, while non-fiction usually stays around the same pace.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:47 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by rlparker View Post
Your comment reminded me of my 7th grade English teacher (Hi Mrs. Hazelman) who replied, if anyone asked her how long our essays "had" to be, "As long as a woman's skirt--long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to maintain interest."
That made me giggle... which I usually don't do. I think too that means that essays are much shorter now than they were in the 20's.

BOb
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:36 PM   #38
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I know there are people on here who think "Dune" is one of the greatest stories ever written. It sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it.
I thought Dune was overrated and overhyped. I struggled through the first book, started the second, and finally decided that the author should be paying me to read his books rather than the other way 'round.

But isn't that the beauty of reading and literature? So many folk, so many choices, so many likes and dislikes.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:42 PM   #39
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I used to have a bias against large books.

I remember ordering Journey To The West from a used book store one year. I saw the acts on PBS and wanted to read the stories. Well, that thing was four volumes, easily 600-700 pages a piece. I remember remarking to the owner of the store, "Wow, that's a lot of reading." And they said, "That's what makes it so great!" I honestly had never thought of large books that way before. (I was wizened at the age of 25.)

For a long, long time, I was always cognizant of the length of everything -- of the chapters, of the book, of any arcs within the book -- and I always felt a little frustrated when I was in a large book (500+ pages) because there was more stuff I wanted to read. Even today, I will think about the length a little bit each time I pick up a book, but I rarely decide I don't want a book because it's large.

Today, I think I honestly like books of all sizes. The change has come become I can become lost in most books. At that point, the page numbers don't matter anymore.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:24 PM   #40
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Length doesn't play a part for me. Some of my favourite novels I can read in an hour or so, others take over a week; it really depends on the novel. I wouldn't want to read a Magnus Mills novel, for example, that was the length of, say Pynchon's Against the Day; and none of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy would work if it was as short as, say, Restraint of Beasts.

Having said that, I do remember really begrudging paying full novel price for an Iain M Bannks novella and short story collection!

As far as non-fiction goes the content is more important than the length. I have got a couple of hefty photography tomes, which have rarely been looked at, and several short books covering techniques I actually want to know about which are almost falling apart.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
I thought Dune was overrated and overhyped. I struggled through the first book, started the second, and finally decided that the author should be paying me to read his books rather than the other way 'round.

But isn't that the beauty of reading and literature? So many folk, so many choices, so many likes and dislikes.
yes yes and yes!
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #42
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That made me giggle... which I usually don't do. I think too that means that essays are much shorter now than they were in the 20's.

BOb
Hmmm....You might want to take a look at some photos of '20s flappers....
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:12 AM   #43
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Nope, exactly the opposite - unless an anthology.

If is too long, a waste of time.

Long and average, or long and bad is way worse than short and average.
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:39 AM   #44
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Well, while length does not usually concern me when selecting new books, it does definitely affect which books I choose to Re buy in digital form.

I've found that I've re bought quiet a few books that I already own just so that I could reread them with ease as they are too big and bulky to read comfortably.

Still when Buying a eBook, I am usually concerned about price as I place a lower value on eBooks which have a lot of limitations compared to pBooks. As Such I've often not bought a book in eBook format as I thought it was to short to justify the asking price.
Keep in mind that I'd already seen the book in paper and as such was not willing to pay the same price for a more limited version. This also applies to larger works, but to lesser extent, that the reduction is size is greater conforming some more additional benefit.
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:43 AM   #45
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What a dreadful concept, that a book should be judged by its length. Quality, not quantity, is what counts.
I just could not say it as good as rhadin did:
Quote:
Harry, I'm not certain that the argument is about quality vs. quantity as much as it is about how fast one melds with the author's prose and characters and what one wants to get out of a reading experience.

I don't like to read short stories. It has nothing to do with their quality; rather it has to do with the effort I need to put in to become in tune with the plot and the characters and whether when done I find myself unsatisfied because of the shortened development -- even though the development is more than adequate for the particular story. (I hope I'm being clear.) I want to grow with the characters so that when they hurt I hurt, when they laugh I laugh, etc. This takes a long time, at least for me.
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