Wednesday 22 July 2015

TL:DR - I like big books (and I cannot lie)

I'm reading The Vorrh

The Vorrh (Vintage Original) by Brian…

and it is a thing of beauty:

and I'm 1/5th of the way through and it is 500 pages long

The dream had hollowed him; no trace of rest remained as he crawled into the morning, defeated and abused. Hot water did nothing; the stain of the night was indelible. He dressed grudgingly, tightly buttoning himself into a costume of scratchy, irritant lies. With one gulp of bitter black coffee, he walked out of his room and into the day, speaking to nobody, Outside the hotel, the heat had waited, ready to pounce.

It's often lush, meandering prose is a delight.

And yet.

Anyone who has seen my TBR (To Be Read pile) will understand that there is a counterweight, a massive drag factor, when it comes to jumping into big books. I read a lot of books, around 100 a year on average (I can hear some of my even more bookish friends scoffing that hundred books isn't so many) and by that count I have more than a couple of  year's reading patiently waiting for me to get round to it on my TBR.

I also get sent several books every month by the publishers I review for ( I don't just review here)

So, when I pick up a book like this one I have two diametrically opposed desires. The first will be familiar to you, if you've ever been lost inside a story, as wanting to savour the rich texture of the prose and meander slowly through the experience. The other is to finish the book as fast as possible and get onto the next in the list.

The books in the corner of the library. The ones that have not even been shelved yet, due  partly to there not being enough shelf space (I don't have too many books, I have too few shelves!) and partly because until they've passed the readibility test they are not worthy to sit amongst former literary love affairs. Those books create a drag effect. Every time I venture into the library (or more prosaically, the spare room) their presence makes itself felt. "We're still here." they whisper drily.

So I am always nervous of taking on a big book. It must grab me, it must overcome the inertia generated by the massive TBR. I am 1/5th of the way through The Vorrh, and I will finish it, and although I recognise its merits, I can't help resent it a little. I could have read two or three books in the same time. Two or three books would have seemed to have chipped away a bigger space on the TBR.

I like big books, but sometimes I wish for faster reads.

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