Does the Size of My Book Make It Impressive?

“Wow, that book is huge! I’m impressed.”

I’m always perplexed by this kind of declaration. Are you impressed that I’m attempting to read a lengthy book? Does that mean that I must have lots of time or dedication? Or, is this a statement about my intelligence? Are you implying that I must be smart to attempt a book of such stature? Perhaps it’s more of a personal reflection on your part. Do large tomes intimidate you?

I’ve never understood the intimidation factor of lengthy novels. When I look at a lengthy novel (I’m thinking over 500 pages), I’m usually excited. I’m especially hungry for the novel if it’s by an author I adore. If it’s a favorite author, 500-800 pages (or more) might not seem like enough.

I’m thinking of the ever-thickening volumes of the Harry Potter series. The 7th book was over 700 pages, and I was still left aching for more. Some of that may have been the grief of series ending. But seriously, if there had been an extra 300 pages laying around for the Deathly Hallows, I would have gobbled them up as hungrily as I did the other 700 or so. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, fellow Potties. Oh, that’s not the correct term? Hmmm… Potterites? Wizards? Pott-heads? Wait, that last one seems off… *raises eyebrow*

Back to novel-size obsession, what is the deal? Seriously? Because I never quite understand the intent of the person making the observation, I never quite know how to respond – or even if a response is necessary. Most of the time it’s a complete stranger that’s making this exclamation, and so I can’t divine intent without some sort of telepathic ability.

Even if I know the person, I’m somehow vaguely offended by this statement. You’re impressed that I’m reading this book? So, you think I can’t handle a book of considerable size? Do I not seem up to the challenge? Is this even a challenge? Are you somehow proud of my reading habits? It just seems a bit condescending.

I’m probably ascribing malicious intent when none was actually intended. Whatever laugh-not-laugh and narrowed eyes I return to this declaration are usually received awkwardly. And yet, I still feel that you’re getting as good as your giving.

It’s possible that you want to talk about reading habits in general and that you’re not as much of a reader as I am. I accept that, and if that’s truly the intent of your conversation, please continue with a follow up line about your own reading habits. If your opener is about how impressed you are by my tome, you won’t get far.

In all probability you’re really trying to engage me in a conversation on reading based on my current book selection. I would love to talk with you about my book! Please, ask me questions about it. Where am I in the story? How do I like the characters? Have I read anything else by this author? Is this my genre of choice? All of these questions are acceptable and exciting, and they all engage me in the best kind of discussions. But, seriously, please refrain from expressing how impressed you are by how big the book is.