Jul 122013

Today I wanted to discuss how the length of a book affects the review I write.

I find it harder to write reviews for short stories and very long stories. The “sweet spot” seems to be 150-400 pages. Outside that range, it becomes more difficult.

Short stories are hard because of the desire to avoid spoilers. When everything happens in few words, it is hard to avoid giving everything away while still conveying a full picture of the story and its characters. Quite often, there isn’t enough story to really get a firm opinion for everyone and everything. I usually end up with a feeling that either I wanted more, or I didn’t.

Long stories are hard because there is just so much of it. How can you give an overall impression when there is so much room for plot twists and character growth. I find that it is hard to narrow my review down to just a few points. Doing so means I ignore huge parts of the book in my review. Since I don’t tend to write really long reviews, this results in a review that I feel doesn’t adequately over the book as a whole.

What about you? Do you find it hard to review short or long books? What’s your length sweet spot?

  5 Responses to “Discussion: How book length affects reviewing”

  1. I have a really hard time leaving out spoilers when I review any book, so length doesn’t affect me in that way. However, I do notice that I find it incredibly difficult to review short stories in anthologies. I think it depends on how much discussion the book or story generates. And if I don’t like a book, I always have more to say than if I did. Unfair, perhaps, but there it is.

  2. I just wish I was shorter with my reviewing, because my reviews end up taking a really long time. It’s also hard when a book is incredibly long and you ‘invest’ so much time into it for only one review. It made me not want to read long books and is one of the reasons I have stepped away from constant book blogging 🙂 Very interesting thoughts though, I do find short stories hard as well!

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I also have the same problem, too long and involved a book with a huge cast of characters does make it difficult to write a fair review. Short stories I only review as a special to an author or narrator, for the reasons you so aptly pointed out. Jennie

  4. I don’t feel like length of story effects the length of my review. Of course if a story is only 10-20 pages long, that’s a bit different. But anything over about 60-70 pages…it really depends on the depth and the detail of the story. If I’m captivated by certain parts of the world I want to say more. If it’s all action or dialogue I tend to say less. Fantasy and science fiction tend to get longer reviews from me and romance, action or drama are a bit shorter. The less characters or the less complex the characters also makes a huge difference, IMO.

  5. I don’t read a whole lot of short books, but I definitely find it hard to review longer books. It does feel like you’re leaving a lot out, and other than writing a novel-length review, it’s impossible to cover everything. I like books that around 250-300 pages. Lately it seems like a lot of books I’ve read could stand to be 50-100 pages shorter because chunks of the story are filler. I’m starting to avoid longer books for that reason.

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