Does Size Really Matter?

My question for today is: Does size matter?  How’s that for a lead in?  Before we go much further, I need to clarify, because I’m sure you’re wondering – the size of what??  The size of a book!  Does page length sway your reading or purchasing decisions when you are weighing your options for your next read?

For the longest time I was very resistant to the idea of a novella.  I didn’t think an author could satisfactorily create a setting and a reader connection with the characters in a shorter length story.  I have discovered that  I was wrong, and I was wondering about your views on the length of a book.  What’s the perfect length of a story before you pick up a title to read?

Typically I would say however long it takes to tell a good story, but outside factors often weigh on my decision about page length.  During the week, when I only have limited time and energy to read, I don’t necessarily want to start wading through a long, complicated book.   I am more inclined to pick up something that I perceive to be a quicker, less demanding read, saving the longer, and therefore, more complex, again, in my mind, reads for the weekend.  After a stressful day at work, I don’t want to feel pressured to read a longer, more involved book.  Silly, I know!

In the past, I haven’t enjoyed shorter length novels.  I refer to novellas that are between 100 – 150 pages.  Then I read Courtney Milan’s Unlocked and realized that I have been missing out on some great reads.  Last weekend I read Theresa Meyers’ Shadowlander, the first book in her new Shadow Sisters series, and I liked that, too!  The world building was interesting for such a short story, and the romance between the leads was blazing hot.  I am looking forward to more in that series.  Last night I finished Kelly Hunter’s Wish, a self-pubbed short format romance.  Despite some Aussie turns of phrase that sounded very awkward to my American ears, I enjoyed Wish as well.  Now I’m all excited about novellas, a format I had completely dismissed until this year. 

When you are looking for a new book to start, does the size of it matter?  Do you balk at longer novels?  I admit that I do.  Anything over 400 pages is a bit daunting now, given my limited free time.  I used to love long, epic fantasy novels, such as George R R Martin A Song of Ice and Fire.  Give me one of those epic reads, and I was a very happy camper.  Now, though, I tend to read shorter page length books, and kind of dread longer books.  I find this turn around in my reading preferences a little bit ironic.  From colossal tomes to feather-weight novellas is quite a switch.  I think that I don’t want to invest the time in a longer length book because there are so many choices of reading material now, especially with eBook publishers and self-pubbed authors vying for my attention.

So, how do you weigh in?  Does size really matter, when you are looking for your next great read?

Top 5 Sundays- Most Awaited Books for the 2nd Half of 2011!

Larissa at Larissa’s Bookish Life has a weekly Top 5 meme that she runs on Sundays.  I love posting about upcoming books, so I am participating this week.  This week’s question:

Most awaited Books 2nd Half 2011!

There are so many books that I am looking forward to that it’s hard to name just 5, but here goes (and yes, I have mentioned most of these many, many times! I really, really want to read them!):

Crossed by Ally Condie

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

What books are you looking forward to for the last half of the year?

Booking Through Thursday-Fluff

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.

What book do you pick up?

Sadly, this is my life right now.  Lots of stress!  Everywhere! Stress at work, scary, life-changing medical issues for the one person who is the pillar of my existence; this has not been a good year for us.  It left me frightened.  It made me feel helpless.  It made me realize how precious and fragile life really is.  My reading habits reflect this, and I have started reading lighter, fluffier fare.  I have turned back to an old stand-by for stress reduction – Harlequin romances and lighter contemporary reads.  Right now I need happy endings, and I need books where all of the protagonist’s troubles are resolved in easily consumable chunks of about 200 pages.  Humorous reads are especially sought after right now.  If a book makes me laugh, it gets extra brownie points. 

What about you?  What’s your comfort food for reading?

Review: Time For Kids Big Book of How

 

Title: Time for Kids Big Book of How

Author: Editors of Time for Kids

Publisher: Time

ISBN: 978-1603201841

 

 

From Amazon:

TIME For Kids The Big Book of How presents kids 8-12 years old with answers to the kinds of intriguing questions that appeal to their sense of curiosity. Colorful graphics, spectacular photos and clear, engaging diagrams will help answer such questions as: How does a chameleon change colors?; How can a person survive in the jungle?; How do you build a teepee?; How do diamonds form?; How do light sticks work?; How are 3-D movies made?; How do astronauts train for a space mission?; How do we get cavities?; How does solar energy work?

Divided by subject area-from animals, the human body and technology to sports, food and green issues-kids will discover the background behind the questions through the book’s photos, diagrams and art as well as its clear text. Of course, TIME For Kids goes beyond just answering the question, and engages kids with hands-on activities at the end of each chapter that bring life to a topic or idea they just read about. For example: If in the technology chapter kids learn how an airplane flies, the "How to" spread might include step-by-step instructions about how to fold a paper airplane or create a rotating helicopter. TIME For Kids The Big Book of How is a must-have book to satisfy the most curious of kids.

Review:

I don’t usually read many non-fiction books, but this one had me a little intrigued.  The cover blurbs of “How do elephants communicate?” and “How to keep your computer safe from viruses?” certainly grabbed my attention.  I was interested to see how the book was put together, and how the information was presented to the intended audience of younger readers.  And, hey, even I enjoy learning new things.

I love the way the book is set up.  It’s divided into chapters, and each explains a topic of interest.  My favorite is the first chapter, Animals.  The chapters are further divided into 2-page spreads that explore smaller sub-topics, like “How do Animals See at Night” and “How Does a Spider Spin its Web.”  To re-enforce each concept, the pages are packed with vivid, full-color photographs and illustrations.  There are even activities at the end of every chapter, so young readers engage, hands-on, with the topics of discussion.  Who doesn’t need to learn how to make a compass?  Or how to make ice cream?  You can even learn how to mark your territory at the end of the Animal chapter, and tell me, who doesn’t want to do that??

By keeping the explanations concise and meaningful, it’s hard to become bored while flipping through the book.  The narrative is easy to understand, and the visuals make for a memorable read.  Though the book is stuffed with information, it doesn’t overwhelm, and it never feels like a chore to read through the subject matter.  This would be the perfect book to have on hand for those rainy summer days when your kids are stuck inside and need something to fight a bout of boredom.  It will even keep finicky adults occupied with the broad range of topics included in this fun book.

Grade: A-

Review copy provided by publisher