Yesterday I spent the day researching literary journals for short stories. I am finishing my first few and want to send them out by Christmas. One of the journals I am considering asks that all submissions come with a receipt for a book. The point is to encourage writers to buy books – as in, the physical object, rather than a digital version. I have my opinions regarding this policy, but I’ll save it for another post.
I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble in my wallet that I received for renewing my newspaper subscription (or cable bill, or something that I would have done anyway). So I trucked on over to my local chain box bookstore and went a-browsing.
Why are books so short now-a-days?
Every book that I picked up clocked in at 250 pages or less and all had huge font. When did we start marketing novellas as novels? Now, in full disclosure, I have been reading too many eighteenth century novels for my own good. Tristram Shandy? Check. Tom Jones? Check. Clarissa? Check check check. I also understand that many genres have their own book length averages. Cozies are going to be on the short side while scifi tomes are going to need a forklift.
But why are the average, run of the mill literary fiction novels so short? I don’t want to buy a book I’ll finish in three hours even if the cover is so beautiful I want to frame it.
Another pet peeve? Repackaging 10 year old books and putting them on the “New Release” table. Yeah, I’m on to your game, Penguin.
What book did I end up with? Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. 661 pages. It’ll be a while before it appears on Book Review Friday.