Recently I was finishing up a fantasy series I had started. Throughout the series, each book I read was about 400–500 pages long. It seemed pretty average for any story, so I continued to read the books with all my love and attention. Then, I finally got to the final book and realized something very quickly. This book is over 800 pages long.
I was shocked that I didn’t see this coming. It was like going to a restaurant during rush hour thinking that you’ll be fine and learning you’re going to have to wait an hour before you sit. How did I not know that the final book was going to be this long? Was I prepared to read something this lengthy? What happened to the other books in the series being way shorter?
When it comes to reading really big novels, you need to come prepared. You brace yourself for the length and mentally prepare to read. While this time I was really caught off guard, here’s some tips for easing yourself into reading some pretty big books.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
If you know that a big book is coming up on your TBR, get ready. I like to take a day to mentally prepare myself for a big book because it’s going to be a big chunk of my time to read and it’s going to be a lot of story to get into. If anything, I learned from my experience with just picking up a big book that it’s hard to want to continue reading when you’re already sadly resigned to the fact it’s big.
Take Your Time
I think the best advice I can give you when it comes to reading pretty massive novels is to take your time. I found myself constantly challenging myself. Read 400 pages today. Read all day and forget all of your other projects and concerns. Pushing yourself to read a huge novel will only result in burn out and you’ll burn out quickly. Take breaks. Make sure to hydrate and keep in mind how you’re feeling and your mood. You won’t be able to get through another section of the book if you’re not happy reading at the moment.
Take a Deep Dive on the Table of Contents
Sometimes it’s easy for a reader to manage a big book in smaller pieces. Grab your book and check out the table of contents. Are there ways to break up the book into smaller, manageable chunks? If so, use post-its or darts to bookmark these pages. I also like to write a little note to myself at that point to write my thoughts. It’s easier to read a book that has five parts that are separately 100–200 pages long than dive into all 800 pages at once.
Make Sure to Jot Your Thoughts Down
One of the biggest issues I have with reading really big books is that I forget what happens along the way. My brain can’t remember if part of the story came from the other books in the series or if this is a callback to an earlier part of the book. This is why I love annotating books, keeping a bookish journal, and writing my thoughts after every part that I read. I want to make sure I remember everything that happens and keep my notes organized for my final review.
What do you do to prepare yourself for big books?