Monday, March 31, 2014

How do you deal with tomes?

At the moment I'm reading Max Hastings' newest offering Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914, as part of my continued attempts to read WWI during the 2014-2018 period. A book on the first year of the war seemed appropriate for the first year of the 100th anniversary.


It's good, don't get me wrong! I'm particularly enjoying the insight into parts of the war rarely analysed in the Western narrative eg: the Austrian/Serbian front. BUT it's a tome. I'm glad I'm reading it on my Kindle because the hardcover is almost 4 inches thick and weighs in at just under 700 pages. It's also rather dry, and in some chapters I don't feel like I learn anything new - I studied history at university, specialising in early-modern European history, so I studied WWI extensively. So even though I'm enjoying it. . . .  it's tough going.

How do you handle books like this? Massive books, that you enjoy reading, but still drag? For me it's a matter of bite sized chunks. At the moment I'm reading a chapter between each other book I read. It means I keep making progress, but don't get bored. When it gets to parts I'm more interested in (ie: off the Western front) I'll probably start reading two chapters, or if something really grabs my attention I'll just keep reading . .  .

It's a tried and true system for me. It worked for Les Miserables, which I read last year, until I got completely sucked into the story (about 60% through I think) and just read the rest straight through.

Do you have a similar system? Or do you just DNF that kind of book?

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