Thursday, July 10, 2008

Does size really matter?

Call me neurotic, but lately I find myself looking at the end of books. No, I’m not one of those who read the ending first, I look at the number of pages.

I am happiest when I score a three-inch thick paperback with minuscule print (Pillars of Fire, anyone? According to it has a whopping 976 pages!) thereby insuring a novel to cozy up with in bed for, like, ever.

Okay, so I know the cost of printing, paper, shipping, etc. escalate daily, so just how far down the line is the fifty dollar paperback? Is Kindle reading inevitable? After a day of my laptop, telephone, TV, iPod, GPS, and (some days on the boat) RADAR screens, am I doomed to yet another?

But back to those pages.

Novels seem to be shrinking. Not only that, they contain suspiciously large print and lots of extra whiteness. One novel actually began numbering the pages before the copyright page, just to mess with me. Are there still approximately four hundred words per page? I am not obsessed enough to scan and count a popular novel, but I have a solution for us getting my money’s worth; instead pages, and others should report a book’s word count.

Of course, not all words are equal. Not that I would ever read something that contains antiestablishmentarianism, or the new longest word, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, but should the word, THE, carry the same weight? My computer thinks so.

Or maybe someone should just invent a new green car that runs on old books. That way, I can afford that expensive paperback, then brag at a cocktail party that my new Bookmobile gets a thousand miles to the galley.

Jinx Schwartz, who is 35,000 words into her seventh novel, but who’s counting?

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