Tips on How to Read The Big Books on Your TBR

Happy Sunday book friends! This year, I really wanted to make an effort to read the bigger books on my TBR. I’m not the fastest reader, so most of the time I settle for a smaller book so I can complete my reading goal without stress. But let’s be real… I bought those big books for a reason, so they deserve to be read.

Surprisingly, I’ve been quite good at checking those chonky books off my list this year! And I’m not behind on my reading goal at all. On the contrary, I’m quite a few books ahead. Of course, what constitutes as a “big book” is entirely up to you. My own definition fluctuates a bit. For example, I didn’t consider Gods & Monsters to be super big, because even though it’s over 600 pages, the font is quite large. On the other hand, I have many adult fantasy books with teeny tiny font with the same page count, which I do consider big. Obviously I personally had the most difficulty starting those adult chonkers.

So, as I’m aware that many of us are intimidated by big books, I’ve compiled a few tips on how to get through them without sacrificing your reading goal.

1 – Use bookmarks

Use bookmarks not necessarily to keep track of where you are in the book, but where you want to go. When I’m reading a big book, I can sometimes be overwhelmed by the amount of pages I still have to read in order to finish it. So in order to combat that, I place my bookmark at a specific spot I want to get to that day. Now instead of having 500+ pages to read, I only have 100 or 150 pages to read. This doesn’t really make me read faster, but it does make reading a big book a lot more manageable.

2 – Read a small book after finishing a big one

Sometimes, if you’re like me, you’re more likely to pick up small books because you really want to get to that reading goal and reading big books just takes too much time. Someone on Twitter actually gave me the tip to switch big books with small books. In the beginning of the year, I tested this method and lo, it actually works. I was comfortably able to take my time with a big book because I knew that I would be able to read the small book I would follow up with within a day or two.

This one applies to genres as well! Lots of fantasy books can be big and a little dense. Switch it up with a lighter genre you enjoy and you’ll easily make your reading goal.

3 – Take the format and edition into account

I don’t know if I’m just weird, but I really need my big books to meet some requirements. For example, I prefer them not to be mass market paperback. I own them, I’ve read them, but I prefer the size of my books to be a little bigger. Thus, I am a lot more likely to pick up a big book if it’s in a format I find easy to read.

It also sometimes helps to read big books digitally. Let’s be real, carrying around a huge tome is no one’s favorite activity. And you’re constantly reminded that it’s so huge. No such problems when you read digital. In fact, I firmly believe that if you make the font bigger, your brain gets tricked into reading faster. I’ve read many big books in digital format even though I have a perfectly fine hardcover on my shelves.

I definitely also think this works with audiobooks. They have the added benefit that you can speed up the audio. I personally am too easily distracted for audiobooks, though, so I never really listen to them.

In short, make sure that the big book you want to read is in a format or edition you prefer!

4 – Make sure you’re in the mood for that book

I’m a big mood reader, and I know many of you all are too. Don’t torture yourself and start a huge book if you’re not 100% in the mood for it. I recently did a reread of the whole Throne of Glass series, and as you know, most of those books are pretty large. Especially Kingdom of Ash as it comes in at nearly 1000 pages. But I sped through those books regardless because I was 100% in the mood for this reread.

After my TOG reread I went straight into House of Earth and Sky, which is 800 pages long. But because I was really in the mood for this book I was able to read it in a few days without ever feeling like I still had so much book left to read.

On the flipside, I have many a big book on my shelves that I know I’ll not be starting soon because I have just not been in the mood for that particular type of story. I will likely read them some day, but starting a book (no matter how big or small) I’m just not in the mood for is a gigantic waste of time.

5 – Get two-part editions

This one may be a little specific, and the vast majority of big books don’t actually come in two parts. But if such editions do exist, I suggest getting those. I did this with the Stormlight Archive and it finally allowed me to actually read the whole books. For some reason my brain gets tricked into thinking it’s just a 500 page book, and after I finish one I can read a different book before continuing in the series. The added plus is that some thought actually went into where to split the story, which makes it easier for me to put the series down and come back to it later.

6 – Read reviews

Sometimes you know you want to read the book, you know it’s going to be a fun ride and that you’ll enjoy it, but you still don’t pick it up because it’s, well, big. This happens to me so often and it’s such a shame because 100% of the time I end up thinking: “why didn’t I read this sooner??” Well, because my own stupid brain got in the way, that’s why.

Reading reviews (good ones only, obviously) usually makes me super excited to read the book. There’s just something incredibly motivating about reading other people be excited about a story. I guess my FOMO kicks in, and I’m way more likely to actually pick up that book. Plus, reviews are generally pretty good at revealing certain tropes or events in a spoiler free way. If a review says the book includes a trope I really enjoy, I’m so much more likely to read the book.

Fun fact, for me this also works with fan art. I saw so much “spoiler alert: Crescent City 2 fan art” stuff on Instagram and I wanted to see everything so bad but I needed to read the book first, of course. Really motivating.

In short, you have to be in the right mood, but you also have to make yourself excited

Lastly, some big books I highly recommend!

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • The Legacy Trilogy by Matthew Ward
  • Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler
  • Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

And that’s it! Do you enjoy reading big books? Perhaps now that you’ve read these tips you’ll give those chonkers on your shelf a try! Do let me know what your favorite big books are!

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