SparkNotes Blog

9 Reasons to Love Skinny Books

ninjababy is a book sizist, and proud of it! —Sparkitors

Some book snobs love to brag about reading big fat tomes. But in the time it takes them to finish War and Peace, we skinny book fans have read ten novels. Our street cred and self-confidence are in the numbers. Sorry, but skinny books are bomb, and here’s why:

  1. There have actual plots. Yes, I’m talking to you, Charles Dickens, and Alexandre Dumas, and even Douglas Adams! Long books tend to be episodic. You don’t even have to remember what happened in the last 100 pages, because every so often, a totally new and unrelated development is introduced. Not to mention half the content from past chapters fades away with no resolution. Oftentimes, extra chapters extra mean fat on the steak. When you cut down your story, you give it a focus, and you can usually come up with an actual plot. Check out my awesome analogy:
  2. Short books are to long books as movies are to TV shows. TV shows are the long, roundabout, plotless, you-can-miss-an-episode-and-it-usually-doesn’t-matter blabfests. Movies are the self-contained, terse, just-the-important stuff lean machines.
  3. You can recommend skinny books to your friends and family. You: “Hey, Dad, I just read Atlas Shrugged, and it was great! It’s 1200 pages of awesomeness! Isn’t that—s” Dad: *RUNS AWAY SCREAMING*. Yeah, we know how that is. With short books, you can spread the awesomeness to people who don’t always have the time to read for hours on end. 
  4. No babbling. Strong, concise descriptions are bolder than wordy explanations. Jane Austen knows this. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth for a page and a half. The more he speaks, the more appalled Lizzy is. The second-longest marriage proposal comes from (SPOILER!) Mr. Darcy, who starts off well, but continues on to mention Elizabeth’s pride, her inferiority, her family obstacles, and other things he will not let stop him, despite his better judgment. You should’ve stopped with “how ardently I admire and love you,” Mr. Darcy! By the end (SPOILER, again!) Mr. Darcy has learned his lesson: not only how to act better, but how to propose better. His final proposal is two sentences long, and is the only one to receive a yes from Lizzy.
  5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  7. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
  8. Everything Roald Dahl.
  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon

Any other skinny book fans out there?

Related post: The Triumph of the Short Story

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