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Good morning, readers and book lovers! Once again we find ourselves diary-less (is that a word?), so we must make do with an open forum. But we will hardly have the energy to conduct a discussion unless we break our fast first. Today we have homemade oatmeal cookies with walnuts and lovely organic applesauce. Both will be very good for you, so tuck in with abandon!


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Now, having breakfasted, let’s talk about today’s topic. Do you find yourself growing a bit impatient as you grow older? Are you less willing to put up with a book that goes on and on and on? This has happened to me. I would have been happy to ascribe it to “Internet-itis”—the inability to focus on any one document for very long—except that the book I’m thinking of was published in 1991. That was long before we even had Mosaic as a browser, let alone all the browsers since.

The most notable example that springs to mind (from my own experience) is a book that is the first of a series. I read it when it was first published because it seemed rather interesting. And indeed, I did find the first 380 pages a treat to read. By then, however, I was thinking, “When is this thing going to end?” I wanted the whole thing to be over: it was like having someone do your hair—very nice at first, but after a while you think, “Oh, do stop, I’m bored out of my gourd and I badly want to leave.”

But the book just went on and on—there was always one more beating, one more abduction, one more skirmish. I gamely struggled to the end but decided, after essaying the second one when it was published, to give the rest of the series a miss. This series, I must add, is wildly popular and has made its author both rich and famous. To be gentlewomanly, I shall not mention her name or the name of the series.

Just recently I experienced another case of “Oh, gods, when is this thing going to end?” And this is one of my favorite writers, so I’m really puzzled as to why I felt I needed a break. Again, it just went on and on: the battles; what the protagonists wore; how they felt about each other; the voyages; and bla bla bla. There are writers who have trouble filling out the allotted 80,000 words the publisher wants, and then there are writers like this one, who writes so much that his previous publisher used to make him cut chapters. Now he self-publishes so there's no one to tell him, "Enough. Really--enough!" Perhaps someday I'll go back and finish it; in the meantime, there are so many other delightful books to read that this particular sci-fi novel will just have to keep on circling the Deep Sky.

What about YOU? Is there a book or books that irritated you profoundly because they went on too long? Really? Tell us about them--the floor is yours!

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