Bookish Pet Peeves: Chapter Length

June 21, 2013 Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 19


Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

Why on earth do you need to have a chapter that is 70 pages long?

Everyone has their pet peeves, and of course I have quite a few bookish ones. Many things can set me off, but nothing sets me off quite like long chapters. When I’m reading a book I can’t just stop anywhere, I need to stop at the end of the chapter. It’s a thing for me. I absolutely hate when any circumstance causes me to stop mid chapter. It’s just not a good place to end.

William Goldman Princess BrideOccasionally this happens when I’m reading and the circumstances dictate that I stop right now (like when I’m reading in the waiting room at the dentist or doctors office). It irritates me, but I can’t exactly make them wait so I deal (and then finish the chapter in the car).

The worst thing for me is when the chapters are super long, like more than 25 pages (personally I think 30 pages is too long, but I can deal). Sometimes I can only read for 15 or 25 minutes and I can’t read than much in the time frame so than I have to stop in a weird place. Or I’m tired and I just want to read a chapter before bed and then I’m reading and reading and reading because it’s the chapter that won’t end.

My most recent encounter with this is The Princess Bride. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t enjoy the fact that a few of the chapters were 70 pages in length. 70 pages!! Why so long? Where are people supposed to pause their reading?

Say what you want about James Patterson’s books but he does one thing right for me and that is short chapters. I would so much rather have a boat load of chapters that are 2-3 pages than even one chapter that is 50 pages.

Does chapter length bother you? Or do you just go with the flow?


19 Responses to “Bookish Pet Peeves: Chapter Length”

  1. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    I’m with you, I much rather have shorter chapters than ones that seem to go on forever and ever. I feel like when a chapter is uber-long, I have to stop and turn ahead the pages to constantly count how many pages there are before I’m done. It takes away from the experience, because instead of enjoying the story I’m too busy trying to think if I can make it to that chapter break before I have to go do something else. And then I’m not paying as much attention as I try to read faster and yeah… Shorter chapters for the win.
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  2. Natalie @Natflix&Book

    Agreed. I hate long chapters. They are just natural places to put down a book. I feel like I’m always a little lost about what’s going on when I pick up a book I had set down in an awkward spot. Great post!

    • Kimberly

      I feel lost as well. You have to scan around the page just to find where you left off. It’s annoying!

  3. fakesteph

    I actually really enjoy Patterson sometimes. And I love short chapters, too. I’ve gotten better at stopping mid chapter. Sometimes I have to, if a book has excellent chapter endings and I keep saying “one more chapter” then I stop midchapter.
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    • Kimberly

      I enjoy Patterson’s books as well, but his earlier books that he wrote himself were better. Stopping midchapter bothers the hell out of me and is only done when absolutely necessary.

  4. Kate- Midnight Book Girl

    It bothers me sometimes, but I prefer to read short chapters. Mostly because I find myself reading more if the chapters are short. Long chapters bother me when I notice them. If I’m flipping to see how many pages are left in the chapter than that’s usually a sign that I’m not that into a book. Although sometimes, like you, I just want to stop at the end of a chapter. Because I’ve always read on the go, in between classes in school, at work, I’ve gotten use to having to stop mid-chapter, so interruptions don’t bother me that much.
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  5. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    I can really understand where you’re coming from in this post! Ideally when I’m reading I always like to stop at chapter breaks as well, which is extremely difficult in books with longer-than-average chapters. It can be extremely frustrating, and moreover, it often hurts the pacing and my interest in the novel. If they’re unusually long, I might find myself flipping forward to count how many pages are left in a given chapter, which obviously isn’t the ideal way to read a novel.
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  6. Jen @ YA Romantics

    Lots of really short chapters make the book feel choppy to me. But I agree, really long ones kind of put me to sleep.
    I’m reading more on a kindle now, so I don’t notice chapter length as much…
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  7. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    I find that I only pay much attention to chapters and chapter breaks if they are unusual in some way. For instance, if the author overuses the “end the chapter in a moment of suspense” guideline, or if the chapters are really, really short. I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed that the chapter was particularly long, unless I’m reading aloud.

    Partly, that’s because I’ll read as long as I can, and don’t always stop at the end of a chapter. I stop when I have to get up to go do something else… which was fairly often when my daughter was little. I think that’s when I got used to putting a book down no matter what was going on, if I was needed elsewhere. Conversely, if I reach the end of a chapter and still have 10 minutes before I need to do something else, I am by gosh going to read for 10 more minutes!

    That said, no chapters at all would drive me completely up a wall.
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  8. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Hahahaha, oh man, I know exactly how you feel! Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series sticks out in my mind for this too. His freaking PROLOGUES are like 85 pages long. One I listened to on audio had a friggin THREE HOUR prologue. Seriously, dude.

    I love when books have super short chapters. Like, I don’t even care if that chapter is two pages. Or two sentences. I love it, because it makes it so much easier for me to have a “clean” stop when I need to put the book down!
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  9. Anna

    I am so with you. I have to stop reading at the end of a chapter, and so long chapters bug me! There is nothing worse than falling asleep while reading, but having to keep going because you aren’t at the end of the chapter yet! lol.


  10. Courtney

    If a book as super long chapters it makes me doubt the talent of the writer. I’m just saying. I mean I’m not saying that is a hard and fast rule for all novels, but if you take that long to write a chapter I tend to think you are grouping too much together and can’t recognize where an appropriate break should be.
    I prefer chapters in the 10-25 page range. But I also love chapters that include breaks within themselves. I like to read in reference to page numbers. I like to know when I only have 100 pages left in a book and stop there. So if a chapter contains breaks it helps me to be able to stop where I want to stop.
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