Reading WOE.



I have a reading woe.

It’s DAMN hard to read big books!!

As a mostly contemporary reader, I’m not used to reading super big books! And I know 565 pages is NOT that long but reading Heir of Fire makes me feel like I’m lifting weights. I’m telling you, this book is heavy! Most of my contemporary books are not this heavy. I will tell you that.

Am I the only one who has a hard time physically reading thick books?? Heir of Fire particularly is tricky because it’s heavy AND oversized in length so I’m all awkward with my hands try to hold it. I feel like I should have trained or worked out in preparation. I just don’t know what to do. Figuring out how to hold this book has been a VERRRYY SERIOUS PROBLEM.

I will change my position like seventy billion times because my chicken arms start shaking. Will laughed at me over the weekend when I was trying to read this because I tried everything — propping it, doing some weird sort of pretzel-y leg thing, laying on my stomach, holding it over my face which resulted in dropping it on my poor little mug and many more positions that I can’t even begin to tell you. Move over Kama Sutra, I’m going to write the most important guide ever — the guide to reading positions.

HIbKQVjexcept add a book in my hands…

The worst part of this is that I just want to read Heir of Fire for long periods of time because it’s so interesting and good but MY BODY IS FAILING ME and I physically cannot. I have to let my arms chill out for a bit. And now I’m looking at my shelf and I have a few books that are bigger than Heir of Fire. This scares me. I’m either going to have to start lifting weights to build up arm strength or boycott enormous books because MY ARMS ARE TIRED.

Silly reading woe aside, I’m loving Heir of Fire and I have to say that it’s a nice experience to be immersed in a HUGE book. I’m used to being able to easily knock out a lot of contemporary books in a day or two if I have time but it’s a fun experience to be in this world for a few days and really FEEL the world and the story. I can’t read it quickly so I’m enjoying and savoring it and I think, at least for me, fantasy kind of works better that way….that all consuming immersion into the world and characters. I thought my attention span wouldn’t let me enjoy it (this is why I tend not to binge read series) but I’m totally into it even coming off Crown of Midnight right before!
And, really, at the end of the day at least I know I will have super sculpted arms? Who said working out couldn’t be fun?

Do you have a hard time reading heavy/large/abnormally shaped books? If you are a pro, I NEED TIPS! What’s the thickest book you’ve ever read?? Do you LIKE reading long books or do you prefer to read shorter ones?
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I had that problem with The Queen of the Tearling. It was just so heavy that holding it became tiresome. I eventually sat on my porch with my legs on the railings and sat it on my thighs. It helped.

    • I did this yesterday! I kind of propped my feet up for a bit…but then my lower back started to hurt. READING WOE.

  2. Lol. This is a perpetual problem for me. I often steer clear of hardbacks because it adds to the weight. That said I won’t shy away from a ‘big’ book because of it’s size. My partner often jokes that it takes me an age to get through a book because I keep choosing tomes of 600+ pages.

    To deal with the problem I often alternate between lying on my front with the book on the floor and lying on my back with my spindly arms holding the book up. A good alternative also is to sit with your knees bent, place a cushion on your thighs and use this to prop your book up.

    Large novels are probably an argument for getting a Kindle too (although I don’t have a Kindle).

    • I think since blogging I’ve been more likely to shy away from a large book because I always feel the pressure of getting books read so I have something on the blog. I’ve been trying to get over that because there are a LOT of chunky books I want to read!!

      I will have to try your strategy! Anything will help!

      I do have a kindle but this was an ARC so unless I want to wait until the book comes out I can’t use the kindle. But when I AM thinking about buying a thick book..KINDLE IT IS.

  3. I’m starting HOF today!!! Hopefully I don’t have this problem… But I read a lot of fantasy so I think I should be okay. When I read a Game of Thrones though, my little fingers hurt from holding that giant book open. Legit. So I totally understand. My husband was so making fun of me for that. But it’s a real problem!!!! Maybe I should start lifting books in my spare time. Reading just got serious. Lol

  4. I feel ur pains bro.

    No but seriously, I do! I always end up starting a huge book and then get a couple of pages in and then tell myself I can’t do it. (I just end up eating after that). Also sometimes the spines of the hardback books are so stiff, I accidentally break them (1000 bloggers just gave me a dirty look)!

    Have you tried the ‘lie face down and hold book’ tactic? Or maybe rest your arms on a cushion of sorts?
    If all else fails, take the brace position, curl up in the corner of the room and just cry.

  5. I’d consider myself a pro at reading large books, because my reading diet was 90% classics before last year (the year I discovered blogging). So I’ve been reading huge 1000 page books since I was – 9? 10? Even younger?

    It’s never been a big deal for me, so after reading your post, I had to consider HOW I actually did it. And this is what I came up with:

    Seating options when reading fat books:

    On your stomach. Pro: no book falling in your face! No tired arms – the floor holds the book for you. Cons: Arms do get a bit tired from holding YOU up! 🙂

    Sitting in a couch (must be a couch so you can sort of slouch in it) with the book on your thighs. One of your hands can support the book from below to stop it from resting on your lower stomach. Pros: don’t have to hold it up! Cons: May press into your stomach if you don’t support it. Also, the posture isn’t the Greatest.

    The second one is what I do the most often. I hope this sorta makes sense! Good luck on your quest for reading comfort. 🙂

  6. Lol I love this post! I never thought about this very much before, but I do have to sit differently to read thick books. I do exactly what Sophia does. However I must say that I have a horrible time sitting still with any book regardless of its size simply because I am not a sitting-still type of person lol

  7. Lol, I am a fantasy reader and this is one of my all time favorite series so this post just makes me SUPER excited that I get that many pages of Heir of Fire!

  8. Jamie, it’s on Netgalley!! Haha. I have the book but…yeah, too heavy, so I got it on Netgalley. Problem solved 😉

    The best is when I have the physical book, the eBook AND the audio, then I can always read no matter my current state of laziness. Heehee.

  9. Sometimes I feel like big hardcovers are easier to hold instead of paperbacks. I always get a cramp between my thumb and pointer finger

  10. I read the hardcover of the last 3 Harry Potter books, and it was not easy! Huge books are definitely when I prefer my kindle. However, I like to sit in a chair or close to the arm of the couch and rest the book on the arm. If that doesn’t work, you could do some piyo with me. That would work your arms! Lol

  11. YES to this entire post!

  12. Ok…this post is totally cracking me up! I can just picture you know struggling to find the right position! I’ve had the same issue in the past and I just put a pillow (or two) in my lap and rest the book on that. It totally does the trick! Maybe I should start lifting weights though just in case! 😉

  13. I got Outlander from the library….and made it about 15 pages before caving and buying it for Kindle. My arms are weak:)

    Unfortunately I ended up DNFing Outlander at 50% done anyway.

  14. LOL…this post cracks me up! The use of gifs really helps to illustrate your struggle! I’ve had this same issue in the past and have just propped a pillow (or two) on my lap and rested the book on that. Works like a charm! Maybe I should start lifting weights though just in case! 😉

  15. Heavy or over-sized books are the worst! Reading Afterworlds was really hard and so was Clariel because it was like holding up a book sized magazine! I usually read really heavy books either at a table or leaning back in a chair then I either prop it on my knees or prop the arm holding the book on my knees. Also sometimes you just have to work the traditional two-handed book holding technique. Hang in there! You got this!

  16. Probably the thickest book I’ve ever read was Infinite Jest. That was a headache. Not only did I have to hold it up to read, but it also has close to 300 pages of footnotes, which you are supposed to read as part of the story. All the footnotes are located in the back, so I had to the book, keep my place, and flip back and forth. When I am reading a huge book, I’m usually sitting up on the couch, legs crossed, book on my lap. Anything else doesn’t really work for me.

  17. Yessss! I was seriously whining about this to my husband last night since I’m reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (759 pages long…), and I can’t lay down and hold the book because it’s so heavy! I love real books rather than an e-reader. But when a book is that long, I can totally see the convenience of it.

  18. So funny! I totally have this problem. Even if the book isn’t that thick, but it’s a hardcover copy – that can be enough work. Right now I’m reading a hardcover copy of Gone Girl and it takes me forever to find a comfortable position…and even then it becomes uncomfortable after a few minutes. I remember when I was reading the Harry Potter books I had the WORST time trying to read those in a good position. So heavy + had a hardcover. These are real problems!!

  19. LOL that Tina Fey gif is classic! I have the weakest arms ever!

    In general, I’m much more comfortable reading on my kindle, but I like to have physical copies for my bookcase (especially if I love/collect the series). Also, I read in my car during my lunch break and it’s so much easier to use my kindle as I eat!

  20. Oh, Lord! This was one of the reasons I got a Kindle! These are tough, and trying to take them with you somewhere?!? Sheesh! I have no real suggestions, just thought I would lend some support – ha! 🙂

  21. I think a lot of people have this problem. I have one book in particular; 994 pages of heavy paper in an abnormally large book. (The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss) It’s one that I love and often want to read for hours on end. I tend to put a pillow behind me to support my back, and then sit with my knees up and the book on my thighs. You only have to prop it up so it doesn’t fall into your stomach then.

  22. Heir of Fire was a little challenging, but I just propped my feet up and held the book in my lap for the most part.

    What I really hate is reading extra long mass market paperbacks. Think like A Game of Thrones, 1,000 pages or so, but super teeny tiny and FAT. Getting to the middle of the book is going to be annoying just because I don’t think it will open all the way!

  23. You already know that I dropped HEIR OF FIRE on my face while I was reading it too, so… yes, I can definitely relate! To me, the length or weight of a book has never really bothered me (except when it causes physical pain like when it falls on my face). I’ve always read fantasies, so I guess I’m just a little bit more used to lengthy & heavy books? I actually like to feel the weightiness of a book in my hands, and embrace the paaaain.

  24. You’re not alone! I usually avoid big books for this reason. If I absolutely must read it I only pick it up at home (never carry it to work like I normally do with books) and I rest a pillow on my lap and lay the book on it. My hands can’t handle thick books!

  25. I was laughing so hard while reading this because this is basically me anytime I read a heavy or over-sized book. I can’t remember the title of the longest book I read (it was required reading back in high school), but it was over 1000 pages & I hated lugging that thing around & trying to figure out how to read it. I tried setting it on the floor & propping up on my elbows, but it just made my hands & arms fall asleep. So , basically I like my books like me…short! haha

  26. When I have to read a large book, I usually read at my desk. I’m so used to doing it at school that it feels natural. I can just lean over it and I don’t have to hold it at all, except to keep it open. That’s actually what I did last night. The longest book I’ve read was my copy of The Lord of the Rings, which is all 3 books in one volume plus the appendices which makes about 1100 pages total.

  27. If it’s too big of a problem, I’d be happy to take Heir of Fire off your hands, haha! Seriously though I know how you feel. I always have a hard time finding a comfortable reading position.

  28. I’m not sure a book has ever been too heavy, but… books that are taller than the average novel are definitely awkward to hold! I’ve noticed it with the Throne of Glass books and These Broken Stars. They didn’t fit on my lap or in my hands as comfortably as the majority of books do. *sigh*

  29. This is where ereaders are super handy! You can read in bed, one-handed. I always go for longer book in digital format for this reason. The Goldfinch? Totally bought that sucker for $1.99 for my Kindle and laughed at everyone else trying to hold that giant monstrosity.

  30. You are so not alone in this! I have this problem every time I read a book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s worse when the book is so good you don’t want to put it down but at the same time you’re getting hand cramps from trying to hold it open.

  31. I know exactly what you mean! I’ve read a couple of really thick books this year – The Goldfinch, The Luminaries and others. What makes it even more difficult is that I’m pregnant and having a massive stomach cuts down on the possible sitting/lying positions!

  32. I laughed a lot reading this! The gifs fit really well.

    I like to read big books, I think the longest I read had over 1000 pages. I read in bed, lying on my side with the book on the pillow next to me, so I only have to hold on half of it. And I switch sides when I’m halfway done. Or I prop myself up on the armrest of the couch and build a table of cushions for the book. But that get’s hot in summer.

  33. Pillows on the couch! One for each elbow, at least, sometimes two or three together on one side for the whole arm and wrist to rest on!

  34. Kindle! I love long books, but anything beyond 300 pages gets purchased on the Kindle. I am too slow a reader to get really long books from the library and I don’t re-read books so I try to only buy books for school or about writing, that I know I’ll read once but refer back to often. The longest book I’ve ever read was The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but I’m not sure that counts since it’s mostly illustrations, but it’s such a beautiful story.

  35. This is why I love my Kindle. I am reading physical books, buy I am also reading A Clash of Kings (800+ pages) on my Kindle. I got the Kindle after my husband caught me balancing an Elizabeth Gaskell novel on top of our newborn son (holding a baby, a big book, and breastfeeding is tricky).

  36. I totally know what you mean! Heavy giant books are just not comfortable to read. Period. And no I don’t get new muscles from holding that monster in my hands. Instead I get wrist pain lol.

  37. As long as I can sit in my favored couch spot, I’m good with just about any book. I kind of slouch down and curl up and prop the book on my stomach with my head against the armrest. And occasionally stretch my legs out. Otherwise, I sit/lie there like a statue for an hour or so. 🙂

  38. Nope, I have problems reading big books, too! Hardcovers are the worst, even with pillows to prop them up. I’m trying to switch to ebooks for huge books, and it mostly works (unless I’m trying to read on my iPad. HEAVY.).

  39. Ha! These gifs matched so well, well done. I think the thickest book for me would have to be either Decamerone, The Divine Comedy, or the first Game of Thrones. I have trouble holding them between my silly weak fingers. I don’t have a lot of sitting positions though, so I mostly manage to balance them on my lap.

  40. As I primarily read in bed (like 99% of the time), I don’t really come across this issue very often. I just have the book face up on the bed and am on my stomach while reading it. When I do read elsewhere, I usually put my book in my lap and just look down to read. Probably not the best for my posture, but I never have to deal with sore hands or arms!
    But if I did read outside of my bed more and cared more for my posture, I’d definitely run into these sort of issues you’re mentioning, as I prefer long fantasies.
    I hope that you’re able to figure out a solution to this issue!

  41. OMG I just laughed so hard (that 1 pushup last year comment made me spit my drink lol). Seriously though, I know your pain. I went through this while reading Outlander. And what really stinks is that the really big books are often books that I what to physically own, so reading them as eBooks isn’t going to happen. But the big books can really be the best because, like you said, you just got so immersed in this epic world. BTW totally jealous that you’re reading Heir of Fire already 😉


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