I’m on the 3rd book of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen Series. The first two books, Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates were rich reading experiences. But the books are long, and a lot happens in them. They are the kind of books where you can figure out what else happened or why some unexplained occurrence happened if you are willing to read carefully. They’re the kind of books where you’ll flip back and forth a lot, and dig for information and search for clues.
But they are long. And there’s nothing particularly wrong with that, if all those pages are put to good purpose. But it does mean that it’s a lot of book to carry around.
When I picked up a copy of Memories of Ice, which is well over 1100 pages, I was more than a little dismayed to find the binding somewhat flawed. Whoever set up the printing did not allow for the thickness of the book and did not leave large enough margins on the inside of the page, resulting in words that run into the crack of the book.
Now, for a book of around 200 pages, I think I can tolerate peering far into the crack to see the words of each sentence — maybe — but for over 1000?? No — No, the book has to be pleasant to hold and look at.
But it wasn’t just that copy — it was the all of them. They printed off however thousands of those books with the words to close the inside edge of the page! And it wasn’t some new, independent publisher. It was Tor! I’ve been reading stuff from them for years! They know better!
So I resolved to read it in hard cover or trade paper back. And I would hunt for an HC or TPB copy until I found one. I was going to read it as a big book.
Of course, no one has a the larger edition of Memories of Ice. Or at least not one that I’ve yet found. It promises to be tricky, since most used bookstores (of course I have to find it used!) don’t even accept hardcovers, I am largely reduced to patrolling through the unalphabetized shelves of the thrift shops (because they accept just about anything).
Since I set myself on this little quest, it would appear that a more acceptable paperback edition has since been printed,* but it’s too late: I’ve already decided that I want to read it as a big book — leaning back, turning the luxuriously large pages, and possibly smacking unwanted passersby with its intimidating mass. And also being able to snap it shut so that it makes a big noise and startles everyone around me and blows wind into my hair. Yes. All those things.
*by Banyan Books, I believe. But the last time I checked it wasn’t there, so maybe it never really existed ata ll…