If you’re an avid reader then you probably clicked this link with rapid instinct. Maybe you’re the math-y type and you came here for some hard digits. You might have no idea how you got here and this isn’t really your thing, but I recommend this infographic regardless. It has a lot of fundamental information about literature that everyone should know (like how swag couldn’t exist without Shakespeare). Even if you have all the basics down, there’s a whole lot to consider when looking at these statistics. Here’s the first thing that came to mind for me:
When you combine all the books together, The Lord of The Rings clocks in at over 500,000 words. Relatively this isn’t much more than DFW’s Infinite Jest. Wallace’s novel ended up being trimmed down immensely through the editing process, and at the same time he ended up basically saying, “Okay, I’m just gonna stop here” because he didn’t know how much more he was going to have to write before he felt that it was finished, and it had already turned out being much longer than he anticipated. Now this is just one book. On the other hand, Tolkien was able to design and portray a very cohesive world in about the same amount of words, and a very entertaining one at that. However, these authors had a radically different approach to how they wrote and what they were trying to accomplish. A lot could be said about the value of each word in relation to what the author achieved, but I myself have a limited word count to fill so take that as you will. Knowing the numbers may not give you a full perspective, but it definitely makes you think.