"Many people like to imagine themselves as big novels— 800 page doorstops that include forty fascinating characters buzzing around each other, major crisis and triumphs, perhaps even a world scale event like a war or natural disaster in the background. All of this preferably described with the panache and poetry of a Russian master like Tolstoy or a French wordsmith like Proust. But the truth is most of us live 243 page lives, if that. There are only a few major characters in our individual stories, maybe a mid-level crisis or two, certainly some triumph or tragedy sprinkled throughout. But rarely is it profound or interesting enough to demand more pages, more explication, more background. Thoreau famously said most people live lives of quiet desperation. He could just as easily have said most lives can be summed up effectively in 200 page novels written by adequate mid-list authors."