I am just under 600 pages into this epic novel, and not even half way through the book. It is taking me quite a while to get through, but thats not all bad. Some parts do drag on, but other parts are wonderfully described and plenty of background is given so the reader understands what is going on.
Sometimes I think that all the background information is worthless, it is a waste of my time to read it and it will do me no good to read it. However, in retrospect, when those parts have been read and I have gotten to the more interesting parts, it does shed an interesting light on them. I understand them better, and understand those parts of the movie and musicals better.
I am enjoying the book, though, and have not given up on it yet. Its a book you have to think through when you read, and I can't read too much of it at a time or retain none of it. Its slow going, but there is progress.