DAY 3: The Longest Book You’ve Read.

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You can never get a cup of tea large enough, or a book long enough to suit me – C.S. Lewis

Hear hear C.S. Lewis! I am the kind of person who isn’t afraid of long books, as far as I am concerned, the longer the book means the longer the fun! That is, as long as there is a legitimate reason for it being long rather than using filler to bulk it out. Long classics I will admit, are more intimidating. Something about the idea of committing to such a long novel that will take hard work and concentration to get through can be a little scary. However, for the most part I am one of those people that revels in the challenge. I want to read that long classic on the shelf to prove that I can, that I have the willpower and maturity to tackle it! And hopefully, along the way I will really enjoy reading it….if I don’t, well, it’s a long painful slog to the end. 😛

The longest book I’ve ever read was one I picked up almost a year ago now, although it feels like only yesterday. That book was The Complete Fairytales by the Brothers Grimm with a grand total of 1,019 pages (you can read my review of it here if you haven’t already, it’s actually one of my favourite reviews, it was a lot of fun to write :)). I don’t know if this book technically counts because it had 279 short stories ranging vastly in length, but I read them all consecutively and it sure felt like one big ass book, so I think it should count!

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It was definitely an interesting read, I loved discovering how many stories from my childhood were actually originally Grimm fairytales, especially how some of them had been changed and warped into Disney worthy tales that would appeal to a mass market. I feel like I got a lot out of this book as a reader and writer. It was interesting analysing the conventions used, the social commentary and the Brothers Grimm’s ideas of the perfect story structure. Although it was a long slog and I felt I was losing the will to live at times because the stories were repetitive, it was worth it, and I’m still glad I decided to read it!

However, I see this 1,019 total being overtaken in the future by other door stoppers that I can’t wait to attempt. I like a challenge I do. 😉 I have several big books on my radar right now. For starters, I own the great tome that is Stephen King’s IT. I originally bought it for the Eclectic Reader Challenge horror category, but ended up opting for Dracula as I was already way over the time limit for completing the challenge. I’m still looking forward to reading its 1,376 pages though!

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I’ve also got the desperate urge to read Les Misérables (the unabridged version of course ;)), 1,463 pages. Like whoa. I was originally considering making it my summer project but I just have too many other books I want to read this holiday that I know I would never get round to if I committed to Les Mis. The other reason I’m delaying is that it’s trendy to read Les Mis right now because of the movie release, and I hate the idea people may assume I want to read the book because it’s ‘fashionable’, so I may wait for the hype to die down. Colour me weird! 😛
Finally, I would like to try and give Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and War and Peace a go very very far down the road, once I feel like I have gained enough literary knowledge to appreciate them fully. Baby steps, eh?

Do you find big books intimidating? What’s the longest book that you have read? 🙂

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29 thoughts on “DAY 3: The Longest Book You’ve Read.

  1. Longest fiction for me is probably Stpehen King – The Stand (The abridged version. Apparently he released an unabridged that was even longer.)
    Non fiction would be any of the three volumes of Shelby Foote – Narrative of the Civil War.
    Long, brilliant, and hard to carry to read on the train.

    • Ah, Stephen King is known for his extremely long books! I’ve heard that The Stand is a really great book (albeit long). Yes, you’re right he did release an unabridged version, I’m not sure which one I would prefer to read if I had to choose. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing…

      Wow, that sounds intense! Good on you for lugging it around with you and finishing it. Still, I bet your full of interesting facts now because of it. 😛

  2. You just reminded me how much I want to read the Grim Fairy Tales and I had no idea there were so many stories included in it! Let’s see, I think the longest book I read was Ken Follet’s Winter of the World. It’s a historical fiction novel about WW2 that was really good. After I finish reading the Chronicles of Narnia I am going to attempt The Stand by Stephen King and that’s even longer. Great post! 🙂

    • Ooooh yay, I’ve done something useful today! 😛 The length really depends on which version you get, the official number of tales is 210 but the version I tackled had lots of omitted stories too. Just make sure when you buy your copy that it has 210 tales because lots of versions out there claim to be the complete ones but actually aren’t! Cheeky buggers.

      I’ve never heard of Winter of the World but I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 Hmmm…Stephen King, I think I’m noticing a trend here, lol. I’d love to see what you think of The Stand! I’d quite like to read that one at some point and I’ve also been considering reading the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia for some time too.

      Thank you!

  3. Now that I’m a Kindler, I don’t really have much of an idea of the size of the books I buy. I had no idea how big the Game of Thrones books were for instance.

    I also end up giving my books away to charity shops, so I honestly can’t remember how big either IT or The Stand are – it’s only because I keep hearing people saying how long they are that I know they are long…!

    The biggest one I’ve still physically got is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It’s 1140 pages long and the writing is tiny. Some of the footnotes are half a page or more and it’s the most fascinating thing I’ve ever read.

    I don’t find long books intimidating, but then again my buying habits are very different from yours – I don’t ever browse through bookshops like you do. Even before I had a Kindle I would order them online, so I didn’t really have much choice once they plopped through the letterbox.

    • Hmm, you see, KINDLE’S TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING. *Smashes things.* I much prefer having page numbers in comparison to a percentage. Silly eReaders. 😛

      IT is massive and I’ve heard that The Stand is really big too, most of King’s books are. It seems you’ve read quite a lot of big books Michael.

      Whoa that is pretty long, especially for a non-fiction book. I can’t imagine reading something that big that is factual. Agh, I hate when books have small type, it makes me squint, especially if I’m reading by lamp light and I end up getting a headache, lol. I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

      Good to know your not afraid of long books. 🙂 That’s very true, when you order over the internet you don’t know the size of the book. I’ve had a few shock surprises actually when I’ve spent a fiver or something and the book turns out to be really small, which is a bit annoying!

  4. I reread Anna Karenina last year and got so much out of it.. I set myself a daily target number of pages to read (to ensure that I allowed some time for reading after work) but quickly exceeded the target as I became engrossed in the story and characters. A great read read .

    • Setting yourself a target of pages for a larger book is a great idea, that way you always feel like your making progress. I like your style! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the book and I hope I will like it as much as you did. 🙂

  5. I have a beautiful copy of the Grimm’s fairy tales at home which I’ve not managed to get all the way through yet (like you say, they can be quite repetitive) but I love the old-fashioned fairy tale.

    I noticed someone above mentioned The Stand and that and Desperation (also by Stephen King) are two pretty hefty books on my read list but neither of them feel that long when you’re reading them because they’re so good. I didn’t realise It was so big though – I thought that was a small one for some reason.

    I think Les Mis must be the longest I’ve read (since I guess LotR counts as three books?) and it’s definitely worth it. Although I completely understand the not reading it because it’s ‘fashionable’ I’m exactly the same!

    • Oooh, that sounds wonderful, I love pretty copies. I think you definitely have to be in the right mood to read fairytales, but when you’re in the right state of mind they’re fantastic!

      Hahaa yepp, it seems they are both big books. It’s good to know that you don’t feel that they are long when you are reading them, that’s always a good sign. 🙂 I guess that’s what I mean about not being afraid of big books, because if the book is good you will zoom though it anyway and forget all about the length! It’s sure a sign of a good book.

      Haha that’s true I do count Lord of the Rings as three books but it was originally one. I hadn’t thought of that. You made it through Les Mis? That’s awesome! 😀 Did you like it? Hehe, yepp it’s my contrary side coming out again.

  6. I can find very long novels rather intimidating, especially if their also translated classics! I read The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales this year so that is perhaps the longest book I’ve read too 🙂

    • That is totally understandable, you always know a book like that is going to take a very long time to read, especially if it is a classic! It’s always difficult with translations because they can vary in how good they are which can sometimes affect the enjoyment of your reading.

      It was awesome wasn’t it? 🙂 Hard work to get through but a worthwhile read!

  7. I think the longest book I’ve read could be The Stand by Stephen King at 1400 pages. An epic read though. I have to read IT, should have gotten to it long ago.

    • The Stand seems to be quite a popular answer which is pretty intriguing. I’m quite tempted to put it on my wishlist now. 🙂

      I’ve heard that IT is a really spooky but gripping read!

  8. I literally cannot believe the size of the Stephen King book. Can honestly say I’ve never read a book that has that many pages. I’m the opposite to you, if I see a mahoosive book it immediately puts me off for some reason. I just end up thinking ‘come on now, is all that really necessary?’

    The thought of a thick book being crappy then having to pursue it because I’m not a quitter…nightmare!

    • Haha neither could I!!! You should have seen my face when it came through the post, safe to say I was pretty surprised, but in a good way. More book for my money mwuhuuu. 🙂
      That’s a reasonably natural thought process because there are also a lot of books out there that are unnecessarily long and those can be incredibly frustrating. Yet if you think about it, reading a big book is almost like reading a three book series but in one, for less money! 😛

      Aghh same here because I find it impossible to not finish a book!

  9. hmm, I think the longest books I have read are by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead and that other big one. They were good, though Atlas Shrugged could have easily been 100 pages shorter, she decided to recap everything to make sure you “got it”. anyway. I haven’t cracked a super long book in a while, the last might have been The Historian which felt long anyway. I have on my shelves to read “soon” It by King and Gone with the Wind, Dune and The Thorn Birds. I should really pull one of those suckers down and just read a few pages a day or something. They weigh a ton though…

    • Oooh, I’ve vaguely heard of The Fountainhead although I couldn’t say what it was about. I had no idea it was a big book. I’ve heard from a few people now that Atlas Shrugged can be pretty hard to get through which makes me wary. Ohh wow, a recap? That would be really annoying! Does the author think the readers aren’t smart enough to get it? That’s a bit insulting. :S

      In that case maybe you should. 😉 I’ve got The Historian as well, I’ve had it for ages but wanted to read Dracula first so I delayed. It sounds awesome though!
      They all sound great, I hope you enjoy them. 😀
      That is the one downside to big books, they can give you arm ache! Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the page count go up.

  10. I’ve been through most of the Stephen King doorstops: The Stand, IT and a few others. He does like to fill his pages. 🙂

    War and Peace was probably the longest I read at 1500 pages of small print. I went through a doorstep phase a few years ago: Les Miserables, Don Quixote, Moby-Dick.

  11. Wait, what book is that next to IT??? Is that Les Mis? You could kill someone with that thing!!!

    Considering my attention span, I hate long books. Anything over 400 pages freaks me out. However I do want to read Count of Monte Cristo(it’s my brother’s fav book) but I was too scared to, LOL. Maybe one day… 😉

    • Hahaa! You actually could! It’s freakin heavy. I don’t actually own Les Mis yet but I know which edition I want and I have seen other bloggers photo’s of it.
      It. Is. Massive. 😀

      Wow really? For some reason I thought you would be pro long books, maybe because you suggested IT which is one mother of a book, LOL. I’ve heard The Count of Monte Cristo is difficult to get into with lots of characters to get your head around, but that it’s a great read. 🙂

      • You know I’m a short story fanatic 😉
        I never read IT. I suggested it because I remember the TV series from when I was young. It’s probably the reason why so many people in my generation are slightly distrusting of clowns. But I never realized how long the book was! Of course, I should have used my noggin: if they made a SERIES instead of a movie then naturally the original book must be a long one. Duh, Nisha. 😛

      • That’s true actually, I didn’t think of that. 😛
        It was a good suggestion, I’m really looking forward to reading it! Ha ha, you know, I bet that is why, I wouldn’t be surprised. IT sounds super creepy to me and I’ve never a read a book that scared me (older than the age of the 4th Harry Potter book anyway) so I’m hoping this book might be the one!

        Ha true! But you never know these days with movie producers splitting 300something page books into 9 hours worth of film. 😉

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