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!
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!
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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