A Short Post About Long Novels

Don Quixote with a lance less lengthy than the book in which he stars.

I mentioned The Winds of War in last week’s post but will mention it again today because it’s a long novel that I’m still reading. But what theme can I think of that would warrant giving that 885-page book a second consecutive mention? Hmmโ€ฆhow about a post discussing long novels I’ve read and liked? ๐Ÿ™‚

Herman Wouk’s World War II-themed novel is certainly holding my interest — and part of the reason is its length. All those hundreds of pages are helping me get to really “know” the characters and see how they mature and react to things as time goes by. Plus it can be wonderful to get totally absorbed in a novel’s world for a couple weeks — and a reader can’t help but be impressed by the time, research, and prodigious effort that go into writing a doorstop book.

Of course, there are also downsides to long novels. They can drag in spots (though this is not always the case) and they take time away from other books. You’ll spend about the same number of hours reading a 1,000-page novel as four 250-page novels, if my math is correct. ๐Ÿ™‚

The title that most comes to mind when thinking of fiction “tomes” is Leo Tolstoy’s iconic War and Peace, which clocks in at 1,440 pages in at least one edition. Fortunately, it’s a very readable novel.

Also very readable, and often quite funny, is Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote — 1,056 pages in an edition I saw listed online. Victor Hugo’s mesmerizing Les Miserables? 1,232 pages. Stephen King’s apocalyptic The Stand? 1,152 pages.

Among other in-the-vicinity-of-1,000-page novels I’ve read are Alexandre Dumas’ scintillating The Count of Monte Cristo and James Clavell’s breathtaking Shogun.

In the 700-plus or 800-plus-page realm? Fyodor Dostoevsky’s tour de force The Brothers Karamazov, George Eliot’s masterful Middlemarch, Charles Dickens’ compelling David Copperfield, Herman Melville’s whale of a book Moby-Dick, W. Somerset Maugham’s memorable Of Human Bondage, William Thackeray’s vivid Vanity Fair, Donna Tartt’s riveting The Goldfinch, Eleanor Catton’s eye-opening The Luminaries, Henry Fielding’s colorful Tom Jones, Don DeLillo’s uneven Underworld, etc.

Of course, trilogies (such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) and longer series (such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books) can stretch over a thousand or several thousand pages, but I’m focusing on stand-alone novels in this blog post. There ARE individual novels within a series — such as Diana Gabaldon’s eight-volume-soon-to-be-nine-volume Outlander saga — that are each 1,000-plus pages.

Then there’s Marcel Proust’s seven-volume In Search of Lost Time, which goes on for a whopping 4,000-plus pages. I only read part of it before giving up, so I really shouldn’t discuss it much here. I found the writing beautiful but also kind of tedious at times.

This blog post has mentioned only a short list of long books. Your favorite doorstop novels?

Speaking of long, here’s my favorite song by the hugely underrated band Renaissance. The “Ashes Are Burning” version I linked to is 12 minutes, but the band extended it to about 30 minutes (!) at some concerts.

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started/award-winning “Montclairvoyant” local topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece — about an impressive women’s march for reproductive rights, a raise for teachers, and more — is here.

132 thoughts on “A Short Post About Long Novels

  1. Hi, Dave! Hopefully I didn’t miss these in all the wonderful comments…Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” and George Eliot’s works, all of them! I’m almost done with hers, beginning my last, “Middlemarch,” this evening. Thank you for recommending her! I let you know my favorite afterwards. “Daniel Deronda” was excellent. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mary Jo!

      “Infinite Jest” is definitely a LONG novel. I haven’t read it — I think I’m a bit intimidated at the prospect — but I’ve been impressed with David Foster Wallace’s nonfiction writing.

      Yes, most of George Eliot’s novels are fairly long or very long, but totally worth the time! SO glad you’ve enjoyed her work! “Daniel Deronda” is underrated in Eliot’s canon, but in some ways it’s my favorite novel of hers. Incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking. Gwendolen Harleth is an amazing character creation, and the novel’s other main players are not far behind in “memorableness.” Fascinating on a religious level, too.

      I hope you enjoy “Middlemarch,” and I’ll be very interested in hearing your Eliot favorite!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t pretend what follows is even tangential to the week’s topic, but I do recall there are Shirley Jackson fans who read the blog and write in.

    This week I am reading “The White People”, a supernatural novella published posthumously by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1917, and came across the following sentence:

    “I had always lived in the castle, and was used to its hugeness, of which I only knew corners.”

    Perhaps the sentence inspired the famous Jackson title.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, jhNY — that line may have indeed inspired the title of Shirley Jackson’s memorable novel!

      Reminds me of the many novel titles inspired by lines or phrases in previous literary works. One of many examples: Jane Austen got the title of “Pride and Prejudice” from the phrase in Fanny Burney’s “Cecilia” novel.

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  3. My collection of long works of fiction is more or less a Wall of Good Intentions Yet Unrealized. I intend to read “The Woman In White”, and have done for years, and I own an excellent translation of “The Brothers Karamazov”, to date uncracked. There are are others.

    The last big ‘un under my belt is probably “Moby Dick”, a re-read from school daze, which I took up while commuting an hour-plus to Peekskill and then an hour-plus back five times a week. I read “War and Peace” over several days, decades ago, while stuck in bed with flu. It would seem I need being trapped into readerly concentration for long periods.

    In my defense, there are a great many books into which I can dip for a half hour maximum, before flitting off to some new bright distraction, often my guitar, a film noire or dinner or the Yankees, though the team has relieved me this post-season of requiring further attention. I also read a bit of poetry on the regular, and essays by Englishmen writing in the first decades of the 19th century. Also ghost stories, and a detective thriller every month and a half or so. In between I read novels of literary ambition, if not always merit, about the thickness needed to level a table short on one leg.

    But all around me there’s that Wall– or the materials for a such a wall– stacked in several piles, burdening my many rows of shelves, awaiting the day, if ever, I achieve repose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, jhNY!

      You won’t regret reading “The Brothers Karamazov” and “The Woman in White,” if you eventually get to them.

      But you do plenty of interesting, varied reading — as you note — so you’re faring quite well in the literature department in addition to the other ways you spend your time. Including the writing of elegantly expressed blog comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, the Yankees’ quick exit from the playoffs freed up quite a bit of time for fans of that team.

      Like

  4. reading this post was great i really enjoyed it and i’ll have to read some of those books they look good. though the conversation on lord of the rings would be a thing i’d personally read. hopefully ill be able to see you talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Aiden!

      I’ve mentioned “The Lord of the Rings” many times in my blog over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a post specifically about it. I focus on themes each week that include discussion of various novels rather than one work. But I do love “LOTR,” and have reread it four or five times. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Good morning, Dave, I mostly wanted to thank you once again for introducing me to the band Renaissance; I guess it was at least five years ago when you mentioned them in one of your columns, though I don’t remember which one. I bought their wonderful “Live at Carnegie Hall” CD and was just listening to it again the other day. All the songs on it are great, but “Carpet of the Sun” is probably my favorite, naturally the shortest one! I also have a special fondness for “Scheherazade,” but Annie Haslim’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing on all the tracks. The musicianship of all the band members is outstanding.

    As to long novels, you may remember that I took a course on Tolstoy at UT-Austin way back when. It was a surefire way to force me to read both “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” as well as many other of his shorter works, but I’m very happy that I did so. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another very lengthy novel that I had to read was “Bleak House” by Dickens, which was I suppose a rather unusual assignment for high school English, even if it was an advanced class. I think I was the only one in the class to actually read the entire book, though it took me up until very late one night to finish it by the due date. It was a quite interesting read, and I just ordered it from B&N to reread, along with “Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins and “The Bostonians” by Henry James, The pile of the three books sitting there on my TBR table is rather intimidating to say the least. The older I get, shorter works are definitely better, but I hope to get to them all during the coming winter when the first blizzard hits Indiana. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though with the warming of the climate, I guess I can’t count on that happening even here in the Midwest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kat Lit!

      I remember our conversation about Renaissance a few years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚ They were/are indeed a great band — with Annie Haslam’s amazing voice (as you note), the other band members’ stellar musicianship (as you also note), and excellent songwriting (often with music composed by the acoustic guitarist Michael Dunford and lyrics written by poet/non-band member Betty Thatcher). And that Carnegie Hall album has to be one of the best live albums ever. “Carpet of the Sun” is a beautiful song.

      So great that you took a Tolstoy course! (My college course focusing on just one author was Dickens; impressive that you finished “Bleak House” in high school!)

      Glad you mentioned “The Woman in White” — what a fantastic novel, and pretty long. The paperback edition I have on one of my living-room bookshelves is 648 pages.

      Yes, with climate change, who knows if it will be a very cold, snowy winter? We’re certainly have one the warmest Octobers I can remember in New Jersey.

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      • I read “The Woman in White” a long time ago, as well as “The Moonstone,” which also is currently residing on my to reread pile. You can probably guess the theme here, which is focusing on classic legal/mystery novels. A secondary theme to my reading program has to do with classic femininist works, though I usually opt for nonfiction rather than novels, e.g.,”The Bostonians.”

        The main problem I’ve got primarily these days with reading any of these many books, not to mention all that I’ve downloaded to my Nook, is that I’ve continued to be obsessed with doing jigsaw puzzles. I’ve completed 15 puzzles in the past 5 weeks, so with the one I’m currently working, it adds up to 12,600 pieces. I’m not aiming for speed, with the consequence that there’s little time left over for reading. The Good Will store is a good place to pick them up; however, it carries the risk of missing pieces, so I’ve also been purchasing new ones. I’ve gone through the ones with montages of book covers, Broadway musicals, album covers, and 1950’s memorabilia. All were a lot of fun and brought back so many memories (mostly good!).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Classic mystery novels like those two Wilkie Collins ones are well worth revisiting! I’ve only read “The Moonstone” once, but did reread “The Woman in White” — and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

          Wow — you’re really into puzzles these days! Sounds fun and very absorbing! And I like those puzzle themes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. One thing that surprised me about Dickens’ “David Copperfield” was that it seems that when the novel was first published, it was acceptable for pre-adolescent children to drink alcohol because one scene shows the young protagonist doing that in public without any disapproval from the author or the other characters. I guess the past was quite different from today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I finished reading “David Copperfield” and “Anna Karenina”, I also read “War and Peace” except for the essays at the end. I did not enjoy the last novel as much as the other two but I also recognize that it was harder to write due to the fact that it combined fictitious characters interacting with real historical figures such as Napoleon and Marshal Kutuzov. Also both fictional and actual historical events are included in this novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tony! Great point that historical novels can be more difficult to write than non-historical novels because of all the research involved and often having real people appear in at least cameo roles.

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  8. Okay! I read Shogun! Read it in the late 70’s….. maybe early 80’s..
    Anyway, I read it!
    I’ve read Les Miserables & David Copperfield & Moby Dick.
    I tried to read Of Human Bondage… I gotta say, couldn’t stand the book! Chalk this one up to long books I read, but didn’t finish. I’d read about 2/3 and chucked it. Is “hate” too, strong a word?

    I thought “Life” by Kieth Richards was in the 700+ realm, but alas, only the 550 range. Yes, it is not a fictional novel. However, his life is more than novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Resa! You’ve read some excellent long novels. ๐Ÿ™‚

      “Of Human Bondage” is an interesting case. I liked the book a lot even as Philip’s infatuation with the abrasive Mildred was annoying and kind of inexplicable.

      Maugham did write several other interesting novels — including “The Moon and Sixpence” about a stockbroker turned painter.

      I haven’t read Keith Richards’ book, but I can imagine it was a page-turner. His life is indeed stranger than fiction in certain ways — including the fact that he’s still alive after all those dissolute times with The Rolling Stones. (Well, the late Charlie Watts wasn’t dissolute…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was a page burner turner! Laughed, chuckled, reminisced, wished and more!
        Yes, amazing Keith is still walking earth.
        Poor Charlie…. wasn’t dissolute, but now dissolved.
        Am I allowed to say that, in the name of humour?
        The whole PC thing has me a bit on pins and needles. Oh wait! Sitting on my asp at the computer for hours has put my legs to sleep. They are on pins and needles!

        Hahaha?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Good morning Dave,

    I didnโ€™t realise Of Human Bondage was such a lengthy tome. It was one of the first classic books I ever read and remember just whizzing through it. Philipโ€™s obsession was so engaging that I just didnโ€™t want it to end.

    Iโ€™ve read a few long Stephen King novels. Most of the time I think itโ€™s worth it.
    I know youโ€™re not counting series, but I must mention Robert Jordanโ€™s Wheel of Time which is one of the few pieces of writing that absolutely got the better of me. Each book is at least 600 pages, some being nearly 1,000 so they fit your topic, and I think I can forgive myself for not being committed to nearly 12,000 pages overall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan!

      “Of Human Bondage” is not super-lengthy, but does crack the 700-page mark in some editions. Definitely a compelling read that seems to go faster than its length would indicate. Philip was indeed obsessed! (With someone he shouldn’t have been obsessed with. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

      Stephen King can periodically pile on the pages!

      Nearly 12,000 pages for that Robert Jordan series? WOW.

      Like

  10. I haven’t tackled “War and Peace” yet but I have read “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy’s other quite lengthy work. “The Count of Monte Cristo” is probably my second-longest read after that, then I have multiple-times read the Lord of the Rings books, all of them quite long. I’d say my only recent read that was on the lengthy side was “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. Not as long as some of the works mentioned here, but it definitely took some time to get through it. It was so worth it though – such an amazing book! I don’t read as many long novels as I used to and I really should try to make time for them again. Because the slow burn story with an explosive ending is usually quite satisfying despite the time it takes to make it there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, M.B.! I like your line “…the slow burn story with an explosive ending is usually quite satisfying despite the time it takes to make it there.” Exactly! A great long novel is so worth the effort. But time is a factor for very busy people such as yourself, so I don’t blame anyone for not reading long novels as often as they’d like.

      “Anna Karenina,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and “The Lord of the Rings” are tremendous long works! Add “The Hobbit” to “LOTR” as a prequel, and Tolkien’s saga gets even longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

      “A Gentleman in Moscow” is still on my to-read list!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As I’ve got older I’ve often shied away from the big doorstoppers. I’ve read a few of the ones you’ve mentioned and enjoyed them though – in particular ‘Vanity Fair’ (which I loved!), although I realise there are many more I should be getting round to. I pick up ‘War and Peace’ periodically and keep wondering if my glasses prescription is wrong or the writing is quite so teeny tiny…I’m going to opt for the latter.
    On a shelf I have ‘Lonesome Dove’ by Larry McMurtry to read (800+ pages). It just really appealed and I may get round to it sooner rather than later. I think once embarked upon it won’t be too arduous a read (coincidentally it sits nexts to the Russian doorstops – a book about the Romanovs and that pesky W&P one). Perhaps ‘Romola’ by George Eliot can be added? I think I’d like to go back to that. And ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clark (1000+pages) was quite a fascinating read and just such a lovely premise – although it did drag in places – but I loved the attention to the footnotes that referred to an extensive library that existed in the parallel magical world. And finally I occasionally turn to a collection of letters sent to and from the Mitford sisters (just breaches 800 pages). A fascinating insight into a world that just doesn’t exist any longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah! I hear you that as one gets older — and one’s to-read list grows ever larger — there can be a desire to read many shorter novels rather than a couple “tomes” in a particular period of time. Still, for whatever reason, I continue to read at least a few doorstoppers every year. I guess lifting them is good exercise… ๐Ÿ™‚

      “Romola” remains in my reading future!

      I appreciate the excellent mentions of several other books, and I laughed at your “War and Peace” quip. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Footnotes in a novel are impressive! That was one of the things I admired about Junot Diaz’s “The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” though the footnotes were about real life in that book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you hit the nail on the head! That list gets ever longer! Ha! ‘lifting them is good exercise’. I like that!
        ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ was another with footnotes. It’s just another layer of the world the author has created which makes it so immersive – for fiction of course.
        Do hope you get to ‘Romola’ soon – although now you’ve been warned it’s a lot to get through – but I liked it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. HI Dave, I don’t read that many very long books, but the ones that were longer that I’ve read more recently are The Stand, Under the Dome, and IT by Stephen King, Gone with the Wind, To the Last Man, The Thorn Birds, The Count of Monte Christo and a number of James Clavell’s books. Jean Auel’s books also got longer as the series progressed, a bit like the Harry Potter books. Did you know that The Complete Mary Poppins is also a whopper of a book? Once of my childhood favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robbie, for all those excellent examples of long books! And, yes, some installments of series do get longer as the series goes on; I remember being a bit surprised at the 800-plus-page length of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” when that fifth HP novel came out.

      Didn’t know the “Mary Poppins” book was a doorstopper! As for Stephen King, when he goes long, he goes LONG! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was surprised when I bought the complete Mary Poppins, Dave, I didn’t realise it was such a long book. I love the stories and it contains many that are not well know. Stephen King can go on a bit, there are a few bits of the more recent uncut The Stand that were better left out, I thought.

        Liked by 1 person

            • It guess it’s hard for an author who’s been published for about 45 years to quite match his or her work from early and mid-career. All the Stephen King novels I’ve read (about 15) are from the mid-1970s to about 2010; I haven’t gotten to his more recent ones.

              Liked by 1 person

          • And such a big seller. Sometimes I think that the more successful a writer becomes, especially writers who finds themselves suddenly at the top of a best seller list after a comparatively quiet previous existence, write by the pound rather than the page– as if the more they offer, the better the reception from the new legion of fans. Not always a bad thing. King, Rowlings, Ann Rice all seem to have at least occasionally tended toward weighty, possibly overweight texts over the course of their famous careers.

            Liked by 1 person

  13. I liked The Covenant by James
    Michener. At nearly 900 pages, I remember it was in two hardback volumes because of length. I read it when it first came out so I donโ€™t remember many details, but I loved learning about the history of South Africa, the rise of the Zulu, and other things they werenโ€™t teaching in school.
    Last month I bought Boccaccioโ€™s The Decameron but have yet to embark on its 870 pages plus maps. Iโ€™m intimidated by the length!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. In my teens I adopted an “intellectual” persona and read a lot of books just because they were long, including The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, which I probably failed to appreciate at that age. Add to those The Count of Monte Cristo, which I loved, and War and Peace. I liked Anna Karenina better, though. And Les Miserables is truly an epic. I was a fan of Stephen King for many years, so read The Stand a couple of times. Another really long book i enjoyed was A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, which is an epic set in India. So yeah–I kind of have a thing about really long books.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As you know, Dave Iโ€™m on a #KaramazovReadalong this year and plans are for and another readalong in 2021 – War & Peace. From large to largerโ€ฆ.! Liz Humphreys and Elisabeth Van Der Meer are excellent companions along the way. I also have a non-fiction long read on my TBR stack of books – โ€œNatashaโ€™s Dance A cultural History of Russiaโ€ by Orlando Figes which is said to be a page turner. The Count of Monte Christo was read in Math Class, the small, but very thick paperback hidden behind the large math text (yes, I was found out because I seemed to be too alert in class) I read โ€œOf Human Bondageโ€ when I was in high school as well. What started out as horrific chore for literature class ended up having a profound influence on how I viewed life going forward. Books are agents of change. โ€œYou know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.โ€Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rebecca, for all those great mentions! “The Karamazov Readalong” sounds absolutely fabulous from what I’ve seen and heard via tweets, your podcast about it, blog posts about it, etc. Then perhaps to “War and Peace” after that? Wow!

      Such a terrific anecdote about your experience with “The Count of Monte Cristo” — a riveting novel that would keep any reader alert. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And a stellar quote by a great author — W. Somerset Maugham. Perhaps a bit underrated as an author these days, but I love a number of his novels in addition to “Of Human Bondage.” “The Razor’s Edge,” “The Painted Veil,” “The Moon and Sixpence,” “Cakes and Ale”…

      So glad you like the music!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve not read any of the books you mention, Dave, which I’m sure says something about me:) Other than the first Outlander book and several Stephen King books, the longest one I remember reading is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. I ended up with the large print version and could hardly believe its size, which was more like a huge dictionary!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Anything by Michener is quite a lengthy read! I have enjoyed everything I’ve read so far (Space, The Source, Centennial, Chesapeake, Texas to name a few). Some of them did drag in places but were ultimately worth reading. It did take forever before he stopped talking about those prehistoric beavers under the banks of the Platte River though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, lulabelle! James Michener did indeed write a number of long novels. Somehow I’ve read only one of those doorstoppers — “Mexico” — while also enjoying two of his shorter works: “Tales of the South Pacific” and “Caravans.” “Mexico” is quite good, though it drags and gets a little too bogged down in details at times, as you alluded to with the Michener titles you’ve read. I chuckled at your line about his obsession with prehistoric beavers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still, overall, an excellent author!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and I think Dostoevsky’s The Idiot was a long one although, as you and Ralph commented, it felt long primarily due to having to follow all the characters. Russians and their nicknames *sigh* I’m not alone in this name thing either re: the following from the author Janet Fitch https://www.janetfitchwrites.com/janets-blog/2017/12/10/oh-those-names-or-how-to-read-a-russian-novel: One book I have shied away from reading, not only because of its size but subject matter as well, is Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark, my favorite physicist, (you mean we don’t all have a fav physicist,ha) Seems most nonfiction books are doorstop books, at least to me. Enjoyed the video, my husband is a musician and would love their sound, so thanks for both. Susi

    Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you, Susi! Excellent mentions of several lengthy classics! I think “East of Eden” was the longest novel Steinbeck wrote, even longer than the not-short “Grapes of Wrath.” And very funny line about favorite physicists! ๐Ÿ™‚

        I should read more of Murakami; I’ve only gotten to one of his short novels, and liked it.

        Glad you enjoyed the video! I do love Renaissance’s music, and it has aged well.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Although not a novel,one of the longer books I’ve read would be Chernow’s superb Hamilton bio at 800+ pages. President Carter’s bio by Jonathan Alter, also substantive at 800 pages,an important book because Carter is not given enough credit for his historical accomplishments pre, during and post presidency, these were substantive. A true Renaissance man leading by his own example at 97!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Michele! Yes, there have been many great long nonfiction books. Ron Chernow is certainly a superb writer, and I agree that Jimmy Carter deserves a lot of credit for his underrated presidency and his amazing/humanitarian post-presidential life. So many other past presidents spend/spent too much time trying to amass money from their fame.

      Among my favorite huge nonfiction books are Robert Caro’s biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson and Edgar Johnson’s biography of Sir Walter Scott.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shehanne! Yes, Victor Hugo is a writer whose work has aged well — and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is indeed quite lengthy, too. That novel and “Les Miserables” have certainly inspired plenty of post-19th-century theatrical and movie adaptations!

      Liked by 2 people

        • I’m not a fan of Disney or “Disneyfication,” either, Shehanne. I did see a theatrical production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” three or four years ago that was very good, but the novel remained better. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

        • Having not read the book, I can’t comment on whether or not the following recommendations hew closer to the source, but the silent Lon Chaney “Hunchback” is a breathtaking piece of cinematography, even if Chaney’s make-up (the tufty body hair in particular) requires not a little suspension of disbelief. Then there’s the Laughton, made in color(1939), and unique in the portrayal of Quasimodo, despite, again, distracting make-up of another sort. There’s a slyness, a calculating intelligence evident in the Laughton portrayal that is touching– because he knows unkindness and false affection, and he knows his fellow humans enjoy their cruelties against him– yet he must make his way, such as he can, among them..

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, jhNY! I’ve never seen a “Hunchback of Notre Dame” movie, just the play I mentioned earlier that was pretty good — though it did make the ending of the Victor Hugo’s story happier. It does sound like the two movie versions you skillfully described had some very interesting things going for them!

            Like

    • Thank you, Ralph! I haven’t read “The Magic Mountain” but I see by googling it that it runs 700-plus pages. So, pretty long. Congratulations on finishing it despite not liking it much.

      I know what you mean about some novels feeling long. Heck, certain 200-page books can seem endless while I’ve read 1,000-page novels so compelling that they felt short.

      Liked by 1 person

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