In Praise of Big Books: How 800 Pages Can Feel Too Short

There is something exhilarating about reading a book in just a day or two, the rush that compels you to keep reading even as the hours fade into meaninglessness. And when you do emerge from the world in the pages, bleary eyed and satisfied, the exhaustion is delicious.

Like a square of Swiss chocolate or the first warm day of Spring, there are books that must be consumed immediately, at once, and without the benefit of a break for the more pedestrian aspects of life, like food or sleep. They are the newest thrillers, the most astute collection of essays or anything by Shirley Jackson.

And then there are the books that, by sheer volume of words, force a reader to spend longer to feast upon; to break for the night and return again and again. These are the stories that reach upwards of 700, 800—a thousand pages that nourish a reader for days, weeks, even months perhaps. These are the bricks, the doorstops, the books you may as well renew now because you’re not going to finish them before they come due. They are books that you are forced to slow-dance with because no matter how quickly you read, the story flows on—and how lucky the reader is for it because these are stories that get stronger with every word.

Don’t let their size intimidate you; these contemporary books are as engaging as they are lengthy and, even after 800 pages, you’ll be sorry to see them end.

 

835 Pages

A Game of Thrones — George R.R. Martin

Page Count: 835

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773 Pages

The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt

Page Count: 773

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897 Pages

I Know This Much Is True — Wally Lamb

Page Count: 897

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925 Pages

1Q84 — Haruki Murakami

Page Count: 925

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639 Pages

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay — Michael Chabon

Page Count: 639

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720 Pages

A Little Life — Hanya Yanagihara

Page Count: 720

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973 Pages

The Pillars of the Earth — Ken Follett

Page Count: 973

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1474 Pages

A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth

Page Count: 1474

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832 Pages

Underworld — Don DeLillo

Page Count: 832

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653 Pages

Wolf Hall — Hilary Mantel

Page Count: 653

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842 Pages

11/22/63 — Stephen King

Page Count: 842

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896 Pages

Outlander — Diana Gabaldon

Page Count: 896

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What was the last hefty read you tackled? Share with us in the comments below!

    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.


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    5 Responses to “In Praise of Big Books: How 800 Pages Can Feel Too Short”

    1. Deidre

      The Wally Lamb book was awesome. One if my favorite ‘big’ books was Ladies of the Club. I am now trying to read Game if Thrones and Shantanaram both are huge and I’m having a hard time getting caught by them. I’ll keep trying. One day I’ll bite 🙂

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