How do you feel about long books?

How do you feel about long books?

When I was in high school, my English teacher asked us to write a personal essay about something we loved that nobody else seemed to appreciate. My friends wrote about the smell of gasoline, waiting in line, television commercials that don’t air during the Superbowl, purses for men. I wrote about long books.

Back then I loved books the size of bricks, of doorstops. My rationale was simple: if a book was good, why would I want it to end? I read these by the library tote bag-full, infinitely preferring paperbacks to hardcovers because they were easier to jam in my backpack or tennis bag.

I read numerous 1000+ page books my junior and senior year of high school, and don’t remember ever feeling intimidated by the page counts. Quite the opposite: I remember feeling so proud of myself the first time I read a thousand-pager, in eighth grade, like I’d unlocked a new reading level.

How times change! I’m not sure when I tipped into the short-novel camp, but this summer when I finally read The Count of Monte Cristo, it was one of just a handful of thousand-page novels I’d read these past two decades. (I’d originally thought it was the only one I’d read of this length—but then I remembered plowing through the Outlander series back in 2015!)

Despite numerous enthusiastic recommendations from trusted readers, I put off reading The Count for ages because I didn’t want to spend 1300 pages with one book, knowing that if I chose shorter novels I could finish four or five titles in the same amount of reading time!

While I couldn’t count The Count among my lifetime favorite reads, I’m glad I read it—and the reading experience has softened me towards other doorstop novels. I needed the reminder to not dismiss any books out of hand—whether that’s because of their cover, or genre, or—in this case—intimidating length. I’m considering finally reading Stephen King’s The Stand, and I might dive in to this newer release I’ve heard great things about. And, of course, I’ll be ready when Diana Gabaldon’s next Outlander book FINALLY comes out. (How much longer do we have to wait?)

How do YOU feel about long books? What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Tell us in comments!

P.S. 20 extra-long and totally readable books, and 20 extra-long audiobooks so you can get the most out of those credits, which includes The Count.

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294 comments | Comment

294 comments

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  1. Adrienne says:

    Great question Anne! I too like long books when the story is good. For me the best thing about a long book (if I’m enjoying it) is that I can settle in, knowing I won’t have to make that hard decision about what to read next for quite some time! Takes that pressure away completely.
    My choice of long books typically means family sagas, spanning many years and generations. Some of my all time favorite books are pretty long – Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (which sounds like a military book, but it is not), Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye, and The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher are all wonderful reads. And of course, I love the Outlander series but have only read the first four books, so I have a ways to go in that series.

    The Eighth Life looks REALLY GOOD! Just ordered a copy for my mother, since this looks like one she will really enjoy.

    • Sheila Dailie says:

      I love The Far Pavilions! Not only the story but I have never seen the night sky quite the same since I first read it thirty-some years ago!

      • Ann says:

        Have you read The Raj Quartet? Paul Scott. I think it might have been done on Masterpiece Theater. Or a mini series long ago.

        British India. Very good! It can be bought as the four volumes or as one big chunky book.

        • Adrienne says:

          My husband bought me an omnibus version of The Raj Quartet. Hands down it was the heaviest book I have ever read LOL. Having said that, I really enjoyed the novel.

    • Lisa says:

      The Far Pavilions is my most favorite book! I just completed my fourth re-read of it! Knowing it well means I can skim some parts.

  2. Susan says:

    As someone who grew up on James Michener, I have always had a soft spot for long books. You should definitely read The Stand. Also try some Michener. I would start with my favorite, Centennial. Well researched, characters that pull you in and you get to spend quality time with them!

  3. I believe “Under The Dome” by Stephen King is the longest book I’ve read. If a book is good, the longer the better. I have the book “A Suitable Boy” on my shelf and it’s over 1300 pages. However, the reason I haven’t read it is that it’s a paperback and I’m afraid the binding will split when I start reading it and I’ll lose pages!

    • Erica says:

      In the days before e-readers I lugged A Suitable Boy all over Europe in my backpack. It kept me busy on long train rides but man that thing weighed a ton!

    • Angie Allen says:

      May I suggest taking your book to an office supply store (Staples, Office Max/Depot) and having a spiral style binding put on it? I do that with cook books and music scores (like Messiah) and even with lots of use, the pages stay in for a long time. My score for Messiah went through many years of rehearsals/performances before the score’s cover fell off. The inner pages are still intact! Have them add a sturdy card stock or plastic cover back and front.

    • Ariannah Armstrong says:

      I recently purchased ASB on Kindle and was thrilled that the *entire* canon of it is available as an e-book! I have the 1563 page paperback and could not read it due to the tiny font and the fact that is was a huge physical book. Perhaps check to see if it’s available as an E in your location.

    • Ruth Wilson says:

      This is my third-longest book, according to Goodreads. I need to reread if he ever finishes the series.

  4. Meg Evans says:

    Read The Stand! Since you read 11/22/63, you know that Stephen King can keep the story moving. I read The Stand last year. I figured I’d go all-in with pandemic paranoia. I’d figured it would take me a couple of weeks to read; I’m pretty sure I was done after a week.

    • Hilary says:

      I’m reading The Stand right now and frankly it just feels like I’m slogging through it.
      Long books used to be way more fun to me. Now i feel like my attention span is shot!

  5. Lora Gay says:

    I love them when they’re non-fiction, but I’m still intimidated if it’s fiction. Seems backwards! Maybe I’m just more moody with what I need from the feel of story, while with non-fiction I stay interested in the topic so the feel doesn’t matter. Who know? What I do know is I enjoyed this post! Thank you!

  6. Annette B Silveira says:

    I don’t mind a long book if it’s broken up into shorter chapters or if the chapters have breaks. What I don’t enjoy is a long, long chapter. When I take a break to read a chapter of my book I’m not looking for a huge time investment.

    • Katie says:

      I’m with you. I don’t like long chapters. When I sit down to read, I hate to just stop in the middle of a chapter, I have to finish. Often with long chapters I’ll have to cut my reading time short if I only have 15 minutes and it will take me 30 to read the next chapter. I do appreciate obvious breaks, that makes it easier to pause.

      • Rachel Stafeil says:

        I like long books if the story is good. Ken Follett’s Century Series and Pillars of the Earth come to mind.

    • Pam says:

      I finally read Pillars of the Earth in May. Read the hard cover, which was 973 pages long. I’d only owned it since December 1989, so decided it was time to read it 😉 Now I want to watch the miniseries again!

      • Rachel Stafeil says:

        I like long books if the story is good. Ken Follett’s Century Series and Pillars of the Earth come to mind.

      • Rachel says:

        Have you read The Evening and the Morning, the second book in the series that came out last fall? It was excellent. I reread Pillars after reading it and liked the Evening better. I actually listened to it – the narrator, John Lee, is excellent!

    • April says:

      Anna Karenina & East of Eden are too longer books I read. When I lived in Budapest, I read Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and War & Remembrance- there was only one English language bookstore at the time & it wasn’t particularly close by, so I had to make books last!

      • Shelley says:

        I loved Winds of War and War and Remembrance! I finished Anna Karenina this year – it was my pandemic must read.

    • April says:

      Anna Karenina & East of Eden are two longer books I read. When I lived in Budapest, I read Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and War & Remembrance- there was only one English language bookstore at the time & it wasn’t particularly close by, so I had to make books last!
      But i usually do not choose a long book.

  7. Jen says:

    I think “Gone With the Wind” might be the longest book I’ve read!

    If a book is really good, I don’t mind it being long!

    • Leslie F says:

      Gone with the Wind was the first really long book I read! I think I read it on a road trip right after high school and it was one of those sublime reading experiences that I’ve never forgotten 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      I came here to mention GWTW. I had to read it my sophomore year in high school and I still love it.

      Greenlanders by Jane Smiley is on my summer TBR but only 558 pages. The type is teeny tiny so I’m guessing it would be more pages if not published by Lilliputians.

  8. Erin says:

    I will agree with Susan on two fronts: definitely read The Stand (one of King’s best), and Michener is a great long form author. My favorite Michener is probably The Covenant.

    • Pam says:

      Yes, I bought and read several of Michener’s big paperbacks back in the day. My favourites were The Covenant and Centennial. Really satisfying reads.

  9. JillyB says:

    The longest book I’ve read so far is “A Little Life”, a great but sad book.

    I want to start reading Stephen King books, particularly “The Institute” and “It”. And now after this post and hearing things on podcasts, I want to read The Outlander series!

  10. Jessie Weaver says:

    It’s funny, a few years ago I definitely would say I am a long novel reader, but now I’m finding most of what I read is 300-350 pages or average. I recently read Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. It felt like it was so slow going and I think it’s under 700 pages! I don’t know that I have ever read a 1,000 page novel, but I did read Middlemarch a few years ago.

    • Dee says:

      Agree with all of this! I was surprised by how long The Prince of Tides was. I’d read it years ago and didn’t remember it being so long.

    • Elle says:

      300-350 pages is my sweet spot. Often, I feel like the author could have cut 50-100 pages from a longer book and had a stronger story (Firekeeper’s Daughter). And I often feel like shorter books could have used more fleshing out (The Maidens).

  11. Julie says:

    I love being immersed in a long book, but I always have a nagging feeling that there are other books calling to me. Right now I am reading Bleak House as a read along from the Book Cougars podcast, and I am glad that only 3 or 4 chapters a day are required, leaving me time to get to my insanely large stack of library books. The longest book I ever read was War and Peace (which was not too arduous, as I was recovering from ankle surgery at the time).

    • Julie Johnson says:

      I read “Gone with the Wind” and then “Scarlet.” The length of the book doesn’t matter that much to me as long as it holds my interest. I must say there is a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish a long book, though!

  12. Brenda Labelle says:

    My favourite long book is A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (1474 pages in paperback). It’s about a girl in post-partition India who has to choose a husband, even though she’d prefer to focus on her education. She has 3 suitors, all very different. Which will she choose, the poet, the forbidden Muslim boy (she’s Hindu), or her mother’s choice? The BBC adaptation is excellent as well!

  13. Mallory says:

    1Q84 (loved it!), The Wise Mans Fear (so great, but losing hope that #3 will every come out) and IT (not so much) are the only doorstops I’ve read in recent memory. I do love falling into a great, enormous book for the long haul.

  14. Edie says:

    It’s not the longest book I’ve ever read but one of my very favorites – Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Such a great read.

  15. Annie B McCloskey says:

    Oh, Anne! Read The Stand! I know you are sensitive, so avoid “IT” by Stephen King, but that’s another great long one! Happy summer!
    Annie

  16. Kari Rose says:

    The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon-1443 pages.

    A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- 1177 pages

    Hawaii by James Michener- 1136 pages

    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark- 1006 pages.

    The first three authors can get away with these long books because of their popularity. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a great book! If you like fantasy, this is a great choice.

    • Ruth Wilson says:

      Another vote for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. My husband is not as much a reader as I am, but he loved this book, too. He is more likely to read Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert.

    • Anne says:

      Oh goodness, I’ve had Jonathan Strange on my list for forever as well! (Not so with Piranesi—when that came out I devoured it immediately, which was easy to do because it’s so small in comparison.)

  17. Virginia says:

    I’ve read ALL of the long books people listed and liked them all, so I guess I am a fan of long novels without knowing it until now. Particularly loved The Stand (Stephen King – amazing both in print and audio) and A Little Life.
    Did anyone mention The Goldfinch? That was long… and boring.

      • Ann Perrigo says:

        The trick with The Goldfinch is audio! The narrator just kills the accents of the different characters, making it a treat to listen to. My husband and I heard it on a very long road trip, and both loved it!

  18. Jessica says:

    I love Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home. Gone with the Wind was probably the first “long” book I read, which got me in trouble for reading in Geometry when I should have been paying attention.

  19. Cathy Nelson says:

    “…And Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer. Set in a small Ohio town. Spans 60 years (1868 – 1932) in the lives of six member of a women’s club. Highly recommend.

    • loribeth says:

      I rarely do not finish a book, but I remember “And Ladies of the Club” was one of them! Just couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters! (And yes, it WAS a thick book!)

    • Laura FIsher says:

      Our Book Club read this one, so good. We did have to spread it out over three months. We read Kristin Lavransdatter this year.

  20. Trish D says:

    I, too, was really into long books back in high school. Multiple James Michener, Herman Wouk, Gone With the Wind… I re-read The Shell Seekers last year, and still loved it (very different read in middle age vs college) I made it through the first Outlander but wasn’t a fan, and gave up on The Goldfinch. And I’m planning to read The Count of Monte Cristo this fall!

  21. Amapola says:

    Some years ago I read “A Suitable Boy” (1488 pages) by Vikram Seth and although I enjoyed some parts better than others, still it was an interesting read.
    I also read “Kristin Lavransdatter” by Sigrid Undset (although you can find it divided as a series).
    As long as the story keeps me turning pages I don’t mind the length and I try to read them during vacation time.

  22. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    I am currently reading a 982-page novel that was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2019, “Ducks, Newburyport” by Lucy Ellman. It is a stream-of-consciousness novel, and it is just amazing. (It also should count as a longer book, because it has no chapter breaks, hardly any paragraph breaks, so probably more like 1,200 regular novel pages.) How can a book that hardly pauses for breath and stays in one woman’s (and one wildcat’s) head for only one day do so much as a novel? I dunno, it’s genius. (Also, often really funny; also, capturing so much about mother-daughter relations; also, not only what one person is thinking, but what we at this time in the world are thinking about, worrying about, finding ways to reconcile so we don’t obsess or drown in.)
    I’ve had this book for 2 years, and unlike many other people, I love to read long books in the summer, when I can spend more time on them and luxuriate in them. I have another fat novel on my summer reading list, as well as shorter and deeper novels to revisit before autumn revs up my schedule.

  23. Laura Lee Nelson says:

    What a fun essay topic your teacher gave you all! What did your husband Will write about loving that no one else appreciates?

  24. Nancy says:

    I read the unabridged (translated) version of Les Miserables by reading a chapter a day for one year–who knew it was 365 chapters exactly!? I had always wanted to read it but felt so intimidated. Completing it has been one of my greatest reading joys!

  25. I used to devour long books before I had a job and family 🙂 I’ve read several mentioned above, such as Kristin Lavransdottir and Jonathan Strange and Mr Morrell – plus Lord of the Rings, of course. A long book that’s easy to tackle is Sarum by Edward Rutherford, because it is essentially a series of historical novellas.

  26. Caroline says:

    Totally embarrassing, but my first super long one was “The Mists of Avalon.” I was so obsessed with that book that I insisted on doing an author project on it, ignoring the gentle efforts of my English teacher to point me in a more fruitful direction.

    I loved Count of Monte Cristo. When a coworker saw me reading it she said, “You know there’s an abridged version, right?”

    “Pillars of the Earth” is another doorstop I loved. Can’t wait to check out some of your recs!

    • Caroline says:

      Also, my strategy with long, dense books is to read shorter, easier reads when I need a break. That’s why I’m still working on Anna Karenina, which I started in 2019.

      I recommend Dorothy Dunnett’s two series. Though each book is between 400-600 pages on average, they are extremely dense so I think they should count 😬. They even have concordances. She was an absolutely brilliant woman and writer.

      Also recommend everything by George Eliot, esp “Middlemarch,” as reader above said.

  27. Sarah says:

    I want to like long books, but my attention wanders. My classic dilemma is that I read 300 or 400 pages of a really long book, get distracted by a library hold, then come back to my long book and don’t remember what is going on. I’ve read the first 300 pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell several times. Maybe this is the year that I finally make it through.

    I have had more success with really long classics, but only because I put supports in place. I used an email service that sends a section of the book each day by email. I didn’t always keep up with the emails, but having discrete chunks over time made it much more likely that I would actually finish. I managed The Count of Monte Cristo and War and Peace this way, and those are true commitments.

  28. Marissa Atherton says:

    I love fantasy and Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. The most recent Stormlight Archive book, Rhythm of War, was 1232 pages (hardback). I also read Don Quixote (1023 pages, paperback) a couple years ago with a friend.
    Those are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. Definitely went to goodreads to look up the page length 😊

  29. Indiana Gigi says:

    Lonesome Dove by the recently departed Larry McMurtry (just shy of 1000 pages). MMD gave me the push I needed to read this because I’m not drawn to long books. It ranked as one of the best books I’ve ever read. The writing is so gorgeous that I found myself stopping and backing up to reread passages. I finished the book much sooner than I anticipated because the writing just carried me along. The characters were unforgettable. I still go back and reread the chapter where Gus and Clara see each other after decades apart. I watched the miniseries shortly after and found Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones to be PERFECT as Gus and Call. Reading this book taught be not to be intimidated by long books. I’ve had a much harder time finishing shorter books that were poorly written!

  30. Christina says:

    Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett is my longest, but I’m 20% through The Count of Monte Cristo. I love long books!! They’re my fave.

  31. Colleen says:

    For me, it was Les Misérsbles. I read a “short” (800ish page) abridged version in high school, and later read the full length version, in translation – most of the addition was political commentary as I recall. It is one of my favorite books of all time. A lifetime ambition, not to be realized, is to read it in the original French. Alas, what little French I learned in college, largely forgotten, would never suffice.

  32. Lindsey Gonzales says:

    I’m kind of embarrassed to say the only long books I have read in recent years have been listened to on audio! Lonesome Dove, 960 pages; Troubled Blood, 944 pages; and currently listening to The Stand. I know it still counts as reading, but I do feel guilty that I have taken the “easy way out” on these long books!

  33. Nicole Fletcher says:

    The books in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson are all 1000+ pages long, withe latest coming in at 1232 pages.

  34. Diane says:

    Some of my favorite long books:
    Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. Another of her books has a recent translation, Olav Audunssøn: I. Vows, which is on my TBR.
    The Pillars of the Earth series by Ken Follett.
    War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (actually a trilogy, but this one is my favorite of the three.)
    Edward Rutherfurd books – very informative about the history of the countries, such as Russka, China, London, Paris.

    Mentioned by others: Lonesome Dove, Gone with the Wind. In the category of glad I read it: Count of Monte Cristo,

    • Tanya M says:

      I love Edward Rutherfurd books. I have China on my TBR. All of the books in the trilogy by Herman Wouk were amazing and one of my most memorable reads.

      • Heidi says:

        China is terrific! I just finished it a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes I have trouble keeping track of the families in Rutherford books, but this one is set in a shorter time period. Still just as fascinating!

  35. Tanya M says:

    In high school and in my early 20’s, I loved a long book and felt exactly as you did Anne. “War and Peace”, “Anna Karenina”, novels by James Michener, “Lonesome Dove”, “The Count of Monte Cristo” were some of my favorites. The longer, the better! I loved the way the family saga and story developed across generations in many of those novels or how you could sit with a character and really dig in to their history and thoughts. Then, as I had children and was working, I stopped reading as many long novels. I find I can now enjoy a long novel on audio and have loved “11/22/63”, “David Copperfield” (read by Richard Armitage), “Dune” to name a few great on audio that I have read over the past few years. I recently decided to read the physical book of “Kristin Lavransdatter” and found how much I enjoyed taking the time to enjoy these longer narratives again. I’m looking forward to exploring others that area bit longer once again!

    • Marcia says:

      A book that fits the category of a family saga is I Know This Much Is True. It was just under 1,000 pages, and I was so swept up in this family and their story.

  36. Ann says:

    There are probably others, but what immediately comes to mind are the Outlander books!

    How do I feel about them? Loved them all and did not want them to end!!!!!

  37. Julie says:

    The longest book I’ve read was Noble House by James Clavell – over 1300 pages! In high school, I read all the doorstoppers, like Winds Of War/War and Remembrance, Shogun/Noble House, The Fountainhead/Atlas Shrugged, The Stand, etc. My favorite doorstopper of all time is The Physician by Noah Gordon – only 700+ pages but I think that qualifies!

  38. Pam says:

    I love, Love, LOVE diaries! I love dipping in them, and sometimes reading 2 or 3 at the same time.

    The longest one I ever read and had to plough through and that is now a prop-up support for a weak leg under the bed is The Diaries of Anna Tolstoy. I fear I may dip into it again one day… but only once we repair the bed – or get a new one!

  39. Anne says:

    Not sure of the longest ever, maybe Roots or Gone with the Wind? But definitely the longest I’ve read lately was What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer. It’s a 1,050-page classic of political journalism and though that’s my field, I’d never read it. Why would you want to read about the 1988 presidential election in 2021? Because this book perfectly captures the drama, ambition and personality of the men who would be president. George HW Bush and Bob Dole have fascinating back stories and Joe Biden even features prominently. Highly recommend to anyone with any interest in history or politics.

  40. R Chow says:

    When I was young, and didn’t have my own income, and loved to read, there was the Scholastic program at school. I pored through the catalog, looking for the longest books to make the most out of what I was allowed to buy. That’s how I discovered Taylor Caldwell, with A Prologue to Love. I still have that copy of the book that clocks in at 724 pages.

  41. Alison says:

    The longest book I’ve read is “The Count of Monte Cristo” and I absolutely loved it!
    Longer but not quite at the 1,000 page mark would be “Gone with the Wind” and “The Brothers Karamazov.”

  42. Claire says:

    I read The Pillars of the Earth and loved it. I want to finish the trilogy. Also, Lonesome Dove which I loved. I just finished The Historian which I really liked. I don’t mind long books but can’t read two in a row (for some reason). Too many books on my TBR I guess.

  43. Karen Mahaney says:

    The longest book I ever read I believe was Les Miserables. And I will probably read again. It’s a must read.

    • Margaret says:

      Oh I agree! I have read it twice and will read it again. It is the best book – it has everything in it.

      I’ve also recently read War and Peace. Glad I did it. Not my favorite!

  44. Walter says:

    I have read The Stand, Les Miserables (twice) and Atlas Shrugged (twice). Not sure of their page counts but they were long. War and Peace is on my bedside table but I’m putting it off 😃

  45. Kate says:

    I love doorstops and try to read one a year. Currently reading The Count and enjoying it a lot. Past faves include Lonesome Dove, Bleak House, The Stand, and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Sometimes I will find old used copies and tear them into sections for easier reading.

    • Ann Perrigo says:

      Back in the late ‘70s I shared a house with several other readers. We all read a paperback copy of Shogun, but by the time the last of us got to it, pages were falling out, so he would just cast them aside as he read them—an indelible memory in my mind’s eye!

  46. Mary Ann Christman says:

    I love a good long book, but tend to prefer them in the cooler months than the summer. Yes, I tend to be a seasonal reader. My favorite book for many, many years was Gone With the Wind. I re-read it last year (for the 8th time) and it doesn’t quite hold the charm for me that it used to. The Stand is my all time favorite Stephen King book. I have read all the Game of Thrones books as well as the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, all pretty lengthy, as a lot of the epic fantasy tends to be.

  47. Suzy Bennett says:

    Has anyone mentioned And Ladies of the Club? From 1890 to 1930, 1100 or so pages about a book club, their members and lives. Time to reread!

    • Susan V says:

      About 30 years ago, a good friend and fellow reader told me about this book!! She had it in Mass Market Paperback, but I bought a Kindle copy not too long ago and I plan to read it in the next year or so!

      I also read most of Taylor Caldwell’s books, GWTW, and tons of Dostoevsky. My then boyfriend and I read Anna Karenina to each other over the phone in the early 1970’s! And I read the first half of War and Peace 3 times, but I guess that a doesn’t count!

      I had a good friend whose sister was in about 8th or 9th grade and she would read Gone with the Wind exclusively – when she finished it, she’d just start it over again. Another Mass Market Paperback that was falling apart. How did we read those books with such tiny print and printed on such awful paper?!

  48. Jennifer says:

    I was assigned The Mists of Avalon (896 pgs) in a high school English class. Loved the book, but I had to give an oral book report on it. It was so hard to summarize it in the time I was given, and I only made it halfway through my report. 🙂

    I read a few Michener books when I was younger. I tend to stick to books that are 500 pgs or less these days.

  49. Kristie says:

    I read Gone with the Wind in 5th or 6th grade and remember being absolutely enthralled by this massive old library copy with soft, worn pages. (I was an early and avid reader. Started out as an Escapist but evolved into a Discoverer.)

    • Colleen says:

      I read Gone With the Wind when I was young. I couldn’t believe that the book ended the way the made for TV movie ended. (Actually thought my parents made me go to bed early, so I decided to read the book.)

  50. Susie Tilton says:

    When I read The Stand years ago, I tore the paperback in half because it was too unwieldy to read on the beach! It was always one of my faves, but then I listened to The Last Tribe, about 23 hours, and one of my all time favorites. Think The Stand without the creepy stuff. And read by Scott Brick who is the very best in the business. I’ve probably listened 5 times….

  51. Stacie says:

    I love long books, especially during the summer and during vacations! A wonderful, lengthy tome is my idea of the perfect beach read. I usually read them on my Kindle because who would ever want to cart The Goldfinch in their beach bag? I also love long books on audio. I’m currently listening to a wonderful family saga: The Eigth Life by Nino Hiratischvili (40 hours!), and I don’t even realize how far I am or how much I have left.

  52. Andi Guinn says:

    Last year I made reading a LONG novel one of my reading goals. I picked Hawaii by James A. Michener based on a suggention from a friend. To be completely honest, I just got BORED with it. I tried to read 700 pages a week… by the end I was skipping through pages.

    Maybe I need to try a different style of book this year??

    • Steph says:

      My longest book was Centennial by Michener as well! I was rather bored too…. The book starts LITERALLY at the beginning of the earth and runs through present day in over 1k pages. I had to audiobook it to get through and I can honestly say I won’t be picking another one up 🙁

      • Ann Perrigo says:

        But nobody can write about prehistoric times the way Michener could! I found his contemporary story lines pretty weak, though.

  53. Clara says:

    Probably Bleak House or Anna Karenina, but the longest book I’ve read recently (three-or-four years ago) is Middlemarch. It was such a treat that I read it, then listened to it on audio. How did I get through college as an English major without having this as assigned reading!? I try to foist it onto anyone who will listen.

    It also initiated a mini George Eliot reading spree…

    • Suzy says:

      My first year in college, we read Middlemarch! I had not read it before, and we compared it to Sense and Sensibility.

    • Heather says:

      I lucked out and had a whole seminar on George Eliot as an English major! She is so brilliant. Her own life story is pretty awesome too, so I recommend reading one of the biographies on her, too.

  54. Haley Wofford says:

    So far the longest book I’ve read is The Novels of Alexander the Great by Mary Renault (1,437 pages).

  55. Suzanne Lambremont says:

    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett while I was on new adopted baby leave. I was deliriously happy, scared I wouldn’t be able to keep her alive, learning how and when to feed her formula. The deep dive into pillars was just the escape I needed to relieve the rollercoaster emotions. We had 3 days notice to get ready to bring my long awaited newborn home. She’s now 29 and an avid reader too.

  56. loribeth says:

    I haven’t read many doorstopper novels in recent years, although I used to — many of them mentioned here — Gone With the Wind, Atlas Shrugged. As I commented above, I tried and failed to get through And Ladies of the Club — one of the very few books that I’ve picked up and never finished. Just couldn’t get beyond the first few chapters!

    My longer reads lately have been non-fiction. Two really great ones that I’d like to mention: “Into the Silence” by Wade Davis, about the first explorers of Mount Everest. Incredibly detailed and absolutely fascinating. And All These Years: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn. It is Volume One in a planned trilogy of books about the Beatles, which takes us from the very beginning up to the end of 1962. It is something like 800 pages — and I later learned that’s the ABRIDGED version; there is an even longer 1700-page version available!! I have been impatiently waiting for Volume 2, which the author has said will likely not be out until at least 2023 (!). (Volume One, published in 2013, took more than 10 years to research & write, so I guess he’s on schedule…?) If you are a Beatles fan, as I am, this is an absolute must-read. And for all its length and incredible detail, it’s very readable (even the footnotes!).

  57. Emily B says:

    I read 11/22/1963 by Stephen King on an e-Reader and so had no idea of the size of it until much later when I saw it on the shelf of my library. Absolutely loved that story, was so completely engaging. I haven’t gotten through many books in that format because it’s harder for me to focus on the screen vs physical copy but that doorstop of a novel did not let me down.

    • Kelli says:

      Just finished this last night. I also read on my kindle and didn’t know it was so long until I looked it up!

  58. Elise G says:

    Had to read Texas (1472 pages) by James Michener in college. Another college read was Crime & Punishment (at 671 pages it’s not “super” long, but felt like it!). Read The Pillars of the Earth (973 pages). I don’t tend to be drawn to really long books these days, I tend to stay in the 400-700 page range.

  59. First time commenter here, but I am here for this discussion. I’m reading my longest book (in memory) now, Brothers Karamazov. It’s good and comes highly recommended so I’m sticking with it, but I keep thinking to myself, get on with it. Really well done fiction can get away with length I think. However, nonfiction books written for the average reader (not college textbook material) should trend shorter in my opinion. Often, the length becomes a case of “who cites who” and if we wanted to read the ideas of 100 experts on the topic, we could grab some of their own books.

  60. Diane Rineer says:

    Long books have LONG intimidated me but I just finished Pillars of the Earth last week and it was close to 1000 pages. I enjoyed the story so much I quickly did not even pay attention to page counts. The only draw back is it is a heavy book, so I couldn’t read it in bed, only in the morning with it propped on a pillow. It made me realize we shouldn’t be intimidated by a tome, if the stories a good one we can easily read to our hearts content. Thank you Ken Follett for writing such a entertaining, informative read. Thank you Anne, I enjoy your podcasts and blogs. Happy Reading!

  61. Leslie says:

    I loved long books when I was still in school. It’s much harder to take on something super long now with work, marriage, and kids in the picture. My favorites have been The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

  62. Sandy Hoenecke says:

    I’ve read the series (thus far), A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R R Martin and practically inhaled them. I think each was 1000 pages plus. Also Les Miserables . However, I just finished Ahab’s Wife at 666 pages and struggled , not because of length but because of characters and story line. (I read it because a good friend who loved it gave it to me).

  63. Alison says:

    Reading the comments about long chapters vs long books makes me revise my belief that I don’t like long books. I appreciate short chapters and avoid books over 500 pages. On the other hand, some of my favorite “books” are one long story published as a set that I happily read straight through without pause. Favorites that come to mind are Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels; Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter: The Bridal Wreath, The Mistress of Husaby, and The Cross; and Conrad Richter’s The Trees, The Fields, and The Town. If any of these had been published as one heavyweight of a book I would probably never have read them.

    • Shelli says:

      I haven’t gotten to The Cross. If I’d had it in one book I think I would’ve finished it. Now I’ve kinda forgotten the other 2… Do I start over? I loved these books!

      • Alison says:

        I’d be tempted to read a review of the first two and then try jump into the third. But if you decide to start over and maybe skim what you’ve read before and you’d prefer a long book, I see on Amazon that you can now buy this series as either the set or a new release that combines them into one big book, offering each of us our preferred choice. Heavenly!

  64. Linda P says:

    Great list of long books! My first long one was as others have said, Gone With the Wind as a teenager in the early “60s.. and so many more since then. One I’d like to recommend “Call the Darkness Light” by Nancy Zaroulis.. couldn’t put it down. Maybe not 1K pgs but long.

  65. Diane says:

    I was an over-achiever in the reading department even in elementary school! A friend and I both read Gone With the Wind (864 pages if my memory is correct) one summer and we thought we were something!!

  66. Olivia says:

    I’m a fan of super long books, especially on audiobooks. I’ve read all the Outlander series multiple times (November is the next one!!!!) Kate Morton has long books that I love. But my very first long one was Gone With the Wind. I read it in high school & had to write a paper from a character point of view—I wrote diary entries for Scarlett. I finished that book long before the others who picked the bare minimum page count.

  67. Laura Foster says:

    Atlas Shrugged and Gone with the Wind are my longest reads ever, both in high school. There seems to be a real trend in these comments with our longest reads achieved in high school, which is interesting! Maybe the time that stretches before us seems much longer then 🙂

  68. Marcia says:

    I guess I fall into the camp of loving long books. As I looked at the lists of long books and long audio-books, I found that I had read/listened to the majority of them. My recently finished looong book was War and Peace (1,276 pages). I have Fall of Giants as one of my MMD 2021 Challenge books. I think the longest audio-book I have listened to is Gone with the Wind (49 hours) followed closely by Grant (48 hours).

  69. Tina Schrader says:

    The far Pavillons by Mary M Kaye.

    Probably the longest book I ever read (1276 pages in German translation)
    I found it in my grandmas book case as a teenager.

    Loved it.
    Set in India at the turn of the century, super interesting.
    Speed read over the war descriptions, though.

    Highly recommend it, epic love story.

    Best
    Tina

  70. Virginia Westlake says:

    Pillars of the Earth. I had to call the library to renew it twice. I was still working then.
    Now I prefer books under500 pages.

  71. Margaret says:

    I can’t think of the longest book I’ve ever read but I’ve read several of the ones listed above. I know I read Centennial in high school but no idea if it was the first big book I ever read. I can’t wait for Bees to come out! Already pre-ordered!

  72. Jo Ellen says:

    I love reading long books. When I am reading a wonderful long novel I don’t want it to end! I do tend to do a palate cleanse between long books and read a lighter shorter book.

  73. Susan says:

    I usually prefer books to max out somewhere around 400 pages, because I am keen to read another story. But this year I have read Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (>700 pages) and The Rose Code (>600 pages) by Kate Quinn and really liked both of them. And neither seemed like they were too long.

  74. Mary Noel says:

    I’m a little surprised that no one has mentioned the unwieldiness of really long books. I LOVE long books, but, at 74 and with some arthritis, a doorstop book is quite uncomfortable. Since my eye doctor has recommended against ebooks, that leaves audio books as a possible solution to the problem. In reading the comments, I was delighted to see many old favorites (I would add Michener’s The Source), and I was also delighted to see that others were unable to get into The Goldfinch. I thought I was the only one!

    • Elle says:

      I don’t mind long books, in theory, but they feel like such a commitment. There are so many books I want to read and so little time that I feel like I’m giving up too much just to read a long book. If I really didn’t like it, I’d stop reading–but maybe I’d keep reading, decide it was a 3-star, but miss out on a couple of 5-star books.

      For those looking to get into a long, epic story, I loved The Name of the Wind (“only” 622 pages) and The Wise Man’s Fear (1000 pages). Be warned, though, that the author seems to be having trouble concluding the series. It’s been 10 years since Book 2 was published. This series and A Song of Ice and Fire started my rule that I only begin a series if it’s complete or if each book stands alone.

      • Heidi says:

        We’re halfway through reading The Name of the Wind aloud with our kids. I’m hoping that if we drag it out long enough, maybe he’ll have finished book 3 before we get done with Wise Man’s Fear. Not holding my breath, though. C’mon, Rothfuss!

    • Jennice says:

      I remember the first big book I ever attempted to read was a 1000+ page behemoth about Thomas Jefferson in 2nd grade. The Librarian looked at me skeptically but chrcked it out for me anyway. It was boring with had language I didn’t understand yet. I quickly returned it. However, I LOVE big books. I read the Stand twice but my favorite big book is The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.

  75. Claire says:

    I’m currently reading my longest book ever – And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hoover Santmyer. I’m on page 908 of 1433. I’ve had to take a couple of breaks though so I’m thinking of it more as a series.

  76. Danielle says:

    I love any length books! The longest ones I can remember reading off the top of my head are Aztec by Gary Jennings, It by Stephen King, Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (the longest one I think is close to 1500 pages), and I’m halfway through 11/23/63 by Stephen King. Oh yeah, and about halfway with The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett as well.

  77. Lala says:

    I like long books and tend to find them more memorable and worth reading. According to goodreads, the longest book I’ve finished is Gone With the Wind, followed by Anna Karenina, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Winter (Lunar Chronicles), and That Great Far Thing (Gemma Doyle). The Goldfinch and The Historian are both favorites, too. One I need to finish is Les Miserables.

  78. Heather says:

    I’m finally reading The Stand after seeing it on your list of long books for a long time 😀 I’m 100 pages (i.e. 8%) in and enjoying it so far. I’m feeling accomplished already!

  79. Amy Reasoner says:

    I don’t know which one would actually click on at the very longest, but my top three would be Gone With the Wind, Atlas Shrugged, and David Copperfield. The last two both took me a long time, but I read GWTW in 3 weeks in college because a boy I liked was reading it, and I wanted to have something to talk to him about. 😂😂

  80. Chrissi says:

    A long book can feel daunting! I’m a notorious ‘how many pages until the end of this chapter?’ reader. I’ve solved this problem using more e- and audiobooks.

    My book club reading challenge for 2021 has been to ‘read a book that intimidates you.’ I chose Anna Karenina, at the recommendation of a fellow reader from the book club. I definitely read the book differently than if I had been reading a lighter read do ensure I got the most out of my (36 hours of audio!) time and walked away with an ability to fully discuss the story.

    If you’ve never read it, there’s a reason it’s still mentioned in literary circles, and I highly recommend it. The writing is instantly engaging (yes, even the Russian political history), and the story is vibrant.

  81. Vanessa says:

    I think the longest book I’ve read is Clarissa by Samuel Richardson back in my grad school days, which is at least 1500 pages. But the longest book that I really loved is War and Peace.

  82. Sarah says:

    Anything by Rosemund Pilcher. The Shell Seekers, September, Winter Solstice, Coming Home. I just finished Coming Home and I think that’s the longest of the bunch. My fave was either Shell Seekers (duh) or Winter Solstice. All very good! She’s also got a couple collections of shorter stories I’ll probably read next.

  83. Gwendolyn Kik says:

    I adore epic novels. I can’t get enough. I have been known to choose a book in the library merely based on its physical stature – you know, weapon sized.
    This is why I LOVE all the Margaret George novels. I recommend alllll of the early ones, especially.

  84. Shannon Stewart says:

    I don’t mind long books if the story is captivating. I read the first several Outlander books but got kind of tired of them. I may go back and finish them off yet. I think I just needed a break and a new story. I read the biography (auto biography?) of Louis Armstrong which was 500+ pages as I recall. Also, Don Quixote. It’s been awhile but I think that one was around 1000. It definitely didn’t need to be that long but I was dying to see where
    “Man of La Mancha” had come from.

  85. Barbara Kiester says:

    I’ve gone through different phases with long books. The constant is that they have to be a physical book. I am too put off by seeing the pages or percent on my ereader. Since I do most of my reading on an ereader now, the big books are not getting read right now.
    My favorite long book is “Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkein.

  86. Libby Miner says:

    I tend to stay away from very long books because they feel daunting. It’s a big commitment! As a teen I read Jane Eyre, which is my favorite, and some Dickens. Those are fairly lengthy, and Dickens–so wordy! For my book club in recent years, I’ve had to read, first, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I finished both. Not everyone did, so unless your bookclub loves long reads I don’t recommend them for book groups. We also tend to meet once a month, so it can be difficult to always finish a book that long in time for a meeting. These were both also a bit of a slog for me because of hard topics, but I persevered. Most recently our book club read Deep River by Karl Marlantes. That one is over 700 pages, but the story was so captivating that most of us finished it within a week or two of consistent reading, and we enjoyed it. It was a page turner for most of us. I don’t tend to go for long books in general unless they are highly recommended or required!

    • MaryEllen Laughary says:

      I also read and liked Deep River. Found it fascinating. GWTW was my first long book in fifth grade. I love family sagas. I’ve read many mentioned here and have some new ones to tackle.

  87. Karen Gelbart says:

    I just read David Copperfield – 880 pages. I hadn’t read Dickens since high school and found this one wonderful and engaging. I also recently read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – a Victorian novel that is a true page-turner. MUCH better than The Moonstone, which I subsequently read.

  88. Tiffany Lomenzo says:

    Forgot to mention that I like long books. Also, The Stand is well worth reading. It is one of my favorites.

  89. I do not shy away from any book that I want to read because of the page content. Since I am a digital reader I often don’t notice how long the book is until I see it will take me 30 hours at my current reading rate to finish this book :). Most of my lengthy reads are nonfiction, and usually about a President or military hero. I just looked back and the last two years were around 1000 pages. This year it was Grant by Chernow (my second reading) and last year It was The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

  90. Michelle Wilson says:

    I would have said that I didn’t read long books but reviewing these other comments, I have read many of other favorites. I feel like I am more put off long books now cause I think about them ‘taking time from my reading’…which is completely crazy. I also am not an e reader user (at least not by choice) and so hauling some of these around can be off putting.

    This post is inspiring me to start A Suitable Boy ( I bought it over 10 years ago. Another customer hand sold it to me as the best book he ever read! 4 moves later-still haven’t read it but maybe this summer).

    I adore a really, really long science heavy, narrative NF audio (Emperor of All Maladies-Siddharta Murkerjee; Medical Apartheid-Harriet Washington; The Great Influenza-John M. Barry; And the Band Played On-Randy Shilts (a whopper at 31 hours); and How to Survive a Plague-David France)

    • Carolyn says:

      Don Quixote, Volume 1 & 2 with each volume clocking in around 1,000 pages. My favorite book ever.

      I finally actually read Les Miserables. Loved Bleak House! I’ve got The Stand in my queue.

    • heide says:

      was it worth it? I picked it up at the library a couple months ago, but returned it without getting past the first few pages, because I had a pile that were due around the same time. If it’s worth it, I may go check it out again.

  91. Teresa says:

    I am a “long” time lover of looooong books…especially multi generational sagas. I have only recently begun to appreciate short stories and novellas (I have traditionally avoided them).

  92. Sherry Andre says:

    Off the top of my head, I’m guessing the longest book I’ve read might be The Pillars of the Earth, though several of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series were long, as were several of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles and Nicolo Rising series. The unabridged Moby Dick was lengthy too as were Dumas and Dickens works.

  93. Natalie says:

    I don’t mind the long books because if they are engrossing the pages flip by at a fast pace but I definitely plan for them. I’m going to start Game of Thrones this year (said I was going to start in January, hah!) but I feel the same way you do – I’m behind by 2 books on my GoodReads Reading Challenge so I’m hesistant to start the series right now. I also have “Middlemarch” on my list and keep eyeballing it on my bookshelf but have no plans to start it soon. 🙂

  94. Sharon says:

    I would say that, in general, I *don’t* enjoy long books. . . although I certainly understand the appeal of a longer book in the sense of not wanting a beloved story to end. Most books that I’ve read and enjoyed are somewhere between 250-400 pages.

    I think the Outlander books are probably the longest fiction books I’ve read and enjoyed.

  95. Janet says:

    Like so many others, Gone With the Wind was probably one of my first long books. Also read The Thorn Birds when I was probably too young! It seemed long to me. Have also read many titles mentioned in these comments and liked them all, and feel compelled to stick up for The Goldfinch!
    The characters were so well done—and the little dog!

    Really curious about the new Outlander coming out, have read all the others 2x,they never disappoint.

  96. Kim Lennie says:

    I have read most of all the books mentioned mostly back in my teens. Roots, GWTW, East of Eden, War and Peace, Clan of the Cave Bear series and Outlander series. James Michener The Drifters was my favorite of his books. The Stand comes in 2 versions and if your going to read it then read the uncut version. I am a major Stephen King fan and The Stand was and still is my favorite of all his books. The longer the book the better, I say.

  97. Melissa Shetler says:

    I think the longest book I’ve ever read is the Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. 973 pages.

    • Melissa Shetler says:

      Actually, it is IT by Stephen King at 1138 pages. But Pillars of the Earth is by far one of my most favorite books.

  98. adepy says:

    love long books so much. So: Sea of the silver light, n°4 of Otherland by Tad Williams, The lord of the rings, Agains the day by Thomas Pynchon, Victor Hugo, Tolstoï. And the next one will be Jerusalem by Alan Moore

  99. Karen C Kelter says:

    Gone With the Wind was always my favorite. Then I read Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, and I did not want it to end. Then he wrote a sequel, World Without End, even a bit longer. Now he has written prequel which I have not read yet.

  100. Annie says:

    Ken Follett Edge of Eternity. But that will change this year because I’m doing a Chapter a Day Readalong of War and Peace.

  101. Megan says:

    If you count “The Lord of the Rings” as one book, that’s probably the longest book I’ve read. I think it took me about a year to get through all three books, though I did get really into it about halfway through The Return of the King and remember reading it during my Algebra class in college (my poor professor, I fear I may have been a bit rude when he said something about it; something to the effect of Frodo and Sam being more interesting than Algebra, we were just going over a test I’d done well on).

    I have yet to conquer Les Miserables, but my translated, unabridged paperback is over 1300 pages I believe.

    I started listening to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell on audio and really ought to get back to it.

    Usually I gravitate towards shorter books, but if I am into a story and enjoy the characters, I am definitely game for something longer.

  102. Shaney Swift says:

    What I have found personally is I don’t mind long books, but definitely prefer 1) fiction over nonfiction (Outlander is easy, but Alexander Hamilton has been languishing on my shelf for years), 2) more contemporary authors (Kate Morton, for example, writes around 600-ish pages per book and I don’t mind, but Charles Dickens? Eh( and 3) too many long books in a row for me will really diminish my reading enthusiasm. I actually had a list of 24 long books to read this year, I got through three of them and haven’t been able to pick up another really long book since.

    • Anne says:

      Shaney, I will confess that my Alexander Hamilton situation is similar. (Although in the past I have inhaled MANY Doris Kearns Goodwin books without coming up for air. Not sure what the difference is there.)

  103. Emily says:

    I was given Gone With The Wind as a gift once, and finally read it as a young married woman. Also read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy in a box set, all in a row, and loved those! But recently, my longest books have been the Harry Potter series, which I was not at the right age to read when they were released, and A Prayer for Owen Meany at 543p. I see by my list, I trend to the 200-300 range pretty regularly, though a few of my romance titles (especially those by Julia Quinn or Grace Burrowes) have gone over the 400p mark. Great list!

  104. Katie says:

    I think the longest books I’ve read are in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. The latest one, Rhythm of War, was 1,232 pages. But they are so good, they are worth it!

  105. Kristin says:

    I like big books and I cannot lie. I think the longest was Les Miserables. I remember reading GWTW in high school because I had my grandmother’s copy at home and would go to the library during study hall to read their copy off the shelf. To date myself, I remember waiting for Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much To Be True to come out in paperback because it was too heavy to lug on my commuter train! I’m grateful for eReaders!

  106. Rhonda M says:

    I love long books, but I do a lot of reading challenges and those don’t usually fit in well.

    The Stand by Stephen King, which I read over 30 years ago, held the longest book spot until I read Les Miserables last year. Some other long books (over 1000 pages) I’ve read recently are The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, both by Brandon Sanderson. I really want to read The Count of Monte Cristo, especially after loving Les Mis last year.

  107. Sandy says:

    At somewhere around 1000 pages (as I remember) it would be …And Ladies of the Club. I loved that book and want to do a reread of it soon.

  108. Hannah says:

    I do love falling into a gigantic book where I’m able to get fully immersed in the lives of the characters!

    I looked at my Storygraph stats and found my longest 4-5 star reads of the last 10ish years were:
    Outlander numbers 1-5
    Lord of the Rings
    Game of Thrones numbers 1-5
    The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronen
    Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
    Cormoran Strike number 5
    A whole slew of Stephen King (It, The Stand, The Shining, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, Insomnia, Duma Key)
    I got several ideas from the comments, too! 🙂

  109. Ashley says:

    The longest book I have read is Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding. The version I had was a little over 1100 pages. I remember feeling VERY accomplished after finishing it in a fortnight. (Not to mention it’s actually quite an entertaining and salacious read in its own right.) I was unemployed at the time and had a lot of time on my hands. I’d cook elaborate three course dinners for my family and read all day after I had tweaked my resume and applied to all the new archivist jobs in the morning. I’ve found in more recent years that I prefer “shorter” books (200-500 pages). I find I’m more of a mood reader now, so if I’m stuck reading a very long book for weeks after the impetus for picking up a particular genre or title is gone, I become disinterested. I can still enjoy a doorstop every now and then, but it has to be really grab my attention.

  110. Lisa Toner says:

    Probably the longest book I’ve read was Les Miserables. I loved Pillars of the Earth and I Know This Much is True. ❤️ I don’t mind long books at all, as long as they’re good and move along at a reasonable pace.

  111. Lisa Toner says:

    Just for fun, I Googled “longest book ever published”. Guinness World Records says it’s “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust. Am I the only one who finds the title ironic??

  112. Heidi says:

    I am apparently a long-book lover! The first long books I remember reading have already been mentioned – Gone With the Wind and Pillars of the Earth and The Lord of the Rings. I’ve recently gotten into Stephen King, but not the horror stuff. Finished listening to The Stand a month or two ago – 48 hours! I also love The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and Kristin Lavransdottir by Sigrid Undset. But my all time favorite is by Connie Willis: Blackout and All Clear. She meant it to be one book, but it was too big – I think each book is at least 700 pages long!

  113. Debbie Murphy says:

    I love, love, LOVE long books and am always on the lookout for good ones. I’ve either read or own and plan to read most of the 20 long books you included in this post. I’ve also loved Gone With the Wind, The Sunne in Spendor, Lonesone Dove, and I can’t wait for the 9th Outlander book. I’m ready to start rereading those already!

  114. Lorene says:

    I read GWTW when I was 15. Does the Harry Potter series count? Read those when they came out and started reading them again. I’ve also read Michener. Most of the books I read are 500-750.

  115. Kathy Kempf says:

    I’m not sure, but probably the longest book I have ever read is,besides the Bible, “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

  116. Brenda Steiner says:

    Definitely read The Stand! It is my favorite Stephen King book. I’ve read most of the ones people have mentioned and liked them all except The Goldfinch. It started off well, but I lost interest in that one. I loved all of the Outlander series, so I’m glad to hear a new book is coming soon. I also highly recommend The Pillars of the Earth series. I also remember really liking A Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein and Vanity Fair by Thackery when I read them in college.

  117. Molly says:

    I’m not against long books, but I am more picky. If I’m going to invest that level of commitment, I need to be interested in the topic or plot. The longest book I’ve read is probably Count of Monte Cristo but I couldn’t keep the characters straight! Why do characters need multiple names???

  118. Thamarai M. says:

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, at over a 1000 pages, is the longest book I have ever read. I was in my early 20s when I read this book and remember really enjoying it as I was about the same age as the protagonist and was experiencing the same cultural pressures.

    I am in my 40s now and am unsure if I have the stamina to read long books! 🙂

  119. Andrea Olynick says:

    I usually listen to audiobooks. Recently I wanted really long books and readers that I enjoy: Testimony of Two Men, Bertie: A Life of Edward the VII, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, The Likeness, John Adams. I also wanted to be away from our current era.

  120. patricia says:

    A Suitable Boy. With 1,349 pages (1,488 pages in paperback), the English–language book is one of the longest novels published in a single volume. We read it in our book club. We gave ourselves two months to finish it. It was about 1,000 pages too long for me. But I did love it.

  121. Mary Lou says:

    I am a fan of the doorstop, and don’t particularly seek out or enjoy any book under 300 pages. I am in the middle of Lonesome Dove right now, recently finished The Goldfinch, and before that American Dirt. I prefer a long book because if its good, why would I want it to end? As for The Stand, it is not one of my most favorite Stephen King books, but it is good. I preferred 11/23/63. Even on Audible, if its under 10 hours I’m not too interested. Go figure. . .

  122. Ellen Zimmerman says:

    The Stand is one of my top ten books of all time and have been meaning to re-read it. The television adaptations pale in comparison to the books (as to most adaptations). Let us know if you do decide to read The Stand–would be a good excuse for me to pick it up again as well!

  123. Ruth Wilson says:

    I get weird about this question, because there are some books that don’t really exist individually, but as part of a SET and getting “credit” for those series is part of the fun. So, in that category, I would put squarely Lord of the Rings by Tolkein. He wrote it as one story – one book – but his publisher made him break it into three books, and hence the spoiler of a title for book three, Return of the King.
    LOTR: Fellowship, Two Towers and Return are pretty dang long individually, as well, but what beats them easily are The Fiery Cross by Diana Galbadon (1,443) and The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (1,207). These books are the longest books I have read and are likewise part of extensive series. Talk about commitment!
    As the mother of two teens, I’ve gotten away from reading big books AS MUCH, but I am undaunted by the Ken Folletts, Stephen Kings and George RR Martins of the world. If done well, the time invested will slip by as if no time has gone by at all. I may just be hungrier when I resurface.

  124. Heide says:

    Oh, so many. I’ve read The Stand, Gone With the Wind, The Far Pavilions, Pillars of the Earth, Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle (all 3 in a row), several Micheners, A Suitable Boy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and I can’t remember what else. I’ve always loved really long books, but haven’t read any for awhile. Maybe I need to pick up a really long book and get stuck in it to get out of my current funk.

  125. Nancy says:

    I’m in the short novel camp. I did read The Count of Monte Cristo a few years ago and I thought it would never end. Ha! I liked part of the book, but I was often confused, and/or bored. I recently read Little Women. It’s just shy of 600 pages but if I’d been Louisa May Alcott’s editor I would have recommended leaving out a few parts. I did enjoy it for the most part, however.

  126. Eileen Sullivan says:

    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    Roots by Alex Haley
    Winds of War; War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
    Chesapeake; Centennial by Mitchener
    Trinity; Exodus; QB VII by Leon Uris
    The Angle of Repose; Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    David Copperfield; Great Expectations; Little Dorrit; A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    All the trilogies by Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth and Century)
    North and South; Mary Barton; by Elizabeth Gaskell
    Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
    Outlander Series
    …and so many more. I love listening to long books on audio–I become so immersed in the characters, the setting, and the story AND I get my money’s worth from Audible. Not great for library books though!

  127. Danell says:

    This is my year of long books! This year I have read Pachinko, The Nightengale, Villette, Bonhoeffer, Wuthering Heights, The Gilded Ones, Project Hail Mary, and others this year- but my longest was definitely David Copperfield way back in high school.

  128. Jill Elliott says:

    I really like to read long books, especially during the pandemic. Last year I read The Count of Monte Cristo and Atlas Shrugged. I get excited when I choose a long book to read.

  129. The Thorn Birds and Cutting for Stone were both in the upper 600s and The Most Fun We Ever Had was in the 500s. I really typically stay away from over 450 unless I’ve been compelled otherwise. The first two were both book club choices and so felt like I had to finish them and I loved them both. Also loved The Most Fun. I prefer shorter chapters if this book is long because you feel like you are making headway.

  130. Cassie Allen Orr says:

    I’ve read The Stand (1152 pages) and It (1138 pages) by Stephen King, and I’m currently reading Shogun (1126 pages) by James Clavell. I don’t mind long books if they are good… but they do postpone me getting back to my TBR list!

  131. Kristin says:

    Loved Michener as a teen and young adult6 GWTW is one of my favorite. The Eighth Life is my new favorite long book. I have been reading The Count of Monte Cristo for awhile. I really like it but have too many library books right now. I count anything over 600 pages a long book.

  132. Alan says:

    A quick take of some of my favorites are Lonesome Dove by McMurtry and the entire Wolf Hall series by Hillary Mantel. I also reread the Herman Wouk’s series: Winds of War & War and Remembrance, at least 3 times. I’m trying to reread The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer. Wish me luck.

  133. Susan Garbiso says:

    I can’t say I’ve read loads of them. But I love the way around nook can pull you in so deep that the issue of length becomes non-existent. In the end of 7th grade I contracted mononucleosis which put me on the sofa most of the summer. I read Gone With The Wind (1000+) in 3 days. I read The Stand (King) and that was the last. Mainly because most books just don’t grab me enough to finish. I met my match in Andrew Roberts’ bio Churchill: Walking with Destiny (1100+). It’s extraordinary and I don’t want it to end. I am so thankful to find your book list because I’m realizing there are books out there that are worth it, I just haven’t been able to wade through and find them. Thank you, especially for this post.

  134. Suzy says:

    I can’t say I’m a long book Fan, but in high school, I got hold of a list of Classics You Should Read, and I’ve tried to read a lot of them over the years, which got me started on the long ones. The Count of Monte Cristo, Don Quixote, East of Eden, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Hunchback and Les Miz, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair, The Forsyte Saga, Dr. Zhivago, and for more recent novels I loved Shogun, GWTW, Outlander series, A Fine Balance, The Hunt for Red October, The Far Pavilions, Hawaii, Americanah, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I really enjoyed all of them, but I tend towards shorter books out of preference. Big books are intimidating, but if they’re good, they’re good! I must say, other reader’s recs have made me want to read The Stand, and I’ve never heard of A Suitable Boy, but I’d love to get it now!

  135. Candice Buchanan says:

    You want a door stopper, I have a few lol. First, all the Ice & Fire Books/Game of Thrones. Then try of course The Stand, but also look at The Institute. My two favorite “bricks” have got to be “The Mists of Avalon” and “The Pillars of the Earth”. Hopefully you haven’t already read them. 🙂

  136. Joy says:

    Like you, I used to love long books but somewhere along the line, I stopped reading them in exchange for shorter books. Pillars of the Earth, books by Michener, Leon Uris, and Edward Rutherfurd. A favorite of mine in high school was Those Who Love by Irving Stone. Over 600 pages, and I must have read it at least six times.

    More recently, I read the Outlander series, The Goldfinch, and Wolf Hall, but I don’t seem to pick up the big ones as often. I think that might be a reading goal for the rest of the year and I have the perfect choice: Kristin Lavransdatter.

    I’ve been meaning to read The Count of Monte Christo for years. Your response to it revived that desire. Thanks for the inspiration to revisit long books.

  137. Christy says:

    Sacajawea is the longest book I have read (1424 pages). It is a very great book. I haven’t seen it mentioned in the comments. It is diffently worth reading. I’ve also read the Outlander series, The Stand, and It.

  138. MarySue says:

    I read The Stand in 1979 when I was a senior in high school and it is still my favorite Stephen King novel. The good vs. evil is a King hallmark, but this book really takes it to the nth degree. Also, the characters are extremely well-written. I have to say IT comes in second, as I still can’t look down the bathroom sink drain without a bit of trepidation, so the plot definitely stuck with me all these years later. I loved The Thorn Birds and Gone with the Wind, too.

  139. Shelli says:

    May I recommend “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese. I think it’s around 540 pages. It was just beautifully written and the audible book was great! I’ve read many of these longer suggestions from Anne. I didn’t know I liked long books but I guess I do!

    • Tracey says:

      Long books I loved:
      Roots by Alex Haley, Cloudsplitter by Russel Banks A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson, And the Band Played On by Randy Schilts, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Team of Rivals by DKG, and The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving are all time faves
      Long books I regret spending so much time on:
      David Copperfield, East of Eden, Garp & A Widow for One Year by Irving, Dragonfly in Amber by Gabaldon.

  140. Diana says:

    Great question, Anne. Usually I prefer 250 to 300 pages when reading a book because it is easier to hold and read. However, I would make an exception if the book is excellent. I remember reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and I loved it. I do not recall it being a long book, though.

  141. Ashley Prince says:

    The longest book I have read was, “IT” by Stephen King. I was hooked. I read it back in my sophomore year of high school. It’s way creepier than the movies.

  142. deborah horrell says:

    So your post really resonated with me because in high school I too loved long books. In fact, the first long book I read was The Count of Monte Cristo. I spent most of the summer on it and loved it. As another reader mentioned, Mitchner is great too and I loved both Centennial and Hawaii. Sort of afraid to re-read the latter because I don’t want to find it trite today. Another long book I recommend is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts set in India’s slums. Thanks for your blog.

  143. Sandy says:

    The Stand, East of Eden, The Brothers Karamazov (admittedly, I skimmed a lot of the dissertation disguised as dialogue), The She’ll Seekers. The most memorable long read for me is Michael O’Brien’s “The Island of the World”. I finished it and IMMEDIATELY started it over and re-read it. It’s published by a Catholic publisher and has a decidedly Christian viewpoint but I think any reader would appreciate the sweeping history of the 20th century in Eastern Europe. I read it and The Shell Seekers on ebook and find long books are less daunting when you’re not holding the heft of the book and staring at how many pages remain.

  144. Jaclyn says:

    I love long books. I don’t read as many as I used to, but they don’t scare me. Gone With the Wind was probably one of my first really long ones (somewhere in middle school). By high school I had moved on to Les Miserables (inspired by the musical, or course). I’ve actually read that one twice, and it was so worth it. The Count of Monte Cristo, Bleak House, Wives and Daughters, 11/22/63…oh there are more but I can’t think of them right now. I often like to read a doorstop novel in the summer, when I have more time (I’m a teacher).

    • Jaclyn says:

      However, if we want to talk longest series (with a bunch of long books in it), winner for me was The Wheel of Time. Took me over a year (interrupted by having a baby in there somewhere), but I read all 14 books (is that right? There are a ton!)

  145. Heather says:

    The first year I did the MMD reading challenge I read Gone with the Wind (liked) and listened to Anna Karenina (hated!). I was pretty impressed with myself but also transitioned to reading shorter books.

  146. Joan says:

    I read Gone with the Wind in high school, and I hated that it ended. I’ve reread the Count of Monte Cristo and like it enough that I don’t think of it as long. I’ve read a couple of James Michener’s long books and some of Tom Clancy’s. But usually, I prefer shorter books. If they need to be broken into a series, that’s fine with me, and if I like the first one, I’ll read the whole series. (I thought I would read all of the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy, but some of them are just too long to get me started.)

  147. Debbie says:

    I don’t mind long books as long as they are good and I’ve read several that are on your list. I’ve read Anna Karenina three times, first when I was around 12 and I threw it aside after the suicide, the second time was in college and I didn’t think much of it, the third time was when I was around age 40 and I loved it because I finally realized what it was really about. I’m thinking of reading it again (in my sixties) to see if I will get something different out of it. A couple of great long books were not on your list: Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West and Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain.

  148. Kate says:

    I will not shy away from a long book, as long as it is well-written!
    American Gods, East of Eden, Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norell, Forsythe Saga, North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell), a few of the Harry Potter books, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Forgotten Garden…
    Give me a epic tome over a brief & choppy book 🙂
    The books that FELT the longest were the three Dan Brown books I read.

  149. Fiona says:

    I love Elizabeth George’s mysteries – many of them are very long. I have also enjoyed The Shell Seekers and Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher.

  150. Heather says:

    Since you asked and it’s one of my personal life achievements that I rarely get to show off, I’ve read one of the longest books in the world, A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. Translated into English the title is either Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time. It is 7 spectacular volumes, I think it must be 4,000 pages total, and it really is an amazing book. No time lost reading it! 😁 I still vividly recall certain scenes and characters when something I see reminds me of them. I recommend the whole thing, but you can read the first volume, Swann’s Way, as a great standalone. I have also lost the energy for long books in recent years, but I am rereading Middlemarch (800 pages or so) and loving it, so maybe it is coming back to me! And yes, I was an English major. 🙂

  151. Maburl Schober says:

    I have had difficulty getting into Proust’s giant work but will give it another try. If the books is great I never want it to end and I get annoyed with my book club members whose first question about a recommended book is “How many pages?” The longest? Perhaps Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I loved it, the multiple stories in 4 volumes. I egan Middlemarch recently but found it slow going so put it aside to come back to later. The Pandemic really affected my ability to concentrate. I love so many of the books mentioned by others: East of Eden, The Goldfinch, Gabaldon’s series, The Corrections.

  152. Jessica says:

    Les Miserables! I read the abridged version in high school (and loved it), then decided to try the unabridged version. It took me 10+ years of off-and-on reading, but I would do it again. Still one of my favorite stories.

    The Stand is on my shelf… debating if we’re far enough “through” the pandemic to start it without having panic attacks. 😉

  153. Nancy says:

    Not a horror fan and thus have read only a couple of Stephen King books. Obviously he’s a master, but for my money his earlier book, The Dead Zone, is better and less creepy. And it’s shorter! It’s been decades since I read The Dead Zone so I don’t know how well it has aged, but I still remember it. And I suspect some of the themes are still quite relevant.

  154. JC says:

    When I was young I loved long books (and p.s. The Stand is one of my all-time faves although it took me two tries). Since then, I have learned that I’m a slow reader. Enter audiobooks! ! I read (listen) to all long titles now.

  155. If we’re going by word count, my longest read was The Lord of the Rings. The Count of Monte Cristo was the book that made me realize I really love long novels. I like getting lost in a story and staying lost for a long time!

  156. Susie Yates says:

    Sometimes I veer away from the longer books because of my worry that I’ll lose track of the characters and setting. Suggestions??

  157. Hortensia Gomez-Tirella says:

    I totally get how you felt with your first 1000 pager; I felt that way reading GWTW in 7th grade! Oh and the new Diana Gabaldon book comes out in late November.

  158. Luciana says:

    I’ve listened to “Fall, or Dodge in Hell” by Neal Stephenson, almost 32 hours. It was a good book, but it felt like 3 different books: the first third was a dystopian novel, the second third was an experimental sci-fi and the third a fantasy adventure. I’ve enjoyed the first part better but overall it is a good book.

  159. Ann says:

    I’ve ordered a copy of The Goldfinch as my add on for BOTM this month. I tried finishing it 8 years ago. I know precisely bc my first grandson was a baby. I had a library book and kept having to recheck it. Hopefully now, with my own copy I’ll finish.

    I really don’t mind a long book, if it’s a good one! I’ve read all the Outlander series and looking forward to the next one.

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