We are back for another installment of That Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s topic: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read.
Below are my select favorites from the list of Longest Books I’ve ever read. I’ve occasionally grouped titles in the same series together, else this list would be dominated by a few authors. Page counts will obviously vary by edition.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Page Count: 1006
This book checked a lot of boxes for me. Tragic tale of friendship gone wrong? Check. Magic? Check. Regency Era style of writing? check. The pacing occasionally grinds to a halt in places, but is still a memorable read years later.
THE NAME OF THE WIND/THE WISE MAN’S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
Page Count: 662/994
“It was a silence of three parts.” From the opening page, I was drawn into the long, winding tale of Kvothe and his many, many adventures. I remember less about the plot than I do about how these books made me feel. These are the kinds of tales that evoke an aura of sitting around a fire, listening to a masterful storyteller work his craft.
THE GRACE OF KINGS/THE WALL OF STORMS by Ken Liu
Page Count: 623 & 880
These massive tomes chronicle the exploits of a slew of characters over decades as they plot and battle their way to power in a fictional Asian-inspired country. Mr. Liu has described the genre of these books as “silkpunk,” fusing technology with an older East-Asian aesthetic. Add to that a dash of meddling by the occasional god, and you have a perfect balance of fantasy, sci-fi, and “historical” fiction to while away the hours with.
SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson
Page Count: 880
Even though I will likely never read this book again, I couldn’t leave it off my Top Ten List. Hard sci-fi is not a go-to genre for me, but I slugged it out with this book because the concept was so fascinating. If the entire planet knew without any doubt that the world was going to end in two years, how would they react? What plans would be made for survival? The book takes place in three acts – leading up to the Earth’s destruction, immediately following its destruction, and several hundred years in the future. At times I felt like I was getting a physics lecture, but the characters themselves kept me clawing through apogees and ellipses until the bitter end.
WINTER by Marissa Meyer
Page Count: 827
The culmination of a superb sci-fi spin on classic fairy tales had a lot of loose ends to tie up, which accounts for the massive jump in book length (the previous entry came in at 557 pages). There’s a part of me that wishes this had been a bit shorter, but with revolutions, multiple love stories and a couple of rescues to resolve, its hard to fault the author too much.
THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS by Jim Butcher
Page Count: 630
If I have one complaint about this book, it’s that there is no release date in sight for the sequel! Mr. Butcher took a break from his urban fantasy series THE DRESDEN FILES to write an epic steampunk novel full of flying ships, talking cats, and an ancient evil on the rise. Enjoy the ride, then join me in impatiently waiting for the next book.
DUNE by Frank Herbert
Page Count: 604
It’s been about a decade since I read this book, but I still remember how completely hooked I was from the opening pages. It was a DENSE read, but I absolutely loved it. There’s a reason it shows up on every single top sci-fi books list you can find.
REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch
Page Count: 650
There’s a definite theme here of later books in the series getting longer. My favorite fantasy con artist, Locke Lamora, is back in this third book, ready to pull another ridiculous over the top heist, all while dealing with the complications that arise when he comes across an old flame who has an agenda of her own.
A CONJURING OF LIGHT by Victoria Schwab
Page Count: 624
It’s always hard to say goodbye, and this last (for now) entry in the Darker Shade series pulled at my heart strings. Lila Bard is described on the book jacket as “a commonplace — but never common — thief,” one reason among many she is ranked high among my favorite female characters. A CONJURING OF LIGHT picked up from a killer cliffhanger and brought the saga of four Londons crashing to a close.
DEAD BEAT by Jim Butcher
Page Count: 517
Mr. Butcher has the honor of being on this list for two different series. DEAD BEAT is from the Dresden Files, a long time favorite urban fantasy series of mine. This mid-series entry has some incredibly memorable scenes, and a title that playfully has at least three layers of meaning. Really, most Dresden Files books merit a mention, but this had the honor of being the longest.