Top 5 Saturday is run by Amanda @ Devouring Books. Every week showcases 5 books that share a common theme. This week’s theme is Longest Books.
When I was in high school, I wasn’t popular, but too many people I didn’t know knew who I was, for various reasons. One of those was as the girl with the big books. I was the girl who was almost always carting along a huge book while her backpack was almost bursting with textbooks (because very few of my classes ever took me by my locker for four years! It must have been a conspiracy or something). So, I was called the girl with the big books for a reason, which means I have plenty to choose from!
All descriptions from Amazon
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Hailed as one of the greatest novels of all time and a classic of world literature, War and Peace unfolds in the early nineteenth century during the turbulent years of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia. Tolstoy’s epic ranges from stirring depictions of historical events to intimate portraits of family life, moving between public spectacles and private lives to offer a tale of both panoramic scope and closely observed detail.
From the breathless excitement of 16-year-old Natasha Rostov’s first ball, to Prince Andrei Bolkonsky’s epiphany on the battlefield at Austerlitz, the novel abounds in memorable incidents, particularly those involving Pierre Bezukhov. A seeker after moral and spiritual truths, Pierre and his search for life’s deeper meaning stand at the heart of this monumental book. A tale of strivers in a world fraught with conflict, social and political change, and spiritual confusion, Tolstoy’s magnificent work continues to entertain, enlighten, and inspire readers around the world.
Obviously the first choice! I read this one when I was a senior in high school purely because I wanted to. It took me about 3 months and 3 days of flipping extraordinarily thin pages, but it was so worth it! I loved this book.
Les Misérable by Victor Hugo
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.
Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope—an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart.
Another high school read, just because. This one made me cry at the end. I loved everything about it and couldn’t help thinking Jean Valjean was just the most amazing person ever.
The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny
One of the most revered names in sf and fantasy, the incomparable Roger Zelazny was honored with numerous prizes—including six Hugo and three Nebula Awards—over the course of his legendary career. Among his more than fifty books, arguably Zelazny’s most popular literary creations were his extraordinary Amber novels. The Great Book of Amber is a collection of the complete Amber chronicles—featuring volumes one through ten—a treasure trove of the ingenious imagination and phenomenal storytelling that inspired a generation of fantasists, from Neil Gaiman to George R.R. Martin.
I was a sophomore in high school when I went to the bookstore specifically for the biggest fantasy book I could find. This was it. I bought it without having any real idea of what it was about. It took me 2-3 weeks, and I still distinctly remember one of my teachers commenting on how much I read. But I loved getting 10 books in 1!
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to use the treasure to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
This was supposed to be a high school read (for fun), but I had a terribly hard time finding an unabridged version (the abridged literally made zero sense and the way I thought it ended was not at all the way it actually did). Years later, my husband found a copy and I spent just over a year reading it for 15 minutes a day to my first toddler at nap time. I hope I didn’t scar him.
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
On the slopes of Shayol Ghul, the Myrddraal swords are forged, and the sky is not the sky of this world;
In Salidar the White Tower in exile prepares an embassy to Caemlyn, where Rand Al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, holds the throne–and where an unexpected visitor may change the world….
In Emond’s Field, Perrin Goldeneyes, Lord of the Two Rivers, feels the pull of ta’veren to ta’veren and prepares to march…
Morgase of Caemlyn finds a most unexpected, and quite unwelcome, ally….And south lies Illian, where Sammael holds sway…
The sixth book in The Wheel of Time series, Goodreads informs me this is over 1000 pages. Yet again, I read this one in high school, one summer probably because I crammed a lot of these books in over my first two summers as a high school student so I would be all caught up for the newest release.
Wow, so I guess I had a thing for French literature, and, of course, fantasy. And it seems I got a lot of the big books out of the way early on. I even have every single one of these on my shelves still (with these covers)! It looks like Legacy of Ash by Matthew Ward (800 pages) is the longest book I’ve read in the past couple of years. I think I might need more long books.
What’s the longest book you’ve read?