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November 7th: Largest Books on TBR
In honor of #TomeToppleReadathon coming back this month, discuss those big books on your shelf!
I’ve decided to break this up into two parts, those parts being: Classics and Not Classics. I have a lot of classics on my TBR and most of them are ridiculously long, and are probably the longest books on my TBR, but I don’t want them to completely overshadow this post. I want to talk about ordinary books that are also super long! So, I’ll talk about lengthy classics first, and then lengthy not-classics (that I’m prioritizing) second. I’m also choosing not to include the non-fiction books on my list, because I feel like that could be a whole other topic entirely!
Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson (1534 pages): An epistolary novel detailing the exploits of a young woman who who loses her virtue by running off with an untrustworthy rake who won’t marry her. I’m not generally a huge fan of epistolary novels, which makes this even more intimidating.
The Mysteries of London by George W.M. Reynolds (1176 pages): Originally published as a series of “penny dreadfuls,” these vignettes detail life in Victorian London for the impoverished. It’s a sprawling tale. I will get to this at some point, or at least skim through it, given my interest in Victorian London, but yeah, it’s pretty terrifying.
Cecilia by Fanny Burney (1056 pages): Published in 1782, this is described as a “unusual love story and deft social satire” about a woman who can only keep her fortune if her husband takes her name. Aside from the length, I’m hesitant to read something published in the 18th century; I’m sure the language will be a bit of a struggle.
Middlemarch by George Eliot (904 pages): I have literally no idea what this is about even after reading the Goodreads summary like three times. Something to do with the effects of the 1832 Reform Bill on English society? I’ve never read anything by Eliot before, and I the plot (or what I can glean of it) honestly doesn’t appeal to me a ton, so I’m afraid this will bore me.
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (883 pages): A tale of two women, one ruthless and determined to claw her way up the societal ladder, the other a romantic who longs only for love. All I know is that Becky Sharp, aforementioned ruthless lady, is supposed to be iconic, so I’m looking forward to that, at least!
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (1007 pages): First in The Stormlight Archive series, very popular, and I have no idea what it’s about! I’ll get to it at some point, but the series promises to be ten books long and only three are out, which makes me hesitant, given my shoddy memory. I don’t want to have to re-read the first three books when the fourth comes out! But I’m also really tempted because I do like Brandon Sanderson’s work.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (848 pages): This book hasn’t even come out yet but I’m so excited for it. It’s about dragons and queens and women and promises to be a rich, sprawling fantasy. Also, that cover is just fucking magnificent.
In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif (816 pages): The Goodreads summary describes this as a story about “a woman who grows up among the Egyptian elite, marries a Westernized husband, and, while pursuing graduate study, becomes embroiled in a love affair with an uncouth Englishman.” Frankly, I’m more interested in the author, an Egyptian woman educated in Egypt and England. I feel like I almost never see English-language Egyptian fiction about Egyptian women; this would certainly be my first! This author’s other book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and I’ve heard excellent things; I think I will love this book, once I get around to reading it.
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss (720 pages): This is a sequel, and one I’ve heard is good but too long, which makes me a bit reluctant to pick it up, as I enjoyed the first book quite a bit but didn’t fall in love with it. The summary sounds fantastic: “Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.” As the first book was more of an introduction to everyone, this one might go more smoothly and be more compelling.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (676 pages): This book made a huge splash when it was published, but I rarely see anyone discussing it now! I believe it has to do with Dracula, and vampires in general, and a researcher (a historian?) investigating her family’s history. Frankly it sounds amazing, though I’ve heard conflicting opinions about it, which is what’s intimidating me. I hope to get to it soon, however, because I’ve been seeking out vampire fiction!
Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (666 pages): What makes this book intimidating is that it is the first in a ten-book series. I’ve had the Malazan books on my TBR for years and years, and even though all the books are published, it would take a lot of dedication to embark on this read. Plus I’ve heard that this is the type of fantasy that just tosses you in the deep end, shrugs, and hopes you can swim, so it’s definitely intimidating on multiple fronts.