L: Longest Book You’ve Read
I haven’t yet finished Les Miserables, Moby Dick, or The Count of Monte Cristo, but several possibilities occurred to me nonetheless. Brothers Karamazov is lengthy (824 pages, or 877). So are Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (768 in hardcover) and David Copperfield (768 in paperback).
But after some dithering over the variations in editions (since publishers will not be so good as to tell me how many words each book has), I’m fairly certain the longest book I’ve ever read is Anna Karenina: some 864 pages of Anna cheating on her husband with Count Vronsky and suffering all manner of social awkwardness in the course of it. Happy people need very little description; unhappy people are unhappy in their own verbose way.
(Okay, so it’s much broader in scope than that. The thing is so long because it’s a microcosm of Russian existence, or something of that sort: all the social pressures against Anna’s divorce, everything that follows around an affair, faith, Levin and Kitty’s happier marriage, how peasants act, illness, how politics works, how much parents care for their children, etc., etc.)
…wait. Wait, I just realized: I’ve read two other microcosmic books, and they’re probably tied for length:
George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Take out Anna and Vronsky, and sub in some other people in pursuit of love. Scarlett O’Hara is looking in all the wrong places, though I daresay some folks in Middlemarch get it right.
What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?
What’s the longest book you’ve ever read and adored?