My mom and I went ‘to the big city’ or, ‘down island’ yesterday. It was heaven. Beautiful weather, great girl time, and I bought some clothes that I’d been wishing I’d grabbed a couple of weeks ago. We visited Starbucks twice and we went to Chapters! I love Chapters.
I walked around the retail section and touched everything. I paged through Moleskine’s for 2012, and gasped at the great new colors for their Volant books. (Next years diary is so going to rock.) I browsed sale sections, gardening sections, brainiac sections. After all my calm and blissful breathing in of everything that makes me happy I did a quick 90° turn, and marched to the Classic lit section.
I read those bookshelves. I studiously found all the authors and books from the NYR list and I loaded my arms. I wobbled over to a table and started the long, slow, beautiful, and painful selection process. I was only going to buy one book, and I had to pair this mountain down.
Carefully I read synopsis’, compared prices, compared first sentences. I judged books by their cover, by their characters, by their publishing date. I smelled them, they all smelled new. I agonized over the decision of which book I was going to read on the way to Calgary and back. It had to be relatively easy, I’ve been over indulging in the older ones on the list and I’m mentally pooped. I wanted to be able to love every minute of it and according to John Grisham’s little blurb on the inside cover, I found it.
I’m so excited to be abandoning Vikram Seth for a while to dive into this psychological thriller. I’m sure I’ll burn my way through it and have to pony up on my Suitable Boy reading but whatever.
I had never heard of The Secret History before getting ready for this year’s reading. I am continually amazed and the books I am being introduced to. Oh, I’m also stoked about the road trip, my new clothes, the fact that my muscles are deliciously sore from P90X… Basically? I. LOVE. SEPTEMBER.
Well I thought, and I thought, and I thought. It seems to me that the books that felt the longest weren’t! How surprising is that. (Note that is a statement, not a question.)
I could have sworn Tess of d’Urbervilles was the longest book IN the world, but nope, Tess was only 149,682 words. Anna Karenina took quite possibly my whole life, (In January – Marchish) and she only came in at 349,168. Watership Down? Like under 200k! Good gracious!
It was clear my perceptions were off. Also, when I first thought about this question I was looking at page counts but I soon realised that was stupid then I started looking at word counts. I found this awesome link on some crazy forum - HERE it is; take a gander. There’s a lot of books listed there with their word counts!
Upon doing this oh so important, (read: procrastination from life), research I quickly realise that I am smack dab in the middle, (actually the first 30%), of one of the top ten longest books in English; A Suitable Boy – 591,554. Yay. And also, I have two behemoths standing in front of me, looking for all the world like Goliath: Gone With The Wind – 418,053; and War and Peace – 587,287.
Now to actually answer the question. All of this research showed me that the longest book I have ever read was a whopping 513,000 - Les Misérables. You want to know something weird? I flew through it. I read that sucker so fast, I read it again right away. Huh.
[and can i just say? i hate the new linky police. stupid people who didn't follow the rules and ruined it for everyone who already was. because of them i have to do this http://crazy-for-books.com/2011/08/book-blogger-hop-819-822.html due to my actual real hidden link not being good enough for one reason or another today. great.]
Finished The Three Musketeers, started A Suitable Boy. “Don’t add chillies to boiled potatoes.”