I got the idea for this list from The Broke and the Bookish. Their blog hosts a weekly meme called “Top Ten Tuesdays”; and on November 8th this was their theme. I don’t actually follow the blog as closely as I should, and I have yet to officially participate in a TTT, but I loved this question, and I love lists, so I thought I’d answer it.
I am chosing only books that I have read this year due to the NYR/11; therefore the answer as to why I have read them is going to be the same for each book. I’ll simply state how I had pre-judged the book, if applicable, and how I felt about the read. Please note SPOILERS, don’t read past the title if you don’t want me to give away my *gasp* moments.
- His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman; I am 27 and am so over YA. I was a bit snobbish thinking this was just one more fantasy type book series I could do without. I cried like a baby over Hester and Lee, I enjoyed the whole story.
- Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol; I learned in my socials 11 class that this was a satire aimed at old rich folks in London, I was never interested in reading it as I thought it would probably be lost on me and I would be annoyed. I was right.
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy; All I knew was he had written War and Peace, and I wasn’t particularly interested in Russia or its history. Big, old, and boring was my pre-judgments. Amazing, engrossing, and beautifully descriptive with an awesome redemptive story line was my end feelings. This book is currently the top of my favorite reads of all time.
- Moby Dick – Herman Melville; This is going to sound bad, I thought it was a men’s book and I wasn’t interested. Reading it I decided it’s definitely a mens book, the beginning was funny, and I really didn’t need to know that much about whales or the killing of them.
- 1984 – George Orwell; I knew it would make me mad. It did. I knew everyone would either die or sell out. They did.
- Tess of D’ubervilles – Thomas Hardy; I’m not all too interested with Hardy so I wasn’t overly keen to read this. I find him overly wordy, flowery and somewhat depressing. Seems this is exactly how I felt about Tess.
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood; I was worried it was going to be overly preachy, feminist propaganda. It was actually a great read, if not a quick one. I have a lasting impression of the main character, and I find myself referring to the book in many of my political discussions with people.
- A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens; I thought I knew all about it because I knew the first twelve words; I was bored with it before I picked it up. This is an amazing book, I shouldn’t even have to tell you it’s the best Dickens novel out there, and the characters are so real it hurts.
- A Brave New World – Aldus Huxley; I knew nothing about this book. If I had I would have stayed away as it’s so far away from anything I normally read. It was interesting, and it was stretching. I felt un-comfortable the whole time as it was so weird to me, but I am glad I read it.
- The Inferno – Dante; I’m not into epic poems. As amazing as the imagery is in the Inferno, it’s still a long, epic poem. Beautiful and terrifying, and long.
Go read something that scares you.
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.]
-The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes