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 Inside Cover of my copy of The Great Gatsby. I bought it second hand.|
I find it next to impossible to close a book and walk away. I want to read the whole book right now, no holds barred. I have adapted over the years, and now I simply fold the page and Carry it around with me everywhere I go. People think I’m self-absorbed, strange, stand-offish. Let them. I love books. And can I just say, I am book-absorbed, there is no me in Jane Eyre, that’s the point. Escapism.
I read multiple books. If asked what I am reading right now I would say: Heart of Darkness, Tess of D’Uberfelds, The Woman in White, and The Great Gatsby. Actively, I am only reading the Great Gatsby, I’m sure it will be finished before the day is up, but I couldn’t say that as I feel so strongly that I must finish the others as soon as possible as well. Also, the deep silent shame in my soul is whispering- “you liar, we’re reading Moby Dick, Dracula, Vanity Fair, Lolita, The Divine Comedy, Mrs Dalloway, AND Time Machine too!!” Oh god, Mrs Dalloway and Timeline! Those books are currently eight years in progress. I’m not even slightly exaggerating. I got them both in England, in 2003 and couldn’t get through the. Timeline is like my personal nemeses. Every time someone hears I haven’t read it they exclaim “What! But you love books how have you not read Timeline?!” I don’t know… I’m stuck?
This NYR I have, (New Year’s Resolution shall now be known by that tacky shortened version), causes me to have to “get over it”. Suck it up buttercup, put the book down, and pick up another one on the list. So last night I did that. I groaned as I was going into my room to get into bed as I realised that Tess was waiting for me. In her milk maid outfit, mooning over Angel… boring me to sleep before I could finish a chapter. I was suddenly gripped by the fact that I have some 60 books left to finish before Dec 31 and some of them are HUGE! I knew about Gone with the Wind and War and Peace, but have you seen A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth? I could kill a burglar with that thing.
In search for hope I sadly perused the list of books I have left to read and my eyes alighted on a jarring novel. The Great Gatsby. I had forgotten all about it. I had picked that novel up way back in 2005 and not been able to make it through the first chapter. I shuddered. I turned my head and looked at my bookshelf and immediately I found it between Jane Eyre and Lolita….. I thought, ‘what the hell’ and walked over and grabbed it.
There is another phenomenon I have discovered in my book career. I haven’t found a suitable name for it yet. Everyone knows what it is to get stuck in a book, but do you know how it feels to pick that same book up years later and be absolutely gripped by it? This book has perhaps one of my favorite opening sentences ever! (Next to Anna Karenina of course). I’m not even going to write it down, go find it! Discover. I was so excited by how entertained I was by this book I couldn’t read it in bed. I did a quick 200 cal workout on my recumbent bike and burned through half the book. Like water from a dam escaping and rushing and crashing through a tiny town, this is the feeling of victory.
As accomplishing a feeling is when you battle through a book to the end, the joyous bliss you feel at having burned through a novel with complete abandon is better. It’s like a forrest fire, it’s like a hurricane, it’s like any cheesy simile you can come up with and better. It is the reason I read.
So close the book if it’s making you crazy. Shut that cover with a decisive action. But remember it, don’t throw it away; and every once in a while pick it back up and peek into the first two or three pages. You never know when it’s going to reach out and grab you, and pull you in.
|Not my tattoo, but I have considered it|