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What's Your Favorite Super-Long Book?

What's Your Favorite Super-Long Book?

By Miss Marm

I read while brushing my teeth, walking to the elevator, and straining pasta. When I finish a book and can't easily lay my hands on a new one, I panic and then read whatever's around—SkyMiles magazine, Easy Mac instructions, the back of a toothpaste tube—anything with words.

So I deeply empathize with this Sparkler's predicament, and I'd say hers IS the most important question ever:

Well, this is not the most important question ever, but I'd still like some help.  In about two weeks I am going on a trip to Europe (AHHHH! England! France! Italy!) with a student ambassador program.  During free time, I want to bring reading material, but I will have VERY limited space and I am a really fast reader.  I'd love some suggestions of really great, but also hard-to-comprehend/read-quickly, books, so that they will last me three weeks without being, you know, Aristotle.

P.S. I LOVE Dicken and Orwell, but most of their works are fairly short, or I've already read them.  But for anyone else in this situation:  Great Expectations is a good 'un (if not all that time-consuming).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... thanks!

I have a few suggestions, and I bet you do, too, Sparklers.

1. Middlemarch. The love triangle is agonizingly exciting, and will prepare you well for your own romances and marriage(s). The long passages about farming and politics act as speed bumps, keeping you from racing too fast through Dorothea's infatuation with the repellent Casaubon.

2. I, Claudius. A thrilling, and thrillingly long, tale. The narrator, based on the real-life Claudius, explains how he pretended to be weak and stupid in order to survive the poisoning and murdering sprees his royal family members go on.

3. Infinite Jest. I read this novel on a family trip out West when I was 15. I didn't love it, but even then I dimly realized that it was an important book. I DID love knowing there was no way I'd run out of reading material on some desolate stretch of Arizona highway.

4. War and Peace (be sure to get the Peaver-Volokhonsky translation). When people want to make a joke about an impossibly dense and difficult tome, this is the title they use. But War and Peace is a gossipy, just-challenging-enough novel—and if you read it at an outdoor cafe, you're sure to catch the eye of some hyper-chouette French intellectual.

5. The Collected Works of ___. Who's your favorite writer? Buy his or her collected works, and you'll make it through your vacation with novels to spare.

What million-page novels do you recommend, Sparklers?

Topics: long books, i claudius, war and peace, infinite jest

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