I Bet You Can’t Read These Huge Books

Want to liven up your activities at home with a little challenge? Do you like books? Think you can take on any book and chew it all up, story, themes, character development, and all? How about trying to read one (or all, if you’re the daring reader!) book from the list below?! I know I don’t have the stamina to read very long books (I confess, ok?!), and I also have a weird fear of very large books (maybe because there is so much to consume). Either way, here are fifteen long novels that you can check out and perhaps read!

 

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1. gone with the wind

This novel follows Scarlett O’Hara, a beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner. The story is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and is a tale of love and loss, a morally divided nation, and people forever changed. Scarlett faces a multitude of loss in this story and it’s quite hard to take each one in.

 

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2. jane eyre

This novel follows Jane Eyre, who was orphaned as a child and has always felt like an outcast. We start from her beginnings in the orphanage to the start of her adult life as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she was hired by Edward Rochester to take care of Adèle. Jane and Rochester find similarities in their spirit and fall in love, but there’s a dark secret at Thornfield Hall, hiding in its very shadows, that challenges their love.

 

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3. the count of monte cristo

This novel follows Edmond Dantes, who was thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! He was confined to the grim fortress of If. It is in the prison that Edmond learns of a great treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined the escape the prison so he can begin searching for it. His motivating factor in finding it? Using the wealth from the treasure to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. The novel is an epic tale of suffering and retribution inspired by a real-life case of false imprisonment!

 

 

 

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4. les misérables

This 1,463-page-long classic novel introduces one of the most famous characters in literature—Jean Valjean—a noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. The author of the novel, Victor Hugo, takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immersing them in a battle between good and evil while carrying them through the uprising of 1832. The themes of crime and punishment, reflected by Inspector Javert’s relentless persecution of Jean, captures both intellect and emotion. The story is reflective of the French political and judicial systems that are brought to life in Hugo’s novel.

 

 

The Stand Stephen King

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5. the stand

In this book, the world ends within a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory. A million casual contacts end up in a deadly chain that kills 99% of the world’s population! In just one day, the world is left barren and bleak in the new world, a world in which its panicky survivors are forced to choose sides or have the sides chosen for them. Creepy!!

 

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6. east of eden

John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. The story is set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley. The often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve, as well as the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

 

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7. war and peace

“War and Peace” broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three characters: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both Pierre and Andrei.

As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy follows the characters from diverse backgrounds as they struggle with problems that are unique to their era. As the novel moves on, they transcend their unique qualities and become some of the most moving figures in the world of literature.

 

 

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8. the three musketeers

This epic is about chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s. It is populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and more, in a tale about adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, and even more! The author, Dumas, transforms small historical figures into larger-than-life characters such as Comte d’Artagnan, “Milady,” or Cardinal Richelieu. Then there’s the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose epitome of friendship is summed up when they say, “all for one, and one for all.”

 

 

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9. in search of lost time

In Search of Lost Time follows the narrator’s recollections of childhood and experiences into adulthood during late 19th century to early 20th century aristocratic France, while reflecting on the loss of time and lack of meaning in the world. The novel began to take shape in 1909, and Proust continued to work on it until an illness in the autumn of 1922 forced him to break away from his novel. Proust established the structure early on, but even after volumes were initially finished, he kept adding new material and edited one volume after another for publication. The last three of the seven volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages, as they existed only in draft form at the death of Proust; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother, Robert.

 

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10. the odyssey

This novel is a nice depiction of the everyman’s journey through life. Odysseus’ reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces, while he was on his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, is a timeless human story that is a real test of any one person’s moral endurance.

In the myths and legends that are retold in this book, the translator of the story, Robert Fagles, has captured the energy and poetry of Homer’s original in a bold and modern way that allows us to read this story and appreciate it for its lyrical mastery.

 

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11. black lamb and grey falcon: a journey through yugoslavia

Rebecca West’s examination of history, people, and politics of Yugoslavia shows a region that is still in the focus of an international concern on the brink of World War II. The novel is a blend of travel journey, cultural commentary, and historical insight. It probes a very troubled history of the Balkans and the uneasy relationships between its ethnic groups. Yugoslavia is observed well, as the West tries to untangle the historical and contemporary tensions.

 

 

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12. black house

The novel follows a boy named Jack Sawyer,  who traveled twenty years ago to a parallel universe called the Territories, in order to save his mother and her Territories “Twinner” from death. Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in Tamarack, Wisconsin and has no memory of his adventures in the Territories, until an inexplicable force commits gruesome murders in western Wisconsin, which triggers mysterious waking dreams in Jack. He is then drawn to the Territories and his own hidden past, and encounters the evils within it.

 

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13. bleak house

This novel is a complex mystery that engages the reader in detective work and a story of an indifferent society. The author, Charles Dickens, draws upon his personal knowledge and experience by representing a city’s underground and the law’s corruption and delay in processing. It’s Dickens’ symbolism that projects these things in a vision that embraces black comedy, cosmic farce, and tragic ruin. The heroine, Esther Summerson, and an unnamed narrator, share the narrative in this story by both complementing and challenging one another.

 

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14. Don Quixote

This novel is widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written. The novel chronicles the adventures of Don Quixote of La Mancha, a self-created knight-errant, and his squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. This edition also features an extra sixteen pages of insight into the book.

 

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15. middlemarch

This novel explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change. The lives of ordinary people and their flawed choices are played out through Dorothea Brooke, Dr. Lydgate, Fred Vincy, and Mary Garth. Two outsiders, Will Ladislaw and Reverend Edward Casaubon, threaten to expose the hidden past of one of the town’s elite. George Eliot displays a clear yet humane understanding of the characters caught up in a mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge.

 

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