Does anyone else feel like January has been ongoing for approximately three years now? The holidays have passed, everyone is back to work and back to class, the light at the end of the January tunnel has never felt so far away. To help you through the remaining two weeks (three months in Jan time), we’ve compiled a list of lengthy books that you can lose yourself in this month. Before you know it, it’ll be February, and you’ll have serious bragging rights.
Stephen King’s spooky It is as long as it is creepy. Coming in at 1138 pages, it is one of his longest novels. The story takes place over twenty eight years which is equal to one single January. Plus, if you factor in all the time you’ll spend having nightmares from reading it, you’ll definitely make it to the end of the month.
James Joyce’s Ulysses is the ultimate way to get through the month. Instead of focusing on the January blues, lose yourself in Bloom’s instead! The infamous novel has a page count of 730 and with the time it’ll take to figure the story out, plus the time you’ll spend bragging about it after, spring will be hurtling towards you when you’re finished.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (as one unit) rings in at 1178 pages. If you get through that too quickly, try teaching yourself elvish. Before you know it, you’ll be one language smarter and ready to woo your S.O. for Valentine’s Day.
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables chronicles the misery of life in 1800s Paris in a hefty 1900 pages, making it the perfect length to see out the rest of the month. Compound this with the film adaption for the full experience. If you learn the musical’s songs, too, you could make it through January 2021, too!
The fifth installment of Rowling’s Harry Potter series spans 870 pages. To read the entire series from beginning to end, it would take the average reader around two months. So if you start now, you can be finished by January 24th, and fit in another long read before February.
Happy reading! Two weeks to go, folks. We can do this.
featured image via kath walker illustration, flickr
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Riddle me this: What is everywhere in your room but doesn’t clutter up any space?
Dust is actually very important, as far as books go. They can set a scene, they can create a mood, they can be an important plot element. So before you go off and clean your room or procrastinate about cleaning your room, you might just want to read through this list about our top 8 books that feature dust as an important element in the story.
Before we get dark, let’s start with a happy children’s book. Starting in 1963, Amelia Bedelia stars, well, Amelia Bedelia, which started this hit children’s series. Funny, brilliant, this stories often follow Amelia Bedelia, a maid in the Rodgers family, who often misunderstands various commands of her employer by always taking figures of speech and various terminology literally.
Image Via Teaching College English
Notably, she takes the command “dust the furniture” literally and, well, mayhem ensures.
Lucky, after a series of comic misunderstanding and general mayhem, Amelia Bedelia is usually able to the win the family over with a delicious pie or cake. After a while the Rodgers family becomes astute enough to realize that Amelia Bedelia takes everything they say literally so, instead of firing her, they give her more specific commands such as “undust the furniture”.
So remember: You shouldn’t ‘dust around the house’, you should ‘undust the house’. Or you can dust the house. I don’t care, you do you.
With that out of the way, let’s get dark. Dust can set a scene, set a mood, and you know that things are dark when this story opens with a little girl dusting the house while her step-mother and step-sisters are lounge around the house.
Image Via Your Keyword Basket
Since her father’s death, Cinderella’s has been left in the dust, left in the squalor of her step-mother’s tyrannical rule. We all know where the story goes from here, either from the Disney movie or Grimm’s Fairy Tales, with her rising from the dust and into the arms of someone who loves her.
Before the monsters of movies, Infinity War and Endgame, hit theaters, comic readers knew since 1991 that there was a chance our favorite heroes might get dusted. Though we weren’t sure if Disney was going to go through with it, we sat back in awe as our favorite characters, including Spider-Man, bit the dust.
If you want to see where this plot point came from, we’ll buy this comic and listen to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” as you see characters you know and love and characters you don’t know but will love get dusted. Be warned:
Young and Old Sophie Hatter / Image Via Fairlight Books
The importance of dust cannot be understated. After her father dies, Sophie Hatter takes over her family’s hat shop but encounters some trouble when she meets a witch who believes Sophie is doing some magic in her territory. In the book Sophie’s guilty as charged, so the witch curses her into looking like an old woman.
She runs away and, cold alone, sneaks on board a moving castle. But she’s found out!
This is when dust comes into play. See, Sophie’s cover story is that, since the castle is old and dusty, she’s the new house keeper! A quick look around and everyone is satisfied with her story, and Sophie ends up actually cleaning the castle.
The story goes on from here, but the most important moral of the story is this: Dust is helpful.
You might know the film, the play, or Victor Hugo’s magnum opus, this story shines a lighter on the misery and the pain of poverty and finding redemption in a cruel world. From the grimy streets of Paris to the dirt of the taverns, this story is known best for this image:
Image Via Pinterest
There’s a reason for that. A young girl cursed to poverty, to survive and not thrive in a dirty world, she’ll have to work hard and, with a little luck, she might be given a new start and a clean slate.
Three orphans cleaning with toothbrushes because life sucks and then you die / Image Via Fast Company
In this series the Baudelaire orphans can’t catch a break. While they are bounced around to guardian after guardian, they are met with increasingly dire circumstances and squalor beyond repair. From a greedy man who just wants them for this vast fortune to a man engulfed in smoke who keeps them (including the baby!) working in a lumber mill, the orphans are no stranger to dust, grime, filth, and dusty things.
Thankfully, they never seem to catch a case of the sniffles, so I guess they’re lucky in that regard.
Image Via Pinterest
Darkly funny and disturbingly horrific, this series is certainly something that’ll make you thankful because, even though dust seems to follow you everywhere you go, at least you’re not being chased by a villain.
If you are in fact being chased by an evil villain, considering calling 9-1-1.
Does dust follow you everywhere you go? Well, that might be a good thing. In the His Dark Materials trilogy, dust are elementary particles associated with consciousness and are integral to the plot. Everyone is chasing dust.
In the first book, young Lyra is bombarded with adults who claim that dust is evil, a terrible particle that causes all the misery in the world. Even her father, Lord Asriel, tells her that
Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world. Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.
In the first book, Lyra believes this wholeheartedly, but at the end of the novel her eyes are opened up to the wonders of dust when her daemon, Pantalaimon, asks her:
We’ve heard them all talk about Dust, and they’re so afraid of it, and you know what? We believed them, even though we could see what they were doing was wicked and evil and wrong…We thought Dust must be bad too, because they were grown up and they said so. But what if it isn’t?
From there, Lyra realizes:
If Dust were a good thing…If it were to be sought and welcomes and cherished..
‘We could look for it too, Pan!’ she said
The moral of the story? Don’t dust your house, because dust is magical.
As long as there are ignorance and poverty on Earth, books such as this one may not be useless.
Those words have held true. The book was published in 1862— over a 150 years ago—and it was a breakout hit that still hasn’t lost its popularity nor its relevance.
Image Via Manybooks
This might have something to do with the musical. Heck, maybe it has everything to do with the musical, but to test that theory out is PBS, who is coming in at full swing.
PBS’ adaption of Les Miserables isn’t a musical, but instead an in-depth look at the classic story about poverty, desperation, and redemption. Forbes writes that the screenwriter, Andrew Davies, who is known for his adaptions such as Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV series) and War & Peace (2016 TV series), “preserves Hugo’s intricate plotting, striking historical vignettes, powerful themes and evocative characterizations”.
The television series is set to be a six-part adaptation of the famous story. Here, we follow fugitive Jean Valjean, played here by Dominic West (James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty on The Wire) who is relentlessly followed by Inspector Javert, played here by David Oyelowo, who infamously took on the role of Dr. King in Selma.
Image Via Time Magazine
The rest of the cast includes Lilly Collins, who played Collins Tuohy in The Blind Side and more recently led Netflix film To the Bone will be Fantine, a young woman forced into prostitution.
Image Via Variety
Adeel Akhtar, who played Naveed in The Big Stick, will be devious and devious Thénardier.
Image Via Radio Times
Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth II on Season 4 of The Crown and just won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The FavoriteI, will be devious and cruel Madame Thénardier.
Image Via PBS
Ellie Bamber, who played Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, will be Cosette, the daughter of Fantine and the adopted daughter of Valjean. Josh O’Connor, plays Prince Charles on Season 4 of The Crown, will be Marius, Cosette’s young lover.
“Lilly [Collins] was saying the other day that, you know, in one song lyric, in one line, she has a whole episode. You know, what happened to her? Where did she come from? Who did she fall in love with, how did he treat her? How did she end up a prostitute on the street? And we get to see all that. And so I think that anyone who loved the musical would really love this.”
A greater understanding of characters I already love? That’s got my ear, so I’ll tune in.
All audiobooks feel long when you’re unable to concentrate on them—so imagine how much trouble you’d have with these behemoths. To understand just how long a really long audiobook actually is, let’s compare that length to some more familiar reads. Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s classic The Brothers Karamazovis famous as both a literary classic and a book you lied about reading, probably from fear of the decade it would take you to finish. It’s also famous for its staggering length: 824 pages and thirty-four hours. (Congratulations to yourselves for your patience, Dostoyevsky fans. And congratulations to those of you who listened to the audiobook.)
Image Via Lisanotes.com
If you’re not into the classics, the longest book you actually read might have been A Game of Thrones: a Song of Ice and Fire. That’s 624 pages and thirty-three hours. Some people call Audible the Netflix of audiobooks, but this audiobook would be much harder to binge. If these seem impossibly long to you, you’re going to have to adjust your standards. The Brothers Karamazov ranks #15 on the list of longest audiobooks, with A Song of Ice and Fire at a respectable #18. You might be asking yourself, “how are these not higher on the list?” This is how:
1. Fifty Lectures
Gif Via Gifycat.com
Takaaki Yoshimoto‘s Fifty Lecturesis what the title would indicate: fifty lectures from Yoshimoto’s long tenure as a philosopher, poet, and literary critic. But the title doesn’t give any indication of the length… which is a lot longer than fifty hours. At 113 hours and forty-three minutes, Fifty Lectures is the longest audiobook of all time. You don’t have to do the math to tell how long that is—but if you did want to do the math, you’d know that listening to the book would take five full consecutive days. Since a commercial flight around the world takes fifty-one minimum hours, it would be faster to do it twice than listen to this entire book.
When you Google search Leo Tolstoy‘s War and Peace, the first suggestion is “War and Peace is so long.” Weighing nearly four pounds, War and Peace is also 1,251 pages and 587,287 words long, making it a serious heavy-hitter. It’s no wonder that, with a monumental page count, it’s sixty-two hours and eighteen minutes long. It would be a wonder if you managed to listen to the whole thing.
4. Les Miserables
Everyone attempting to actually read Les Mis Image Via Pinterest.com
Fans sometimes affectionately, sometimes furiously, refer to Victor Hugo‘s monstrous novel as ‘The Brick.’ Since the novel is large enough to be used as a blunt force murder weapon, the comparison is appropriate. Les Miserables, a story of the rich cultural context of the French Revolution, is one of the world’s longest novels, 1,900 pages in its original French. Naturally, it also contains one of the world’s longest published sentences; this one is over 800 words. Maybe Victor Hugo can pull it off, but your English teacher won’t want you to try. If you can’t get through this sentence, you’re not going to make it through the fifty-six hours and fifty-four minutes of audiobook.
The son of a father to whom history will accord certain attenuating circumstances, but also as worthy of esteem as that father had been of blame; possessing all private virtues and many public virtues; careful of his health, of his fortune, of his person, of his affairs, knowing the value of a minute and not always the value of a year; sober, serene, peaceable, patient; a good man and a good prince; sleeping with his wife, and having in his palace lackeys charged with the duty of showing the conjugal bed to the bourgeois, an ostentation of the regular sleeping-apartment which had become useful after the former illegitimate displays of the elder branch; knowing all the languages of Europe, and, what is more rare, all the languages of all interests, and speaking them; an admirable representative of the “middle class,” but outstripping it, and in every way greater than it; possessing excellent sense, while appreciating the blood from which he had sprung, counting most of all on his intrinsic worth, and, on the question of his race, very particular, declaring himself Orleans and not Bourbon; thoroughly the first Prince of the Blood Royal while he was still only a Serene Highness, but a frank bourgeois from the day he became king; diffuse in public, concise in private; reputed, but not proved to be a miser; at bottom, one of those economists who are readily prodigal at their own fancy or duty; lettered, but not very sensitive to letters; a gentleman, but not a chevalier; simple, calm, and strong; adored by his family and his household; a fascinating talker, an undeceived statesman, inwardly cold, dominated by immediate interest, always governing at the shortest range, incapable of rancor and of gratitude, making use without mercy of superiority on mediocrity, clever in getting parliamentary majorities to put in the wrong those mysterious unanimities which mutter dully under thrones; unreserved, sometimes imprudent in his lack of reserve, but with marvellous address in that imprudence; fertile in expedients, in countenances, in masks; making France fear Europe and Europe France! Incontestably fond of his country, but preferring his family; assuming more domination than authority and more authority than dignity, a disposition which has this unfortunate property, that as it turns everything to success, it admits of ruse and does not absolutely repudiate baseness, but which has this valuable side, that it preserves politics from violent shocks, the state from fractures, and society from catastrophes; minute, correct, vigilant, attentive, sagacious, indefatigable; contradicting himself at times and giving himself the lie; bold against Austria at Ancona, obstinate against England in Spain, bombarding Antwerp, and paying off Pritchard; singing the Marseillaise with conviction, inaccessible to despondency, to lassitude, to the taste for the beautiful and the ideal, to daring generosity, to Utopia, to chimeras, to wrath, to vanity, to fear; possessing all the forms of personal intrepidity; a general at Valmy; a soldier at Jemappes; attacked eight times by regicides and always smiling; brave as a grenadier, courageous as a thinker; uneasy only in the face of the chances of a European shaking up, and unfitted for great political adventures; always ready to risk his life, never his work; disguising his will in influence, in order that he might be obeyed as an intelligence rather than as a king; endowed with observation and not with divination; not very attentive to minds, but knowing men, that is to say requiring to see in order to judge; prompt and penetrating good sense, practical wisdom, easy speech, prodigious memory; drawing incessantly on this memory, his only point of resemblance with Caesar, Alexander, and Napoleon; knowing deeds, facts, details, dates, proper names, ignorant of tendencies, passions, the diverse geniuses of the crowd, the interior aspirations, the hidden and obscure uprisings of souls, in a word, all that can be designated as the invisible currents of consciences; accepted by the surface, but little in accord with France lower down; extricating himself by dint of tact; governing too much and not enough; his own first minister; excellent at creating out of the pettiness of realities an obstacle to the immensity of ideas; mingling a genuine creative faculty of civilization, of order and organization, an indescribable spirit of proceedings and chicanery, the founder and lawyer of a dynasty; having something of Charlemagne and something of an attorney; in short, a lofty and original figure, a prince who understood how to create authority in spite of the uneasiness of France, and power in spite of the jealousy of Europe, — Louis Philippe will be classed among the eminent men of his century, and would be ranked among the most illustrious governors of history had he loved glory but a little, and if he had had the sentiment of what is great to the same degree as the feeling for what is useful.
That sentence was pretty much a brick of text all by itself.
Image Via Audible.com
David McCullough‘s biography of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman is 1,120 pages and 464,000 words, a giant clocking in at fifty-three hours and twenty minutes of audiobook time. Think that’s wild? You’d be right—and at $94 to listen, the price is even crazier. Truman might not be the longest audiobook, but it is the most expensive. If the length doesn’t deter you, the cost might… or maybe your interest in Harry S. Truman surpasses all your other instincts.
Everyone knows Les Miserables, even those of us who think the length is miserablé. It’s pretty likely you’ve seen both the musical or the movie, but neither is the original. It’s far less likely that you’ve read Victor Hugo‘s original Les Miserables, even though it’s packed with hilarious capers, deep friendships, and horrifying deaths. Fans call the novel ‘The Brick’ for a reason—at 1,900 pages, it’s one of the longest novels in history. Given that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is 607 pages and needed two movies to cover all the important parts, it’s a little surprising that the Les Miserables movie directors thought that they could tell the story in under three hours. After watching it, some fans thought they would never get the retelling they deserve.
Gif Via Wifflegif
Devotees of ‘The Brick‘ have one common complaint when it comes to the recent movie and musical: where did 80% of the story go? The novel depicts much deeper relationships between characters… and their relationships to historical events. Those who have read and love ‘The Brick’ also have complaints about the story itself, including and mostly limited to why does Victor Hugo spend hundreds of pages describing the sewers of Paris? Rife with French history and cultural context, the novel occasionally has more in common with a textbook than its honestly monstrous size. So here’s the compromise—a TV show that you won’t die before finishing. (No guarantees that the characters won’t die before the show is over.)
Image Via Indianexpress.com
The series, which has just begun airing on the BBC, will run for six weeks. Jean Valjean actor Dominic West believes that the TV production will remind viewers more of the source material. For those who believe the show will be a rehash of the same plot, West promises that viewers “should expect grand ambition from the series, which avoids the songs of the musical theatre production and 2012 film.” The star-studded cast also features The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesactress Lily Collins and Selma actor David Oyelowo. You’ll want to barricade yourself in your room to finish this one right away!