Wednesday, August 3, 2011

That book will build some muscle.

It is necessary to relax your muscles when you can. Relaxing your brain is fatal.
Stirling Moss

I brought three books with me on vacation.  I left the heaviest one for last.  I suppose I was kind of hoping I wouldn't get to it, and could put off reading it for awhile longer.  And by "for awhile longer", I mean until I had worked up some bigger arm muscles.  The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is the heaviest book I've ever read.  Or at least it feels like it is.

So, I thought I'd take a little look back on the heavy tomes I've read in the past.  And here they are starting with the shortest of the long books that I remember:

Children of the Earth Series by Jean Auel: the first five books I read average in at 584 pages.  The Clan of the Cave Bear (#1) was the shortest at 495 pages.  Each continuing book got longer.  I really enjoyed the books.  I haven't read the latest in the series which just came out this summer, but eventually. . .I might.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy had considerably less pages than I remembered.  Only 736, but it felt like it must have been thousands.  I read a complete and unabridged version.  It was brutal.  And, I was reading it for my own pleasure (of which there was very little.)  But, I got through it.  Others may love this book, but I didn't.  Maybe the abridged version is better.  I've got Tolstoy's War and Peace in my "to read" pile, here's hoping that's better.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon averaged 902 pages with the 5 books I read in the series.  Action/adventure/romance/and a smidgy bit of sci-fi with the main character traveling back in time via Stonehenge.  (Or maybe not--but for me, time travel=science fiction.)  For as long as these books are, they didn't take long to read.  Maybe because I didn't get anything else done until I was finished with them.  Lots of reading into the wee hours with them.  If you want an escape book, check them out.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: this book weighs in at over 3lbs.  It's not the longest book I've ever read at 973 pages, just the heaviest.  Pretty much everyone who has ever read it places it in on their favorites list.  I don't know why I was so hesitant to start.  Maybe because it's so darn heavy.  Not exactly light reading.  Literally or figuratively.  I'm all of 144 pages into it, and I can see that tonight is going to be another late night of reading, just like last night, and probably the next few nights. It sucks you right in at the begining, and I'm glad it's going to take awhile to let go.

Maia by Richard Adams was the first over 1000 page book I ever read.  1062 pages that I tore through in less than a week.  I was in my late teens and had finished Watership Down by the same author and moved on to some of his other books.  Maia may not be the book for your average teen reader.  For one thing, it's about a concubine.  Yeah, I didn't know what a concubine was until I got into the book.  If you don't know either, pull up the dictionary.  I read it more than once.  And thinking back on it now, I'd like to read it again.  Maybe once winter starts to set in.

And the longest book I ever read:  drum roll:  Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo gets top honor with 1408 pages.  About the woman who helps Lewis and Clark; and what happens before, during, and after that expedition.  A great read.  If you like historical fiction, this would be the book for you. 

And those are the books that first came to mind.  I suppose it's more of a list of best and worst. (Anna Karenina being the only worst on the list.)  I took a stroll around the library and came up with a few other long books that I've read.  But they were neither super great nor super bad--so I'm not going to change my list. 

Like age, number of pages is just a number.  There may be a lot of them, but that's doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the book, or how much you'll enjoy it.  Only one way to find out.  Jump in and read for awhile.  In this modern era of instant gratification, it's a bit off putting to think about reading a lengthy book.  At least it is for me, but maybe I'm just out of practice.  This book is a nice reminder of how good it is to soak in a storyline for an extended length of time.   Maybe I won't be so hesitant to start the next big book. 

I know there are other long books I haven't read yet and want to read.  The last three Harry Potter books, Lonesome Dove, War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, and of course--World Without End by Ken Follett.  But first I need to finish The Pillars of the Earth.  I think I'll work on that right now!

No comments:

Post a Comment