Please recommend long books

(45 Posts)
Rollermum Fri 22-Nov-13 18:27:20

Hello, I'm looking for a good long fiction book to get into or a series that reads chronologically.

The longer the better! Be good to hear why you liked it too.

LordEmsworth Fri 22-Nov-13 18:32:03

Series - I love the Cazalets by Elizabeth Jane Howard, have read the original trilogy a few times. Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, I love.

Long books - I enjoyed A Suitable Boy, looking forward to the sequel. The Guardian had a "10 best long books" feature recently -

CrocodileScream Fri 22-Nov-13 18:33:30

The Far Pavilions M. M. Kaye
The stand Stephen King

BikeRunSki Fri 22-Nov-13 18:34:07

Douglas Kennedy has written a few doorstop page turners - State of the Union and The Pursuit of Happiness spring to mind. Although written by a man, the main protagonists are female and really well written! They are both set against an interesting socio-political background and deal with a few issues.

decaffwithcream Fri 22-Nov-13 18:34:22

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is good and long. Well written, set in the Congo, very evocative and the story of a family (4 daughters) of missionaries. Covers many years.

curlyclaz13 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:40:44

Another one for The stand, huge but readable.
For a series the Rebus books by Ian Rankin 18 in total I think.

berberana Fri 22-Nov-13 18:43:11

This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson is fantastic - it's the story of the man who captained The Beagle which carried Darwin to Galapagos etc and their friendship but also the tension as the theory of evolution challenged his religious faith. I was really doubtful when it was recommended to me, thought it sounded dry, but was hooked within a chapter or two!

Also Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is (very) long and possibly an acquired taste. It's about magicians in the early 19th century and is just an amazing feat of imagination.

If you like historical fiction / saga, try Sharon Penman - medieval royal families and wars - Henry II and Richard Lionheart are the main characters in a lot but she's also written some others about lesser known monarchs, e.g. While Christ and His Saints Slept is about King Stephen and the first English Civil War in the 12th century.

And another which seems to divide opinion but I thought was riveting is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.

Feenie Fri 22-Nov-13 18:53:23
Repeatedlydoingthetwist Fri 22-Nov-13 18:58:46

Fall of Giants and Winter of the World by Ken Follett. I enjoyed them because I love a good historical saga and they are set over the two world wars and I'm fascinated by that period of history.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 22-Nov-13 19:06:35

How about Proust's In Search of Lost Time? I'm never going to be brave enough to tackle them, but did enjoy the Radio 4 Extra dramatisation of the novels recently. At just 6 hours, it was merely a flavour of them, but it was good.

MerylStrop Fri 22-Nov-13 19:10:45

Wolf Hall and then Bring Up the Bodies

The Corrections, Jonathan Frantzen

Ursula le Guin

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 22-Nov-13 19:15:46

Ooh I love a good doorstop of a book to get lost in.

My favourites would probably be (in no particular order): The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (set in Victorian London, main character is a young prostitute); Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (American Civil War deserter makes his way home over the mountains to his sweetheart; his sweetheart back home is having to cope with running the farm and generally surviving in straitened circumstances); The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (set in 18th century Japan, utterly absorbing); A Prayer for Owen Meant by John Irving (can't describe it in a single phrase!) and as mentioned by others, The Poisonwood Bible and Wolf Hall. Oh and The Magus by John Fowles.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 22-Nov-13 19:16:48

*Meany not Meant!

Rollermum Fri 22-Nov-13 19:27:43

Thanks everyone! Some great ideas there :-)

Rollermum Fri 22-Nov-13 20:09:04

One of my own to add The Quincunx by Charles Palliser is amazing and very long. One I can find it I will re-read.

SlitheenInADwerfSkin Fri 22-Nov-13 20:18:42

A Song Of Fire And Ice (Game Of Thrones), the series is seven doorstoppers long so far.
Perdito street Station by China Melville, dark sci-fi/ fantasyish
I know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb is a great book, I opened the thread just to post that and someone beat me to it!
The Stand (unabriged) by Stephen King, Also 'It'.
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (eight books in that, varying lengths)
The Sookie Stackhouse series (True Blood) by Charlaine Harris is about a dozen long by now, pretty easy reading but lots of it.

alcibiades Fri 22-Nov-13 20:31:15

For long books, I suggest James Michener, even if his writing style might seem a bit out-of-date.

In particular, "The Source", which starts with an archaeological dig in modern-day Israel, but then traces back through history, telling the stories of people who once lived there. Michener's books are a bit like a series, except you get all of it in one book.

maillotjaune Sat 23-Nov-13 09:28:42

I second This Thing of Darkness and Proust (took me about 4 years to get through the latter reading other stuff in between but it was worth it).

Also enjoying The Luminaries a lot BUT although it's long, it's just a story (don't mean that disparagingly, it's just that it isn't obviously weird in structure etc) so it is an effortless long read as long as you don't try to fit it in your handbag.

SamU2 Sat 23-Nov-13 18:46:15

The Goldfinch- Donna Tartt's new book is awesome.

I second The Stand... amazing read.

Anything by Wally Lamb.

I also enjoyed Penny's No angel series.

This is the first book

ancientbuchanan Sat 23-Nov-13 18:55:49


And quiet flows the Don
War and Peace
Anna Karenina

Les Miserables

English historiecal fiction
The Lymond series, by Dorothy Dunnett

Non historical but 19 th century
The Barchester Novels, Trollope
The Palliser novels, Trollope

Vanity Fair, Thackeray
Henry Esmond, The Newcomes, Thackeray
The return of the native, Tess, both Hardy

Daniel Deronda, Eliot

Though I loathe it, Moby Dick. V v long.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sun 24-Nov-13 15:59:24

Lots of the above, especially Anna Karenina and the Hardy novels.

One of my favourites is Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas, really absorbing and relatively long - my edition is 623 pages.

ancientbuchanan Sun 24-Nov-13 21:10:18

And A Bend in the River. Also outstanding.

Midnight's children goes on...

TheWanderingUterus Sun 24-Nov-13 21:25:50

Edward Rutherfurd wrote several door stoppers -

The forest

They track the story of four or five fictional families from the founding of a settlement until the present day. Not great literature in the sense of some of these recommendations but they captured my imagination

Parliamo Sun 24-Nov-13 21:34:19

In the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco is one of my all time favourite books. Clever and beautiful. Proust is going to be a lifetime's reading for me. And James Joyce is something I keep trying and think maybe one day... Has anybody suggested Henry James yet? Portrait of a Lady?

My requirements are a bit different these days, short and little concentration required. I get no sleep. Enjoy your reading...

Parliamo Sun 24-Nov-13 21:37:56

How about the Mars Triology by Kim Stanley Robinson, I haven't read them as I overdid science fiction as a teenager, but some people whose opinions I respect really rate it.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sun 24-Nov-13 21:40:10

ancient yes, that's very good, too. I think Naipaul is a bit under-rated.

Yes to, 'This Thing of Darkness' and the Dark Tower series and, 'The Stand.'

'No Name' or, 'The Woman In White' by Wilkie Collins.

'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' by Dave Eggers.

Kevintheminion Sun 24-Nov-13 22:49:17

How about Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts? A real doorstop of a book...

JuanPotatoTwo Mon 25-Nov-13 19:56:29

Gone with the Wind? Forever Amber? Back I the day I did used to like Barbara Erskine but either I've grown up and my tastes have changed a lot, or she has gone seriously off the boil.

IndridCold Tue 26-Nov-13 09:05:55

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I'm on the last third and finding it intriguing.

Agree that 'This Thing of Darkness' is a superb read.

wordfactory Tue 26-Nov-13 09:14:48

Kevin my DH adored Shantaram.

I'm going to second sggestions upthread;

Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

Anna Kareninna.

LittleBairn Tue 26-Nov-13 09:55:29

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark
About Victorian London in a sort of alternative reality, where magic was real.

A song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martain.
Set in a medieval fantasy world about civil war over the fight for the iron throne. Brilliant characters.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet Set in the 12th century during the building of a cathedral and love story.

Stokey Tue 26-Nov-13 14:13:38

I just re-read the Thornbirds which was great.

And have been reading some Susan Howatch again - Wheel of Fortune is long and entertaining read - family saga against backdrop of historical fiction.

Not sure about IQ84 Indridcold . Got to the end and felt like it didn't really deliver - an awful lot of reading for a lot of loose ends. Would recommend the Wind-up Bird or Hard-boiled Wonderland over IQ84.

3nationsfamily Tue 26-Nov-13 14:26:11

I loved Pillars of the Earth but hated Wolf Hall.
To tick both boxes of Long and a Series - The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons

TinyTear Tue 26-Nov-13 14:32:52

I am just reading Edward Rutherfurd's Paris - only at bedtime as it's a massive hardback and won't take it anywhere...

his other stuff - Sarum, London, Dublin, are all good...

Series - Rebus...

CoteDAzur Tue 26-Nov-13 19:26:55

Definitely read This Thing of Darkness, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and Anna Karenina.


Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco
Anathem - Neal Stephenson
Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons
Millenium trilogy - Stieg Larsson (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, etc)
Umbrella - Will Self

SorrelForbes Tue 26-Nov-13 19:30:05

We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman - another RIII novel.

christmas2excited Tue 26-Nov-13 19:31:43

New York by Rutherford. Or London by the same author. Both riviting and long reads. American Gods by Neil Gaiman, amazing book.

christmas2excited Tue 26-Nov-13 19:32:12

Riveting. not whatever i put the first time.

CallMeDuringDrWhoAndIllKillYou Tue 26-Nov-13 19:41:59

DH recommends Proust and Moby Dick

I have somewhat less refined tastes and would recommend Strange & Norrell, Game of Thrones, and Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies.

Not recommended yet, in the science fiction line, isDan Simmonds' Hyperion series, Connie Willis's Blackout/All Clear and Doomsday Book, and any of Neal Stephenson's doorstops.

atomicyoghurt Tue 26-Nov-13 19:48:37

I'm marking this as I'm going to steal all the ideas!

My favourite long book is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
So engrossing I just couldn't put it down and when I wasn't reading it I thought about the characters all the time. It is set in Ethiopia and the US and follows the life of twin boys. I don't want to say more as it is so captivating is best not to know the story before you get there.

'American Gods' is good, but not what I'd class as long - it's a light and easy read. When I think of 'long' I expect it to last me at least 6 hours!

zenoushka Wed 27-Nov-13 10:19:18

Capital by John Lanchester is around 579 pages, really enjoyed it.

zenoushka Wed 27-Nov-13 10:20:24

Oh and I second the Cutting for Stone recommendation. Definitely one of my favourite books, I've been recommending it to all my friends and family!

IndridCold Wed 27-Nov-13 17:18:20

That's interesting Stokey, I sort of feared that might be the case re how it all ends. I'll definitely read more Murakami, though. I'll look out for the ones you recommend smile.

I also loved Jonathan Strange BTW...

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