Very Long Books

by Ellen Peterson | Apr 07, 2020

Have a little time on your hands? Enjoy some of the longest books ever written!

Ulysses
by James Joyce

James Joyce's novel Ulysses is said to be one of the most important works in Modernist literature. It details Leopold Bloom's passage through Dublin on an ordinary day: June 16, 1904. Causing controversy, obscenity trials and heated debates, Ulysses is a pioneering work that brims with puns, parodies, allusions, stream-of-consciousness writing and clever structuring.

 

War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy

Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once a historical war epic, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Noted for its mastery of realistic detail and psychological analysis, it follows the metamorphosis of five aristocratic families against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Individual stories interweave as each of Tolstoy's memorable characters seek fulfillment, fall in love, make mistakes, and become scarred by war in different ways. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual's place in the historical process.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, he sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battle not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves? The answers will be revealed once you discover the reason behind the baffling events that wreak havoc on the lives of the amazing men and women in this remarkable book.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

North and South
by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South draws on Gaskell's own experiences of the poverty and hardship of life in the industrial north of England. Her heroine, Margaret Hale, is taken from the wealthy south by her nonconformist minister father, to live in a fictional northern town. The stark differences are explored through Margaret's abrupt change in circumstance, and her sympathetic reaction to the plight of the northerners. She comes into conflict with a local mill owner who proposes marriage to her. The two undergo a series of misunderstandings and changes of heart before they are reunited.

Les Miserables
by Victor Hugo

Set in the Parisian underworld of the early nineteenth century, Les Misérables follows the adventures of Jean Valjean, once an honest peasant, who spent nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. Full of suspense, romance, and powerful social commentary, this sweeping epic became the gospel of the oppressed and is widely considered one of the greatest French novels of its age.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

Middlemarch
by George Eliot

Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is exactly what it claims. Its multiple plots center around the inhabitants of a fictitious Midlands town and their evolving relationships to each other. It is critical of social class, ambition and marriage, and religion. It is commonly considered one of the masterpieces of English writing, and Virginia Woolf described it as "the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people".

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect—a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

Infinite Jest
by David Wallace

Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck

Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and 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 and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

 

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

Also available to listen to as an eAudiobook through OverDrive

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