8 Very Long Books Worth the Time They'll Take to Read
longest novels of all time

8 Very Long Books Worth the Time They’ll Take to Read

longest novels of all time

It’s funny to think about how many avid readers will shy away from one long book when they are able to read the same amount of pages each month between several short books. Some readers share that this is because they have a set number of books they’d like to read in a year. One long book could disrupt their schedule, making them less motivated to include it into their book account. Another thought is that longer novels tend to do a lot of telling and not showing. Searching various forums asking the same questions, users said that reading long classic books in school, like War and Peace, “scared” them from wanting to try again. Overall, it seems to be a more psychological problem readers have when it comes to long novels. 

For the subset of people that are looking for their next lengthy read, you’ve come to the right place to find one. Don’t be intimidated by these word counts! Here are eight very long books that are worth the time they’ll take to read.

Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert (850,000 words)

The longest Australian novel ever written was in 1976 by Xavier Herbert. Poor Fellow My Country takes place between 1930 to 1940 in Northern Australia. Herbert details the events at the time shaped the country to be what it is today (ie, 1976). The large cast of characters featured in the book paints the picture of the racial, familial, and political disparity the country faced so long ago. It’s a long flight to Australia here from the states, better take this read along with you to keep you preoccupied!

Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson (969,000 words)

Clarissa was quite the scandalous novel for readers in 1748. Clarissa Harlowe’s family arranged her to marry a man she loathed, and unsure what to do, she runs away with the charming Robert Lovelace. But Robert isn’t the gentleman Clarissa thought he was. After she avoids his first few sexual advances, she finds herself falling for him. Robert’s character in Clarrisa is known in the literature world as one of the most charming villains a writer has ever thought up. 

A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (shy of one million words)

After WWI and at the start of the Spanish Flu comes Anthony Powell’s epic piece, A Dance to the Music of Time. Nick Jenkins, a writer, and his three friends introduce themselves for the first time ever to art, business, sex, and society. Each one and their distinct personalities make this long read go by quickly!

Sironia, Texas by Madison Cooper (roughly 1.1 million words)

Sironia, Texas made headlines in 1952 for being the longest book written and published to date. Author Madison Cooper spent eleven years writing about a fictional town that many say have ties to where Cooper grew up in Waco, Texas. Many of the characters were based on people Cooper knew, and people used to play guessing games to figure out which character portrayed a person in Waco. Before he passed, he burned his notes that revealed the true identity of those people. Sironia, Texas was on the New York Times bestseller list for 11 weeks, and the net he grossed in sales went to a charitable foundation he set up that’s helped various nonprofits in the area to date. 

In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust (1.5 million words)

French author Marcel Proust began writing In Search of Lost Time in 1909, completing the entire volume set in 1922. The novel recounts the experiences of the unnamed narrator while he is growing up. You hear about what it was like to learn about art, participate in society, and fall in love. The novel made an immense impact on writers at the time of its publication, and many say it is one of the most respected novels of the twentieth century.

Artamane ou le Grand Cyrus by Madeleine de Scudacry (2.1 million words)

One of the greatest love stories ever told is also one of the longest love stories ever told. At roughly 2.1 million words is Artamane ou le Grand Cyrus. The book was written in installments over a four year period. Most of the plot is broken up into “histories” to keep better track of the 400 characters and 100 different settings. In the heart of the story are two characters; the male hero Cyrus, and Mandana, who is always being taken from her home. Between 1649 and 1653, the French couldn’t wait to get their hands on the next segment of Madeleine de Scudacry’s epic tale.

Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach (2.5 million words)

More recently, Mark Leach published Marienbad My Love in 2008 which dwarfed all other long novels with a word count of 2.5 million words. The book reads like a summer blockbuster about the end of the world. A Christian filmmaker finds himself stuck on a deserted island he calls Marienbad with the woman he loves. Except, she doesn’t know who he is. The story takes a turn when the Apocalypse is near, but even for this Christian filmmaker, it’s not how the bible describes how the world will end. If you have the time, download the ebook and see what Leach’s version of the Apocalypse looks like.

Here, we’ve come to the end to find the longest novel is…

The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm (3,277,227 words)

The Blah Story is the longest book ever written published in 23 volumes. It is hard to describe what the book is about because part of it is up to you. The concept of the book puts you behind the typewriter and conceive the text however you’d like. You’ll have to download it to understand for yourself!

Think Gone With the Wind was a long one with 426,590 words? Think again. Challenge yourself this summer by reading a long book. Some of these are hard to come by anymore, but you can still see what your librarians recommend for a lengthy read. The longest novels require a strategy to power through them all in a timely manner. Do so with our online Speed Reading courses to fly through more than one of these books on this list.

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  • Ryan

    Yep. Half way thru my 2nd re-read.

  • George

    The Malazan Book of the Fallen is 3.5 million words. Just saying

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