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long books

EastOfEden

Scout Team
10 Year Member
For some reason I decided to spend some of my at home time reading long books that I always wanted to read but never could find the time. I've enjoyed it but they do take some commitment. I thought I would mention them in case there is someone that also likes long books and is shopping about now for one to take on.

1. Stalingrad, and Life and Fate - A pair of books by a now dead author who was a war correspondent for Tass during WWII on the Eastern Front (Vasily Grossman) This is the best view of the Russian war effort in WWII that I have ever read, and it is on the front lines, not in the command centers back from the shooting. Very realistic. Each of the two books is about 1000 pages, but it reads like a novel. It's copied after the historical fiction style of War and Peace.

2. Against the Day. If you like Pynchon, you'll like this. If you don't like Pynchon, don't even try. Not as good as Gravity's Rainbow, but has all of his characteristics - language, allusions, movement of time and space, travels to places you think are fictional but if you google them, they are real, etc. Another 950 pages or so.

3 Underworld by Dom Dillio - Around 900 pages in which this awarding winning writer pops from story line to story line, of which there are about 7 or 8 in the book. In some ways, reminiscent of U.S. A. by Dos Passos.

4. Middlemarch by George Eliot. One of the great female writers of the 19th century, and maybe of all time in the English language. This is a sweeping tale of a variety of men and women whose lives intersect and separate time and again over a period of years. It raises a lot of 19th century historical issues, but by and large it is a really interesting story of about 860 pages.

5 1Q85 by Murakami. This is a dystopian novel of about 850 p;ages dealing with contemporary Japanese life in two parallel scenarios of the same year. The characters are engrossing and if you can deal with parallel lives in time and space, its great.

6. Betrothed by Manzoni Best Italian book I have read, and mandatory reading for nearly all Italians. A 19th century book dealing with life in Italy at that time, focusing on the Milanese plague in the early 15th century and a romance that is thwarted and then succeeds against efforts of a bad ass nobel and corrupt clergy. About 950 pages.

So those are some long ones that I have taken on this summer that I could recommend. They are not for everyone - you have to be able to tolerate a long story, and that is not very modern I recognize. I am next taking on two more, then over to Japanese mystery stories. I have Jerusalem in mind and also Infinite Jest. We'll see if I get to them.
 

Prairie Sage

Red Shirt
10 Year Member
I don't know if 400+ pages qualifies as a long read but One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is as good a book as was ever written.

I remember when I was in high school and college anything by James Michener was usually a good long read, Hawaii, The Source, The Drifters are three I remember.
 

HUSKER HOT SAUCE

Be Yourself - Everyone Else Is Already Taken
5 Year Member
Just started reading "A Brief History of Seven Killings" by Marlon James. The book is from 2014 and is a work of fiction, but it is a very interesting read so far. Based on the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley. 688 pages in the soft cover version I am reading.
 

jmcsundance

Recruit
Of the "Best and the Brightest," Dean Rusk was a true gentleman - unlike many of the 'Bostonians.' Brilliant Rhodes Scholar born in Georgia, if I remember correctly. As undergraduates, a few other students and I had an 'invitee only' dinner with him where we had the joy of an open question forum while we worked our way through Vietnam and other issues at the time. Mesmerizing but I managed to come up with a question or two so I looked like I belonged - although I felt like I didn't.

As for long books - no. Just finished a careful look at Alexander Pope's "From An Essay On Criticism, Part II." Stratospheric intellect.
 

EastOfEden

Scout Team
10 Year Member
I read the Shirer on the subway in 1963 as I rode from my apartment in Yorktown to Wall street every day. Great book, as was the similar titled won by Gibbons about the Roman empire.

Marquez deserves his stellar reputation. For me, I liked Love in the Time of Cholera best. My wife liked the one you like.

There are so many good books out there.
 

EastOfEden

Scout Team
10 Year Member
I have just put on hold at the club I belong to the Pope work. Thanks for mentioning that. Years ago I read both the Poe and Eliot books on that subject. I look forward to this work by Pope. Thanks.
 

EastOfEden

Scout Team
10 Year Member
I just read the Essay on Criticism by Pope. He's opaque in so many places and is full of references to people and times no longer in the current lexicon that it is hard to read, but he certainly had the reputation in his time as a brilliant mind. His comments on writing do seem to make sense, as do his comments on criticism. I wonder what he would do with modern 21st century writing.
 

Prairie Sage

Red Shirt
10 Year Member
This weekend I was watching the Braves play the Mets on TV. I was watching the Mets broadcast with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. They spent several minutes showing and discussing a cutout that appeared in the Mets pressbox. It was a picture of Roger Angell on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Roger for years wrote for The New Yorker and his pieces on baseball are among the finest writing I have ever read. So I checked out his first collection from the library, The Summer Game and started in, sheer bliss. His first three books, The Summer Game, Five Seasons and Season Ticket are available as a collection. I think he qualifies as a long read because many of these articles were originally published in The New Yorker. Again, he is a pleasure to read, and for someone who lived in New York in the 60s, as EastofEden said he did, it should be glorious reading.

Roger Angell's stepfather was E. B. White, of Strunk and White, Elements of Style. Roger has seen everybody who is anybody play baseball, having grown up in the 1920s in New York. He has said more than once, the best he ever saw was Willie Mays.
 

NUinID

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Pretty much anything by Tom Clancy is a long read.

As Prairie Sage said, Michener is always a long read. Space and Centennial are two of my favorites.

All the Harry Potter books 4-7 are all 800+ pages. Never read them but my children did.
 

joestrummer

Late of Pablo Fanque's Fair
10 Year Member
I loved Infinite Jest although I get why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup o tea. It’s not one book but I’m just starting McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy.” He’s probably my favorite writer and somehow I haven’t read these 3 books. Blood Meridian though.....
If you put a gun to my head and ask me one book that everyone should read before they die, I’d probably say Blood Meridian
 

jmcsundance

Recruit
I loved Infinite Jest although I get why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup o tea. It’s not one book but I’m just starting McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy.” He’s probably my favorite writer and somehow I haven’t read these 3 books. Blood Meridian though.....
If you put a gun to my head and ask me one book that everyone should read before they die, I’d probably say Blood Meridian
Agree on McCarthy. Blood Meridian x 3. The Crossing x 2. Pat Conroy's Beach Music x 2. I've read everything they have wriitten. Just personal favorites. I love the diversity of interests on this board.

Currently reading too many to list but back to Pope and "The Rape of the Lock." I have no idea why I turned to his poetry. Genius dude.

Just for a look back I recently read "A Separate Peace." Brilliant writing. I think I missed that one growing up. Magnificent story structure.
 

EastOfEden

Scout Team
10 Year Member
So many good books, so little time. I will get to the Angell collections for sure.

I suspect I should read Blood Meridian, though I have resisted it. McCarthy once had told me he would meet with my book group, but before we could arrange it, he sold his bookstore in Georgetown, went West, and never returned. I really liked his trilogy.

I'm about 2/3 of the way thorough Jerusalem and loving it. I guess I will try Infinite Jest after that.

Finally, I have now read the seminal book on Putin's Russia, a fascinating and frightening book that describes how the Soviet Union changed after the dissolution, but really didn't. They never really believed the mythology and were much more enamored of the Tsarist approach to governance, and the KGB was quick to step into the void and sent up the control they now exercise over the country. The book is a densely written book with dozens and dozens of interviews with the top Russian officials and the richest of the oligarchs and crime bosses, showing just how they raped the economy of Russia, made billions for those in the elite ranks, reward through state power their friends of Putin, and punish his enemies and the friends of the previous regime. They use our banking system, our judicial system and our public airways and social media for their personal benefit and with the cooperation of some of our most staid and "respectable" law firms and financial institutions, as well as real estate participants.

If you want to know what Putin's Russia is all about, how it affects you and me, and how it go that way, read Putin's People by Catherin Belton. I think I have mentioned it before, but I just got off a zoom call with my book group and a knowledgeable insider, and I am moved to repeat my endorsement of the book.

o
 

FredsRedAxe

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
I loved Infinite Jest although I get why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup o tea. It’s not one book but I’m just starting McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy.” He’s probably my favorite writer and somehow I haven’t read these 3 books. Blood Meridian though.....
If you put a gun to my head and ask me one book that everyone should read before they die, I’d probably say Blood Meridian
I ordered a copy of Blood Meridian after reading your post and finished it last night. Great recommendation, thank you. Definitely want to read more of McCarthys work. Ive got the Border Trilogy on the way.
 
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