I Like Big Books (And I Cannot Lie): To Be Read

Excuse the semi-offensive title (sorry I’m not sorry). I have a complaint to lodge to the book gods, namely, that there are too many 700+ page books piled up on the top of my wardrobe right now (in lieu of adequate shelving) and far, far too few hours in the day. The reason I love big books is the same reason I don’t enjoy reading on a Kindle as much as I enjoy reading a physical book, and it has everything to do with aesthetics: big books are pretty, and they feel good. There’s something about holding a big brick in your hands and cracking it open that is so satisfying and exciting–you can’t get that feeling from a Kindle display and a bar on the bottom that says 27% read. Ya just can’t. You have to feel it.

Photo Feb 03, 7 29 45 PM

Although, I have to admit, my Kindle came in handy when I read Anna Karenina a couple years ago and it wouldn’t fit in my book bag when I rode the train. Still, I argue that the tactile connection with a real book is worth the extra poundage and possible back pain. So, in honor of NYFW, I present the bindings of my favorite, big, bold to-be-read books currently languishing on my overstocked shelves. Cue the lights.

Photo Feb 11, 10 54 01 PMTune In: It was fifty years ago on February 9th that history was made and the Beatles played their iconic performance on the Ed Sullivan show. On Sunday my father came home from the Fest for Beatles Fans, which he attends annually, with a book befitting his bibliophile daughter: Tune In, by Mark Lewisohn. It is the first of three volumes, the second and third of which are to be published in seven and fourteen years, respectively. I want no one complaining about Game of Thrones anymore.

As my father waxed poetic about the amount of research that went into writing the book and how he spoke to the author at the Fest’s book-signing, I found myself salivating at the chance to read such an exhaustive history of The Beatles. Even my father, a veritable walking Beatles encyclopedia, said there was a lot of information included that even he didn’t know. You should see the inside. The type is positively teeny. Lemme at it.

His Dark Materials: Okay, so I haven’t forked over the cash to buy this one yet. I’m hoping some good Samaritan just drops it in my mailbox, because the purse strings aren’t loosening just yet.

Photo Feb 11, 10 56 23 PM1Q84: I snagged a copy of this unusual beauty a few months ago at the Strand, for a portion of the price! I love a good bargain, and a good, hefty book. I just may pack this one with my parka for Alaska so I can get a chunk read on the plane. Plane reading is one of my favorite kinds, because there is literally no where to go and little to see (although I do love the window-seat views)–it’s the perfect setting to do some feverish reading.

Photo Feb 11, 10 55 57 PMGone With the Wind: This is my best friend’s favorite book. I did see the movie when I was a kid but I don’t remember much of it and the only things I know about the book are the normal stuff everyone knows from pop culture. Since this book is such an American classic, I’ve always been eager to read it.

Photo Feb 11, 11 11 29 PMLes MiserablesI wasn’t crazy about the film version and have never seen the live musical, but that’s because the book is always better. 😉

Photo Feb 11, 10 56 09 PMWar and Peace: This one will be an investment! I bought a pretty, vintage used copy from a local thrift store a few months ago. Isn’t it pretty?

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  • Lovely post! For the record, the live stage version of Les Mis is quite good. It’s just the film that was really awful.

    If you enjoy Gone With the Wind (which I haven’t read, but I’ve seen the film), then you might consider reading The Great Tide sometime. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I remember really enjoying it. It’s another massive book!

    • I love massive books! Any recommendation over 700 pages is very much appreciated; I’ll have to check out The Great Tide. I love big books because they take longer to finish and the time makes you form a sort of relationship to it, which is interesting. They also remind me of the time I originally read it whenever I crack open the covers once again. Books are like flypaper that way, capturing memories!

  • The Goldfinch and The Luminaries are 2 biggies that I’m putting off (till when? I have 3 year old twins. Let’s be honest, I’m not going to have a lot of free time for quite a few years!) There is something very satisfying about a big book though, I was ridiculously pleased with myself when I finished Roberto Bolanos’ 2666…

    • The Luminaries was originally on this list! Since I don’t own it I was loath to write about my lust, but it certainly will find a way to my shelf sooner or later! Congrats on finishing 2666, that’s no mean feat…

  • Les Miz one of this professor’s favorites. Although a lot of great ones here! Have you seen the Punchy Land’s version of Les Miz yet???