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What’s The Longest Novel You’ve Read?

After I recently stumbled across this list of the longest English language novels ever written, I started thinking…what’s the longest novel I’ve ever read?

To this point, I think it’s book #5: Gone With The Wind. Indeed, Margaret Mitchell wrote a beastly book . At more than 1,000 pages, GWTW wore me down.  Who knew there was that much to say about a 16-year-old southern belle in the 1800s?

Nearly 400 pages into this 550 page beast.

Thankfully, the only novel included in the list of long books above is David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. But the Time list has quite a few bulky books–one of which I’m reading right now (The Corrections, nearly 600 pages).

Still to come, I’ve got massive tomes like Gravity’s Rainbow (700+), the aforementioned Infinite Jest (1,100+), Ulysses (500+), plus many more that I’m probably not even aware of yet.

One of the most difficult aspects of 101 Books is simply keeping my momentum while reading the lengthier novels. Gone With The Wind took so long that I’m reluctant to read the larger books, even though I know I’ve got to at some point.

So what’s the longest novel you’ve read? And do you approach reading a long novel any different than a shorter story?

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49 Comments Post a comment
  1. probably the re-worked (uncut) version of The Stand by Stephen King. Off the top of my head. I read a lot of lengthy stuff, but that one was a monster.

    March 9, 2011
    • Ha! Re-worked The Stand was my longest as well. It was recommended to me by a friend as the best Stephen King book. I downloaded to the kindle and was a third of the way through when I happened to be in a book store. Curious to know just how long it was, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I flipped to the last page!

      March 15, 2011
    • Zuzana Kogure #

      yeah, just finished that one! small format paperback! I was getting craps in my hand to hold it open… :D

      September 22, 2012
      • Zuzana Kogure #

        cramps :D

        September 22, 2012
  2. Eddie #

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 870 pages. Followed closely by The Stand, by Stephen King and Scarlett (ashamed to admit this one) both coming in at 823 pages.

    March 9, 2011
    • Scarlett, but not Gone With The Wind? You should be ashamed!

      The Stand is a classic, though.

      March 9, 2011
      • Eddie #

        I had watched the movie numerous times, and felt I knew the story so well that I would get bogged down in GWTW… but I wanted to see how the story continued, or ended… thus the logic.

        March 9, 2011
  3. Ken Follett’s books are door stoppers. I love BIG fat reads. Great post.

    March 9, 2011
  4. Bba #

    Infinite Jest is my all-time favorite, & also the longest I’ve read. Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks is another fav of mine & could be used as a weapon.

    March 9, 2011
    • Infinite Jest in the next five. I’m bracing myself.

      March 9, 2011
    • I’m currently reading Infinite Jest right now. I’ve never taken so long to read a book, but it’s astounding. Usually I get frustrated with such a slow pace, but with this book I am happy to slow down and digest the novel.

      March 15, 2011
  5. Patti #

    Ah, don’t forget – your list registers The Lord of the Rings as one – that’s over 1200 pages taken all together!
    I also like the doorstop variety of books – I’ve also read GWTW, The Stand, HP and Order of the Phoenix – a few other long ones include David Copperfield, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and Anna Karenina – all weighing in at over 800 pages. If you count the Forsyte Saga as one book, that’s over 900.

    March 9, 2011
    • Yes, forgot about LOTR.

      I’ve read the Potter books, too. Forgot they were that long.

      March 9, 2011
  6. I read GWTW, when I was in high school. I enjoyed it (already loved the movie). But that was plenty long, and I feel no need to go finding anything longer just for its own sake. Plus now that I have a job, it would take me months to get through anything that long.

    March 9, 2011
  7. War and Peace, twice in one term. Our professor thought that a reread was necessary!

    March 9, 2011
    • Ouch.

      March 9, 2011
  8. I usually end up choosing books that are 600+ pages. I’m not sure if that counts as a long book, but when I read these I tend to read a few pages at a time and then put it down. Its easier to stop in the middle of a chapter because the action tends to move slower. So you can read a few pages while you wait for the bus, or while dinner is cooking or anytime you have a few extra minutes to spare. (These few pages at a time might also help you read them faster. You don’t only have to sit down for a few hours at a time with a long book.)

    March 9, 2011
  9. Have read & enjoyed GWTW. I would have said that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, published as one book, was longer, but according to Amazon it’s the same number of pages as GWTW. Just goes to show how much difference it makes if you enjoy a book. Perhaps another question is ‘what seemed like the longest book’?

    March 9, 2011
    • Haha, yes. I’m sure there are some 200 pagers out there that would have seemed like the longest book.

      March 10, 2011
  10. I’ve read GWTW and all the Harry Potter books and LOTR. One of my all-time favourite books is Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. It’s a Canadian novel of 566 pages and became an Oprah pic a few years after I read it–that was disappointing to me, but I was happy for a Canadian author to reap the benefits of “the Oprah touch”! Most recently I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; that was a long one, but I finished it over a weekend.

    Funny how the good books never seem long even if they are 1000 pages!

    March 9, 2011
  11. The first long book I ever read was Shogun by James Clavell. It was shorter than the one on the list (Gai-Jin), but still well over a thousand pages. I’ve since then read #7 (Atlas Shrugged) and #6 (A Suitable Boy – which was outstanding. Vikram Seth is extremely talented and his other novels are just as good – and shorter!). I still haven’t read War and Peace, but even though I’ve read longer books, I still consider it to be my literary Mount Everest. It’s on deck for a summer read.

    March 15, 2011
  12. The Covenant by James A. Michener at 1248 pages was a long read–good but it covered so many generations in South Africa, it felt like several books.

    March 15, 2011
  13. The longest novel I’ve ever read is a Dutch book called The discovery of heaven (De ontdekking van de hemel in Dutch) by Dutch writer Harry Mulisch. It’s 936 pages long and its one of my favourites (I read it three times). There is a movie in English but I don’t recommend it. I have Gone with the Wind and I’m planning to read it soon…

    March 15, 2011
  14. Alfie #

    Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” at 1100 pages is the largest I’ve attempted (always assuming that the sequel “World without End” is shorter – I can’t check that at present as I’ve loaned it out)
    That is not to say, of course, that it is necessarily any good, just that it is BIG! My younger daughter has a Master’s degree in Mediaeval History and often gives a little snort of derision when she finds a historical inaccuracy in it.

    March 15, 2011
  15. The longest books I’ve ever read are in the same series. Ken Follett’s “The Pillars Of The Earth”, and it’s sequel “World Without End”. The former is 900+ pages, and the latter is 1,000+.
    [excellent books, by the way. i would highly recommend them.]

    March 15, 2011
  16. Yes but what about what seemed the longest novel you’ve ever read?
    For me it was The Making of the Representative for Planet 8
    by Doris Lessing.

    I was on holiday with friends, it took me two weeks on a Greek beach to get through it . . . I needed another holiday afterwards . . it was around that time I realised that life was too short to ‘suffer’ a book to which you could see no satisfactory end. Soon after I read Confederacy of Dunces . . . but only part of it . . a very small part of it . . .
    Any similar experiences???

    March 15, 2011
  17. :-D You should read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo! I have to say, I love that book. It took 7 years to write and it is HUGE! Like, 1,480 pages!

    March 15, 2011
  18. Something like that happened to me with The magic mountain of Thomas Mann… I felt as I had been reading it for ages. I think I wasn’t prepare.

    I’ve just found your blog and I think it is great. Good luck with your project!
    I write about books too, but Spanish language books. I’m studying Spanish literature at University and I comment on the books I have to read for my degree.

    I apologize for my english.
    Greetings from Spain.

    March 15, 2011
  19. If The Lord of the Rings is considered one book, that would be it. Atlas Shrugged. The Pillars of the Earth. The Stand. I’m sure many others.

    March 15, 2011
  20. Longest book read? hmmm… I have read most of the above… HP, LOTR, GWTW and I read a lot of Michener in high school.

    LOTR is my all time favorite though…. second to LOTR is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley @ 876pgs. (Acutally… anything Arthurian and I am reading it… but MZB presents it from the women’s pt of view which gives the legends a whole new flavor.)

    I am also huge Margaret George fan… she falls in the historical/biographical/fiction genre and mainly writes about famous female “royalty”…. Mary of Magdalene (676 pgs), Mary Queen of Scots (880 pgs), Cleopatra (976 pgs). I have yet to get to Helen of Troy or Henry the VIIIth. Can’t wait for her new one…. Elizabeth 1 due in April.

    Big book that seemed to drag on and on… all subsequent books to The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel… there is only so much I need to know about flora and the fauna of prehistoric earth.

    March 15, 2011
  21. Daniel Rodriguez #

    I read War & Peace- that one was a whopping 1500 pages. Top contention for my favorite of all time, though. Well worth the time.

    March 15, 2011
  22. codester #

    I’ve done War and Peace and Les Miserables. I don’t think I’ve read too many books under 500 pages.

    March 15, 2011
  23. I don’t know what’s longer…Harry Potter 6 or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell?

    March 15, 2011
  24. If you can count a series as one book than The Wheel of Time wins easily. 13 books with one remaining, and I believe the shortest book is about 700 pages (not counting the prequel novel, which is shorter and only about 350 pages or so).
    Otherwise probably any individual book in that series would be the longest or possibly Sanderson’s The Way of Kings.

    March 15, 2011
  25. WFMeyer #

    At 1,368 pages, I’d have to say Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is the single longest novel I’ve read. The uncut version of The Stand at 1,152 pages was a close second.

    March 16, 2011
  26. Since J.R.R Tolkien actually meant to have ‘Lord of the Rings’ as one book (even though the publishers decided against it) I suppose that would be my longest read so far.. Other than that I would probably say ‘The Talisman’ by Stephen King – it was a great read I undertook years ago, it was one of my first real fantasy novels. Now that I’ve recently graduated I can also (proudly) say that I’ve gotten into reading novels a lot more now that I don’t have to linger with course literature ^^,

    I must say that I admire you for reading ‘Gone with the Wind’, not that it is a bad book (I haven’t really read it) but I, personally, have a really hard time reading a book that is not ‘down my alley’.

    March 18, 2011
  27. Charles Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’, good read, but way too long!

    March 22, 2011
  28. Adela #

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 835 pages, and The Sweet Far Thing, 819 pages. And The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, around 1000 pages. All fantastic books, all lengthy but never dragging on :)

    March 28, 2011
  29. Ted Rusch #

    Lonesome Dove would probably be the longest book I’ve ever read (864 pages per Amazon). I’ll count the 4 book series (Dead Man’s Walk, LD, Comanche Moon, and Streets of Laredo) since I read them back to back, it was 2,586 pages.

    April 8, 2011
  30. zigana #

    Hello Again!
    Thanks to HBO 9and my love of Sean Bean)… I have discovered George RR Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series… aka “Game of Thrones”. I am in LOVE with the books!

    Martin is regularly called the American Tolkien… the fans are rabid … and what got me reading them was EVERY fansite I perused RAVED about the HBO series. It’s not very often that book fans fall in love with a tv series or the movie based on the books.

    So, I have devoured the first 4 books in the last 2 months. (Books 3 and 4 were supposed to be one book… Martin had to split them up) They can be some whoppers too… the 1st four average 920 pgs per book!!!

    A Game of Thrones – 807pgs A Clash of Kings – 969 pgs A Storm of Swords – 1128 pgs A Feast for Crows – 784 pgs

    HOORAY!! Just released last week… A Dance with Dragons – 1040 pgs (Everyone else had to wait six years for it… I only had to wait 2 weeks.)

    July 18, 2011
    • zigana #

      quick correction… books 4 and 5 were split…. the series was expanded to 7 books total.

      July 18, 2011
  31. zigana #

    ps… sorry I rambled on so long… I am pretty giddy about the series…

    July 18, 2011
  32. Longest book I’ve ever read: probably Les Miserables (also with my all time speed read record of six days), but Lord of the Rings or Gone with the Wind may win/come a close second.

    I like to read long books.

    July 19, 2011
  33. http://blogs.delphiforums.com/skunkville

    The longest novel I’ve ever read is my own currently incomplete novel found above — well over 2,000 pages, 650,000+ words, epsiodic and designed to be highly entertaining, I would guess that it is only a great work if some new category is created that would encompass or classify such an unusual effort, most of it written in the past 12 months, while I labor at the same time on two other massive writing efforts in the areas of recreated history and the previously unknown but essential structure of consumer brand competition using a unique database I have spent $100.000 to collect over the past three years. The latter holds the potential to revive the U.S. economy if not the world economy as well, by ridding markets of most of the largely flawed and superfluous competition.

    The longest novel I ever read was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, back when I was in college. But I like long books very much. Right now I am deep into Edward Gibbon’s fascinating The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    The two other massive writing efforts can be found at

    http://blogs.delphiforums.com/baseballhistory
    http://blogs.delphiforums.com/abbyzynzer

    October 29, 2011
  34. linz #

    crime and punishment ?

    January 6, 2013
  35. I have read some of the ones mentioned on here. Lonesome Dove is absolutely on the top of my list, and was pretty long. As was Crime and Punishment. Ditto for LOTR and Harry Potter.

    I did read the Game of Thrones, but have to say that if there isn’t a BIG payoff, then I feel like the investment of time wasn’t worth it. Somewhere between the 4th and 5th book, I realized that it was more of a mood piece than a story that has a specific destination. Kind of like an old serial.

    Will check out some of the others.

    March 18, 2013
  36. m r shetty #

    i have written 90000 english couplets with 888174 words in 10 years and in 5 volumes
    one of the longest in any literature
    M R Shetty
    bangalore 560001

    September 2, 2013
  37. verdandichan #

    The longest one I’ve ever read is a novel in my language(Thai). It hasn’t been translated in any other language. It was 300++ pages a volume and it’s 48 volumes long. It’s called ‘Petch pra Uma’ Pretty interesting if you like adventure and fantasy.

    Here’s the pic of 40th anniversary set. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/th/9/98/Petprauma_Gold.jpg

    March 17, 2014

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