A study found that reading classic literature can help you improve your social skills. Reading classic literature improves your emotional intelligence and can even help you to perceive others better. Strong characters will give you a stronger sense of personal ethics and help you judge character better. Are you looking for the best feeling from the longest books? Do you want to know which of these classic books is the longest that will satisfy your longings? Continue reading to find out which classic book is the longest.
Which Of These Classic Books Is The Longest?
In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust’s longest novel is the Penn Book Center’s longest novel. The modernist masterpiece spans six volumes and 3,616 pages. In Search of Lost Time takes two days to read at a rate of one page per minute. This assumes you don’t stop to eat, sleep, or go back to childhood to find your aunt Leonie.
In Search of Lost Time is a big book. This presents a paradox. These books are unappealing and forbiddingly long. Yet, their enormous rewards make them even more appealing. They are a challenge. Readers who stroll in the foothills of literature, like peak baggers, see a series of tantalizing summits in the distance. These include Moby-Dick (720), The Count of Monte Cristo (1 312 pages), and The Story of the Stone (2 576 pages). Because they are there, we want to read them.
Top 10 Very Long Books Worth the Time They’ll Take to Read
In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust (1913–1927, 4,215 pp.)
Proust’s series of novels is not something to be ashamed of. This work is more than the others. It’s a cohesive work, beautifully written, recursive, but not repetitive, and deep even when it concerns the most superficial of socialites.
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy (1869, 1,296 pp.)
The Russian master captured the title on top of all the other accomplishments he made in this historical novel about Russia’s Napoleonic era. He captured the full effect of war on armies, aristocrats, and spouses by shifting the focus from the battlefield towards the home front and back.
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens (1853, 960 pp.)
Here is the great English novelist at his most mature. To expose society’s role, he files a single suit over a shrinking inheritance. This is Dickens: funny and heartfelt.
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes (1605, 976 pp.)
In this series of misadventures that befell the romantic-obsessed mad knight errant with his sane sidekick, both the novel and the satire were born simultaneously. Although the nested stories are rooted in postmedieval Spain, and their pratfalls remain timeless, self-delusion is not bound by cultural boundaries.
Middlemarch, by George Eliot (1872, 880 pp.)
Eliot was a world-builder, in the traditional sense. Her fictional Middlemarch is an English city like many others. It is a model of bourgeois life and the setting for many parallel plots. The ordinary is made epic, and vice versa.
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880, 824 pp.)
The original European existentialist may have been darker in Crime and Punishment. Still, he captures a wider universe with his portrait of a family that achieves Christlike heights and Trumpian lows and cerebral set pieces that would blow away most novellas.
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia, by Rebecca West (1941, 1,181 pp.)
Interest in West’s book was a category-killer across several categories (travel books, cultural history, memoir), which was revived during the Balkan Wars in the ’90s. This is fitting for a book that was written just days before the Nazi invasion. It’s a fascinating, always-interesting work of poetic journalism that is well worth the effort.
The Man Without Qualities, by Robert Musil (1943, 1,744 pp.)
Musil’s massive collection of social and philosophical fiction seems to have stopped. The novel’s dissipation, whose title character represents a blank reflection, mirrors Viennese society during World War I, prosperous, rule-bound, and beautiful but doomed.
The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien (1955, 1,178 pp.)
You can read the trilogy in one volume. Because he understood what it meant to create an entire universe, Tolkien was the pioneer of modern fantasy. Tolkien was a professional linguist and didn’t just invent. He used all he knew and created something new.
Life and Fate, by Vasily Grossman (1959, 896 pp.)
Although often compared with War and Peace, the long-suppressed World War II book has more to do with war journalism, in which Grossman was a Soviet reporter at the front. After a bloody battle, he emerged with both a great tale and a sharp critique of the century’s two greatest monsters Hitler (and the one at home).
How to navigate your way through the longest classic books?
It isn’t easy to find 60 hours to read Proust. It is impossible to read and reread a page every night as you sleep. If a gambler wants to climb a mountain, she needs to use different techniques. The same goes for big books. Here’s my advice on reaching a literary base camp and attempting a summit attempt on the largest books.
1. Pore over the map
Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching (192 pages) states that a journey of a thousand kilometers begins from under one’s feet. Get a copy and map it. What number of chapters do you have? How are they organized? What are the book’s landmarks and contours? Although the table of contents is helpful, it’s not as effective as actually rifling through the pages, learning about the typesetting, section breaks, and overall layout of the book. Last year, I read Les Miserables (1,456 pages) and started to understand the structure. The book is divided into five parts, each with eight or more books. Each book is also divided into chapters.
2. Devise a plan
Once you feel comfortable with your book, break it up into smaller chunks. Consider your reading speed, time available for each week, and whether or not you will be reading other books at the same moment. Also, consider when you wish to finish the book. Les Miserables has 365 chapters. I decided to spend a year reading it, one chapter per day. This was manageable with work, life, and other books.
You can identify your waypoints, such as where you should be at the end of each month. These can be useful when you fall behind. These installments can be used to read some books. It has always been my dream to read The Arabian Nights (2784 pages), over one thousand and one night. You would be able to appreciate the extent of Scheherazade’s imagination after two years and nine months.
3. Travel in the company
It is dangerous to climb mountain peaks alone. It is also more fun to read large books with your partner. Last year, my partner and I read Les Miserables together. We are currently reading War and Peace (1.440 pages), and her brother will be joining us. It’s hard to live with a large book for long periods. Sharing the experience is more enjoyable. You can talk about characters, share your feelings, and commiserate about sad events. You can also read with a friend to help you keep going.
One of you will always be ahead of the other at any given time. Your friend can help by calling back with encouragement. It’s very comforting to know that you will be back on solid ground if you get lost in dense authorial detours. Be Sherpas to each other. Author of Oroonoko (144 Pages), Aphra Behn said that ‘a faithful friend’ and ‘a good library’ are keys to achieving ‘perfect tranquillity in life.
4. Keep the book alive
Now you’re ready to go. Follow your plan and keep going. If you need to, get help from your reading partner. It’s not always so easy. It is easier to begin a book than it is to finish it. It’s easy for a large book to become distracted and lose focus. As the pages increase, oxygen levels drop. While some people can work hard and stay motivated, others need help.
These are a few tricks I use to keep a book interesting and alive. These tricks won’t work for everyone, but you might like them.
5. Read it in real time
Let a book unfold in real-time. Ulysses by James Joyce (1.040 pages) is a story in a single day on June 16th. The action begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 a.m. the next morning. I have set myself a challenge to read all of Ulysses this year. I will start at 8 a.m., eat what the characters eat (nutty Gizzards for breakfast), and the sun will set at the correct time. I will then try to continue reading into the early hours.
Dante’s Divine Comedy (1.744 pages) is another suggestion. It takes place during Easter week from Thursday before Good Friday to noon on the Thursday following. Paradiso, however, is in heaven and is not subject to time or space. Either you have to pause terrestrial clock time or make a deal.
You can also pick up Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1.356 pages) for a longer challenge. The epistolary novel is entirely composed of letters. Each letter is helpfully dated so that you can read them all in real-time as the narrative unfolds over a year (from January 10th to December 18th). Clarissa was set in 1747. January 10th falls on a Tuesday. You can read it with the correct days in the week by choosing 2023.
This temporal context can help you stay with the book longer and make it a memorable experience.
6. Read it in the right place
Reading a book at the right places can produce a similar effect. I have walked from London to Canterbury with a group of pilgrims and told all the stories along the way. We kept the poem’s location as close as possible: the monk recounted her story outside Rochester Cathedral; the knight related his tale at the Watering of St Thomas, a holy stream that lies below a Tesco car parking lot on the Old Kent Road. We shared the stories over four days and sixty miles, which gave us time to discuss them and allowed us to appreciate the whole work.
You might also consider a trip to Ferrara, northern Italy, to read Giorgio Bassani’s six-book series The Novel of Ferrara (1.296 pages); you might go to La Mancha to read Don Quixote (1.056 pages); or, you could stay in New York and read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (1.184 pages). My dream is to get together with ten friends and rent Fiesole’s palazzo for ten days in the summer. We could then retell all 100 stories from The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (1.072 pages).