Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Took Me A Long Time To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! Today's given topic is books that took a long time to read, and to be honest, this is a list I struggled to put together because I generally read really fast. Even for books I don't like, because I try to burn through them as quick as I can so I can move on to something better. That being said, there are definitely some books that I had to chip away at bit by bit, mostly because of length but sometimes because they were genuinely difficult.



War and Peace: This book took me about three weeks to read, because it is very very long. But there's a reason it's virtually always at the top of lists of best books: it's really incredible. Natasha might be one of my favorite characters in literature. Very much worth the time investment.

Les Miserables: Another super-long epic. I've actually never seen the show, but I did see the (very hit and miss) movie before I read it, and honestly I think it helped to have some sort of idea of the general plotline because there are so many characters and so much story that without an idea of generally what was going on I'd have been discouraged. It's also very good and worth the time.

Creative Mythology: This was the end of a four-book series that I'd found tiresome even after the first one but I'm both a completist and very stubborn. By the time I got around to this one, I was deeply and profoundly ready for the series to be over but they were really hard to slog through so it took weeeeeks.

A Suitable Boy: I read this the summer after my freshman year in college because my mom had a copy hanging around and it had always intrigued me. Another super super long one, this book actually taught me most of what I know about The Partition. I'd like to revisit this story one day when I have a LOT of spare time.

The Grapes of Wrath: This was the bane of my senior year of high school. I'm not much for Steinbeck and this is a lot of pages of Steinbeck. We had to keep these reading logs for each chapter, so I actually had to do a close read of every part of it and by the time I finished it I was so angry about reading it.

Vanity Fair: I'd made a stab at this in high school for fun and never was able to get into it, but a couple years ago I picked it up again and made it through. I usually have a hard time with books with unlikable protagonists, but once I decided that Becky's scrapiness was actually kind of admirable I got around to enjoying it if not loving it.

A Storm of Swords: All of the A Song of Ice and Fire books are long, but the third volume was the only one that stymied me on my initial read-through. I got bored and actually had to start it over again after getting about 1/4 of the way through because I put it down for so long that I couldn't remember what was going on. Once I made a second stab at it, it went really fast, but that first try was rough.

Don Quixote: I loathed this book so hard. It was all I could do to make myself spend just 20-30 minutes a day with it, so it went by slooooooowly.

The Divine Comedy: This is kind of cheating, because I read this three-part epic poem over the course of an entire semester in college. I loved it, don't get me wrong, especially since taking the whole class gave me so much of the context behind it...well, most of it anyway. Paradiso was kind of weak, but the other two parts were great.

Wolf Hall: Once I got into it, I really liked it (and its sequel even more), but I had a hard time getting grounded in the way Hillary Mantel was telling her story. It's one of those things that I'm glad I was able to push through until I got my head around, though, because it's a great book.

10 comments

  1. Wolf Hall took me forever as well. I liked the different take on Cromwell and I love Tudor history - but it really was a slog for me. When I finally finished, I did feel a certain amount of satisfaction.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. It definitely felt like a book that needed to be conquered, somehow, didn't it? I found the second book in the series to be much more accessible and enjoyable, if you're inclined to revisit Mantel

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  2. Great list! I really need to read Wolf Hall, considering I love historical fiction I'm ashamed to admit I've yet to read any Mantel despite seeing bothing but praise for her. I always say I like Steinbeck because I read and liked Of Mice and Men in school, but I've never actually read any of his other work and, to be honest, I don't have any desire to pick any of his longer work up, either.

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    1. Of Mice and Men was not for me, and between that and how much I did not like reading The Grapes of Wrath, I'm okay with just saying I'm not into Steinbeck. That being said, I do own and plan to read East of Eden, because I've heard really great things about it.

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  3. I downloaded Les Miserables onto my Kindle when I got it a few years ago because it was free and never read it; the progress line went all the way across the screen and intimidated me too much, haha.

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    1. It is SUPER long. If you're going to tackle it, experiencing it in the musical form (on stage or the movie) is probably a good idea, because I'm pretty sure if I didn't have at least SOME idea of what was going on I'd have had a much harder time with it than I did and I still struggled. But it's honestly really good and worth the read!

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  4. I’ve read two Joseph Campbell books, and I don’t think I can handle any more. They were absolute slogs.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I liked The Hero With A Thousand Faces but found it dense, so I'm not sure what inspired me to read The Masks of God series. Unless you're passionate about world mythology and/or the psychoanalytic theories behind it, I'd stay away.

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  5. I haven't read any of these yet, even though some are definitely on my TBR! I'm a little intimidated by them and afraid it'll take me a long time to read, but as you said, it can definitely be worth the investment!

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    1. It's rough to pick up gigantic classics KNOWING that they're going to eat up weeks (and not knowing whether you'll like them at the end of it!) when there are shiny new interesting titles all over the blogosphere all day. I did a lot of my classics backlist before I started blogging and don't know that I would have stuck it out if I'd done it afterwards! Anna Karenina was probably my favorite superlong classic, and there's a good bit of it that's skippable stuff about Russian peasant farming, so that's one I tend to recommend as a step into that kind of thing.

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