It’s an investment for sure. But one of the greatest you’ll ever make. From a year-long commitment to Knausgaard’s monumental sextet “My Struggle” to the 2013 saga Americanah by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In this time of “social distancing” and respite, we turn the situation upside down, or is it right-side up? or right-side down? and embrace the solitude, grab that bull, those enameled prosaic horns and strike a path into the deep forests of epic literature.Tweet
20 Knock-Your-Socks-Off Novels Over 500 Pages
From the brilliance that is the New York Public Library:
- The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
A pianist accrues clues to his past in this enigmatic literary thriller.
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
“Frankly, my dear,” you should give a damn about this sprawling Civil War classic.
- Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
The author of Jesus’ Son takes on Vietnam-era CIA.
- Them by Joyce Carol Oates
The National Book Award-winning third novel of Oates’ Wonderland Quartet covers three decades of slumming in Detroit.
- The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
A couple conspires to seduce a sick American girl for her riches.
- Ada, Or, Ardor, A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov
The title says it all: word play and linguistic filigree of the highest order.
- Mortals by Norman Rush
No one does Botswana — or a sentence — like Norman Rush.
- Native Son by Richard Wright
Bigger (Thomas) is better in Wright’s seminal novel Native Son.
- Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Want to know what a Schwarzgerät is? Then read the book.
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
A beautiful woman, a train, a trainwreck. You know how this one ends.
- The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein
In Stein’s hands, the glue that holds together a family drama is writing about writing.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
There are a lot of fruitless endeavors in the war that is Okies v. Dust Bowl.
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
An erudite group of budding intellectuals has something to hide, and it may just be a dead body.
- The Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells
Wells imagines life from 1933 to 2106.
- Letting Go by Philip Roth
Any bibliophile will appreciate a book in which a major plot point involves a letter being left in a copy of The Portrait of a Lady.
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
An extraordinary book about marrying a dud.
- Underworld by Don DeLillo
A DeLillo sentence is taut, energetic, and intelligent, so think about what happens when DeLillo’s sentences reach the length of a novel.
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
This epic of whale proportions is perhaps the best American novel about the madness of dreams.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Bro out intellectually with this novel of ideas.
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Entertainment looms a frightening shadow even over footnotes in DFW’s neo-classic tome.