Novels come in all lengths but some of the best and most immersive are those that spread out over hundreds of pages.
If you’ve ever read a book and wished that there was more time spent on building the world or that you’d been able to spend a little more time with the characters before you had to say goodbye to them, then a long book might be what you need.
Long books can be written in almost any genre. Although many of them are fantasy or science fiction novels, you can also find horror, romance, or historical fiction novels that are long and packed full of immersive words and relatable characters.
On average, most books hit the 200 to 400-page mark. A 200-page book has, on average, around 60,000 words and although that sounds like a lot, it can feel like it’s over before it has even begun.
For the purposes of this list, I’m going to include books that are at least 500 pages, with many of them being nearer 1000 pages.
War And Peace By Leo Tolstoy
No list of long books over 500 pages would be complete without the book that has become popular vernacular for something that is exceedingly long!
Even people that have never read War and Peace or know anything about the story are aware of its length. The book is set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia and follows the lives of three different characters.
Pierre Bezukhov is the illegitimate son of a rich count, Andrei Bolkonsky is a Prince that leaves his family to fight in the war, and Natasha Rostov is a nobleman’s daughter that catches the eye of both Pierre and Andrei.
War and Peace looks at the developing war through the eyes of people of all classes and backgrounds.
Soldiers, civilians, noblemen, and peasants are all represented and the trio of characters at the heart of the book are allowed to grow and develop over the course of over 1,200 pages of prose.
- Great insight into Russia during that time period
- Well-developed characters that you will come to care for
- Additional footnotes and appendices give additional background information
- Translations can differ in quality and the number of footnotes
Themes: War, love, life and death, conflict and resolution
The Lord Of The Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien
However, it was originally written as a single novel and only split into three for economical reasons. The Lord of the Rings has set the standard for high fantasy since it was first released in 1954.
The movie adaptations became immensely popular and won several Oscars, including Best Picture for The Return of the King. Anyone who is interested in the fantasy genre should read The Lord of the Rings.
Frodo Baggins is a hobbit, one of the smallest and less significant races that inhabit Middle Earth.
However, when a mysterious ring is left to him by his Uncle Bilbo, Frodo has to undertake a dangerous journey that is the key to Middle Earth’s survival.
The Evil Lord Sauron wants his ring back and only Frodo and his friends stand between Sauron and the destruction of all they hold dear. Throughout the pages of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien creates a world that is rich and full of different cultures.
Tolkien was a linguist and his intricate world-building stretches as far as creating entirely new languages for races to speak.
- Wonderful and immersive world-building
- Thrilling story with many twists and turns
- Characters are well-developed and given their own character arcs
- Tolkien can get too mired in the minor details at times
Themes: Friendship, betrayal, self-discovery, overcoming obstacles
The Stand By Stephen King
Stephen King is not only the master of modern horror, but he is also a master of writing very long novels! There are several in his bibliography that are over 500 pages long and my favorite of these is The Stand.
This book has been serialized for TV on a couple of occasions including in the last couple of years. The story begins when a new super-flu known colloquially as Captain Tripps begins to tear through the population of the Earth.
A minority of humans have natural immunity and survive the infection but a large percentage of mankind is killed and civilization is shattered.
The Stand follows the small band of survivors as they cope with the early days of the outbreak and struggle to survive.
As time progresses and small communities start to group together, the survivors begin to have mysterious dreams of either a kindly old woman or a mysterious man in black.
Soon, the survivors find themselves drawn into the oldest battle of all time between the ultimate good and the ultimate evil.
Throughout the first chapters of the book, King describes the evolution and destruction of the super-flu in vivid and frightening detail. The book then changes into a story of survival but is no less frightening.
- Thrilling description of a pandemic and society breaking down
- Interesting characters that cover several shades of gray
- Mysterious antagonist
- Some sections of the book are slower-paced and harder to get through
Themes: Good and evil, survival, community, betrayal
Don Quixote By Miguel De Cervantes
This novel was written in 1605, making it one of the very first modern novels. Although originally written in Spanish it has become famous throughout the English-speaking world as well and Don Quixote himself is one of the most well-known literary characters.
Don Quixote is a lower member of the Spanish nobility and he spends his time reading fantastical tales of knights and chivalry.
Eventually, he decides to become a knight errant himself and sets out with his squire, Sancho Panza, to be the knight he believes himself to be.
Quixote’s view of the world isn’t always steeped in realism, however, and this leads to him seeing things in a different way. He attacks windmills thinking that they are giants, for example.
Thankfully, Sancho keeps his perspective and together the pair embark on several adventures where reality and fantasy collide. Don Quixote is a fascinating and humorous tale that is full of charm that even modern audiences can enjoy.
- Lovable lead characters that you can laugh along with
- Interesting meta on the nobility and heroes
- Fun adventures that tie together by the end
- The style of humor in the book isn’t for everyone
Themes: Reality and imagination, death, fantasy, self-identity, class, and religion
Infinite Jest By David Foster Wallace
Written in 1996, Infinite Jest is considered an encyclopedic novel due to its unconventional narrative structure.
As you read through the book, you will be directed to hundreds of endnotes and some of these endnotes even have footnotes of their own!
It’s not the most straightforward of books on this list to read for this reason, but the humor and intriguing story makes it worth it. Infinite Jest is set in a future where society has radically changed.
The countries of North America have formed one superstate where corporations have immense power. Instead of having traditionally named years, for example, corporations can bid to have the year named after one of their products.
Part of the country is uninhabitable due to being hazardous and there are numerous tensions among the populace. The main character of the book is Hal Incandenza, a young student at the Enfield Tennis Academy.
The novel loosely follows Hal’s time at the academy while several subplots occur at the same time. Infinite Jest is at times humorous and at others confusing, but that is all by design.
Even with the copious endnotes, the story is not meant to be fully resolved within the confines of its over 1000 pages of story.
- The unique and engaging structure
- Makes you think instead of passively reading
- Deals with several serious issues in a sympathetic manner
- The deliberate confusion can be off-putting and hard to read
Themes: Relationships, addiction, entertainment, death, mental health
Bleak House By Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens is widely regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. Several of his novels hit the 500-page mark and Bleak House is one of his longest novels. Of those that are long enough to be considered for this list, Bleak House is my favorite.
Like most of Dickens’ works, Bleak House is set in London during the Industrial Revolution. The protagonist of the novel is Esther Summerson who was raised by her aunt. When the aunt dies, John Jarndyce is appointed Esther’s guardian.
Esther travels to John’s home, the titular Bleak House with his other two words, Ada and Richard. John and his wards are embroiled in a complicated legal battle that serves as a subplot for the novel.
While at Bleak House, Ester becomes close friends with Ada and Richard and notices that the pair are in love. At the same time, the secret behind Esther’s real birth mother is discovered and is instigated in a murder case.
Bleak House is a complicated story that holds a magnifying glass to the legal situation in England at the time of the story. This is explored through a variety of different characters and plotlines that weave in and out.
It also makes numerous statements about social class and how this impacted the lives of every character.
- In-depth analysis of the society at the time of the novel
- Large but memorable cast of characters
- Very ambitious plot
- The story can be a little dry at times
Themes: Passion, legality, family, law and justice, social class
1Q84 By Haruki Murakami
Originally written in Japanese by Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 was written in 2009 and was originally released in three volumes in Japan. The English version was released as one novel in 2011.
The title is a pun on George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 as both novels take place in an alternate 1984 and the Japanese word for “nine” sounds similar to the English letter “Q”.
1Q84 is spread over two versions of 1984 with the majority of the story taking place in an alternate world.
Aomame is a young woman living in Tokyo and when she follows the strange directions given to her by a taxi driver, she slowly starts to notice that the 1984 she is in is not the 1984 that it should be.
At the same time, an aspiring writer called Tengo takes on a writing project that turns into something he didn’t expect. What he thought was a fictional story of a cult is revealed to be the autobiography of a young girl.
Aomame and Tengo are childhood friends and their narratives come together throughout the story as things become increasingly dangerous. Can they get back to the real 1984 and survive the dark forces that are chasing them?
1Q84 is a science-fiction novel with a dystopian backdrop. It ties in larger questions of religion and belief while also having a love story at its heart.
- Alternating chapters introduce both Aomame and Tengo well
- A great mix of different book genres
- The interesting and well-constructed plotline
- As is typical with Murakami, the ending is not clean and definitive
Themes: Religion, reality, love, truth, dystopia
Underworld By Don DeLillo
Released in 1997, Don DeLillo’s Underworld was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was a critical and commercial success and is 850 pages of postmodern fiction.
The story begins in 1951 at the infamous baseball game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
As the game draws to its dramatic close and the winning ball is caught by a fan, President Hoover is informed that the USSR has just completed its first test of a hydrogen bomb.
The baseball caught in that game becomes the plot device through which the rest of the story is told. By 1992 the ball is in the possession of Nick Shay and the novel works through Nick’s life backward to tell his story while also tracing the path of the ball.
Underworld tackles themes of nuclear arms development and waste. Throughout the ups and downs of Nick’s life, there are constant links to consumerism and the effects of humans on the world around us.
By the end of the novel, the themes of nuclear arms and waste disposal are directly linked and various subplots are wrapped up in unexpected ways.
- Holds up for multiple re-reads as new details can be discovered
- Full of several small plots instead of one large overarching one
- Deals with some heavy and important themes
- Not the easiest narrative to follow at times and requires concentration
Themes: Nuclear proliferation, consumerism, waste, individualism, conflict
A Suitable Boy By Vikram Seth
Written by Indian author Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy was originally released in 1993. At a massive 1,349 pages long, it’s one of the longest books on this list and one of the longest to have been originally published as one volume as well.
The book begins in post-independence and post-partition India in 1951. Nineteen-year-old Lata Mehra is focused on her studies but her mother, Rupa, insists it is time that Lata got married.
While Rupa searches for a suitable husband for her daughter, Lata meets a young man of her own accord.
She soon falls in love with Kabir Durrani, but when she realizes that he is Muslim she knows their love is doomed as her Hindu family would never accept the match.
When Lata and Kabir are discovered, she is set to live in Calcutta with her older brother, Arun. Despite her misgivings, Lata enjoys Calcutta and meets another man that she grows to like.
Ruta has her own ideas, however, and continues to try to find the right man for her daughter, regardless of her daughter’s wishes.
A Suitable Boy revolves around four different families and showcases their interactions with each other against a backdrop of a rapidly-changing India.
There are many words dedicated to the culture and law of India at that time and some of this can be a little difficult to understand if the reader doesn’t have a basic understanding of the issues already.
However, the book is full of heart and is essentially a tale of love and romance.
- Many fun and well-developed characters to enjoy
- The family drama is well-realized and interesting to read
- Interesting insight into Indian culture and history during the 1950s
- There are many characters to keep track of throughout the book
Themes: Love, family, obligation, religion, desire
The Mists Of Avalon By Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists of Avalon is the first in a seven-book series by American author Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is the only book in the series that reaches the 500-page mark (it has 876 pages) as all of the others are around 400 pages.
This first book was released in 1983 and is a historical fantasy novel. The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur that focuses on the female characters of the story, such as Morgaine (Morgan le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere.)
It is split into four parts and focuses on Morgaine instead of her half-brother Arthur. It begins in her childhood and follows Morgaine through her life while capturing the dramatic twists and turns as she moves toward her destiny.
Morgaine’s life is tightly intertwined with Arthur on several levels and she becomes embroiled in a struggle with Gwenhwyfar for control of Arthur’s kingdom.
The novel is full of family drama, betrayal, power struggles, and mystery as the battle for the kingdom rages. The Mists of Avalon tells the story of Arthur Pendragon, Camelot, and the mysterious island of Avalon in a way that has never been seen before.
- Viewing the story from Morgaine’s point of view makes for an interesting story
- Well-written and flawed characters
- The good character development throughout the book
- The retelling of a popular legend will not be to everyone’s tastes
Themes: Family, betrayal, love, duty, mystery, religion, magic
Middlemarch By George Eliot
George Eliot was the pen name of the English author Mary Anne Evans. She wrote several successful novels and novellas during the 19th century but the most successful and significant of them all is Middlemarch.
Originally published in eight volumes between 1871 and 1872, the full novel has over 800 pages. It is set in a fictional town in the Midlands region of England and reflects a time that was going through a myriad of modern changes.
The creation of the railroads opens up trade and travel like never before and there are political reforms on the horizon that will change the lives of every citizen of Middlemarch.
Broadly speaking, the novel follows four distinct narratives that are all given varying degrees of time and emphasis. The narratives all happen concurrently with the largest focus given to the stories of Dorothea Brooke and Tertius Lydgate.
Dorothea is an orphan that marries Rev. Edward Casaubon, a man 25 years her senior. Cracks soon appear in the marriage as Dorothea realizes that Casaubon is not willing to share his scholarly pursuits with her.
Tertius Lydgate is a doctor and new to Middlemarch when the story begins. He has many modern ideas about how medicine should be delivered and this clashes with the opinions of many in Middlemarch.
The quiet balance found in Middlemarch is threatened from several different angles as the world changes and secrets are discovered.
The lives of the town’s citizens take center stage in this ambitious novel and Eliot draws you into their lives and the larger societal changes that happen around them.
- The complicated relationships are well-explored and explained
- Great character study of the inhabitants of a small town
- An important reflection of life during those times
- Many themes are no longer relevant and can be hard for modern readers to relate to
Themes: Modernization, change, secrets, self-identity, society, class
Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell By Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was released in 2004 and it is the debut novel by British author Susanna Clarke.
It is set in the 19th century and is an alternative history novel that tells a different story of the times from the one that exists. In this world, magic once existed but was extinguished several centuries previously.
The only magicians left are now scholars that deal in theory, not practical magic, but they are amazed to learn of Mr. Gilbert Norrell, a practical magician that appears to still have the magic touch.
Mr. Norrell moves to London where he begins his career as a magician and successfully completes some amazing tricks. While in London, Mr. Norrell meets a street magician by the name of Vinculus.
When Vinculus tells Mr. Norrell of a prophecy, Norrell not only dismisses it but has Vinculus banished. During his banishment, Vinculus meets Jonathan Strange and tells him of the prophecy as well.
Strange listens and decides to become a magician himself. Strange travels to London and immediately clashes with Norrell. The pair of magicians couldn’t be more different and their rivalry threatens to unleash something dark and dangerous.
- Fascinating premise and ideas
- Good mix of drama and humor to ramp up the tension
- Well-developed characters and motivations
- Lengthy descriptions slow the plot down too much
Themes: Rivalry, modernity, and tradition, reason, culture, magic
Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell
This book is as well-known for its lavish and influential movie adaptation as it is for the novel itself. Gone With the Wind was originally published in 1936 and won the Pulitzer Prize.
It’s regularly voted as one of the most popular and important American novels. The book follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara and is set in the South during the years of the Civil War and following Reconstruction.
Scarlett is the spoilt daughter of a wealthy plantation owner who is in love with her neighbor, Ashley Wilkes, However, Ashley is betrothed to another so Scarlett hastily marries Charles Hamilton.
When war is declared and the men enlist, Scarlett is left a widow and a young mother. Scarlett struggles with her new position in life and doesn’t act as society would expect of a widow.
Through the years, Scarlett’s path continues to cross with the enigmatic Rhett Butler while she continues to long for Ashley.
She has no choice but to turn to Rhett when she needs extra money to keep the plantation running and he continues to be an important figure in her life, both for good and bad.
- An interesting protagonist that develops throughout the novel
- The rich history of life in the South during the Civil War
- The book will provoke many emotions while reading
- Many of the themes and plot points don’t fit modern views
Themes: Classism, racism, power, war, slavery, gender dynamics
House Of Earth And Blood By Sarah J. Mass
This is the first book on this list to be part of a series. The Crescent City series is currently a duology and both the first book, House of Earth and Blood, and the second House of Sky and Breath are over 750 pages long.
It’s an urban fantasy novel so you will see fantasy staples such as demons and fairies co-existing with skyscrapers and modern inventions. The lead character is Bryce Quinlan, a half-Fae and half-human whose closest friends were all murdered by a demon.
Although the demon was caught and imprisoned, similar crimes begin again and Bryce begins to investigate. The fallen angel Hunt Athalar is given an offer he can’t refuse. If he helps Bryce find the murderer, he will be released from his enslavement.
Together, the two begin to investigate the murders, and the deeper they dig, the more they not only find that there is something darker than they expected but the closer they grow.
House of Earth and Blood is a mix of fantasy, crime, and romance, and makes for a unique read. The mystery at the heart of the book will make you eager to continue reading despite the length.
- The world-building is solid and interesting
- Fun twists to the story
- Well-developed love interest and romance
- Slow start to the book as it builds the world and setting
Themes: Loss, grief, freedom, love
After By Anna Todd
The journey After took to being published is an interesting one. The story started life as One Direction fanfiction with the male lead being based on Harry Styles, but the story was reworked and released as a novel.
Four sequels and a movie later and After is one of the more successful New Adult romance novels of the last few years. The story begins when Tessa leaves her hometown and sweet and loving boyfriend behind to go to college.
She has ambitions of success and college is her pathway to achieving them. Unfortunately, Tessa has barely begun her college life when she meets Hardin.
Hardin is Tessa’s complete opposite. He’s rude, cocky, and covered in tattoos and Tessa immediately hates him. That hate doesn’t last for long, however, as Tessa finds herself drawn to his dark charms.
Hardin isn’t a nice guy though and Tessa doesn’t understand why she is trying so hard to discover the real Hardin when she has a wonderful boyfriend at home. After is a romance novel full of interesting characters and questionable decisions.
The reader becomes just as eager as Tessa to discover what really lurks behind Hardin’s cockiness and will enjoy watching as their relationship unfolds.
- The path of love is rarely smooth
- The characters are enjoyable and relatable
- The novel will produce plenty of emotions in the reader
- The only plotline is the romance
Themes: Love, freedom, control, betrayal, desire
The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova
If you love vampires and want to sink your teeth into a lengthy novel about these classic horror figures, then The Historian is a great choice for you. It’s the debut novel by American author Elizabeth Kostova and was released in 2005.
The novel weaves together the legends around the real Vlad the Impaler and the fictional Dracula to make a modern vampire novel that covers a variety of different genres.
A young woman discovers a book and cache of letters in her father’s study in 1971 Amsterdam.
As she plunges into the letters and the words they contain, she discovers a complicated mess of secrets that reveal her father’s mysterious past and the truth behind what happened to her mother.
The narrator is surprised to find that the letters and mysteries lead her to the legend of Vlad the Impaler, the brutal ruler that inspired the myth of Dracula.
Many people have destroyed themselves in search of the truth behind Vlad and Dracula but can the narrator succeed where others have failed?
Her quest for the truth takes her across the world and leads to her discovering many secrets that may have been better left hidden. The Historian is in part a gothic novel, detective novel, adventure, and travelog.
It is set in modern times but takes the reader on a journey into the past and even includes sections that are epistolary in nature.
- An intricate and complicated plot
- A fun mix of genres that is never boring
- Descriptions of travel and history are riveting to read
- Some of the epistolary sections can be dry and slow to plow through
Themes: Truth, secrets, history, power, scholarship, academia
The Time Traveler’s Wife By Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler’s Wife was released in 2003 by American author Audrey Niffenegger. It was her debut novel and has been adapted into both a movie and a TV series.
The book can be considered as both science fiction and romance as time travel and the relationship between a husband and wife are the main catalysts for the story.
The story is told through the first-person perspectives of both Henry DeTamble and Clare Anne Abshire. Henry is able to travel through time due to a genetic disorder and this skill begins when he is five years old.
He can’t control when in his own timeline he will travel or for how long but there are certain stimuli that can trigger his travel. Henry meets Clare when he is 28 years old and she is 20.
It’s the first time Henry has met her, but due to his time traveling, Clare has met him before. After their first meeting, Henry travels to different points in Clare’s life and he is able to help her with several events during her younger years.
They get married but struggle to have a child due to Henry’s genetic disorder. With time travel as a narrative device, Niffenegger is able to show the relationship between Henry and Clare in a unique way.
When Henry disappears due to his time traveling, Clare is left alone in the present time without any way of knowing where Henry has gone and what part of her life he is seeing.
The mix of timelines leads to an ending that is sure to make the reader emotional.
- A strong and unique concept
- Easy to read science fiction for those who don’t often like science fiction
- A romantic story you can believe in
- Unnecessarily descriptive and detailed at times
Themes: Love, death, time, absence, loss
The Book Thief By Markus Zusak
This young adult novel was a New York Times Bestseller and has also been made into a movie. It was released in 2005 by Australian author Markus Zusak and is set in Nazi Germany during the years of World War II.
Although the main character in the book is a young German girl named Liesel Meminger, the book is narrated by Death. Liesel is a foster girl living through the harsh conditions of war.
Her main source of joy in life is the books she is able to find and steal. Her foster father helps her learn to read and she dives head first into any book she can find. She becomes especially interested in any books that the Nazis are trying to ban.
This is still Nazi Germany, however, and it is not a pleasant place to be for anyone that is Jewish. Although Liesel and her foster family are not Jewish, they are sympathetic and hide a Jewish man named Max Vandenburg in their basement.
Liesel shares her books with Max and even begins to write her own. The Book Thief is a charming tale of survival and finding joy in even the darkest of times. By using Death as the narrator, the author is able to give a perspective of the events that is unique.
- A unique insight into World War II through the lives of ordinary Germans
- Liesel is a very fun and likable character
- Many important themes are discussed throughout the story
- A distinct writing style that some readers find difficult to enjoy
Themes: Mortality, language, reading, love, freedom, friendship
Outlander By Diana Gabaldon
This is the first of nine books in the Outlander series. If you’re looking for a series of books that will take you some time to read, then this series is a great choice as every book is over 500 pages, and some of them even top 1000!
This first novel was released in 1991 and it is a work of historical fiction that has some romance and sci-fi elements thrown in for good measure. It is also the basis of a popular TV show and won a Romance Writers of America award.
The story begins in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. Claire Randall was a British combat nurse during World War II and has just reunited with her husband for a second honeymoon in the wilds of Scotland.
However, when she accidentally walks through a stone in a mysterious ancient circle, she is transported from 1946 back to 1743 and finds herself a stranger in a war-torn Scotland of the past.
Claire must learn to survive in this world while also trying to get back to her time. Luckily, she finds an ally in the young Scots warrior Jamie Fraser, but that only adds more confusion.
Jamie may be able to help her stay safe, but she feels a pull toward him that a married woman from another time shouldn’t. Outlander skillfully balances a romance with the dramatic elements of life in 18th-century Scotland.
The reader is able to see this old world through the eyes of a contemporary protagonist and it helps the reader immerse themselves in the story.
- When the story gets going it is full of action and interesting twists
- An intriguing premise and setting
- The romance between Claire and Jamie is believable
- Very slow start before the actual story kicks in
Themes: Love, tradition, loyalty, marriage, femininity
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair By Joël Dicker
Although the novel is set in New Hampshire, it was originally written in French by the Swiss writer Joël Dicker. The French version was released in 2012 and the English translation in 2014.
Although it wasn’t instantly popular in North America, the novel slowly picked up steam and was made into a TV series as well. The central character is Marcus Goldman, a 28-year-old writer that has made a splash with his debut novel.
When it comes to writing something new, however, he is hit with crippling writer’s block. To try and get his creative juices flowing again, Marcus travels to Somerset, New Hampshire to visit his mentor, the titular Harry Quebert.
Marcus’ hopes of speaking to his mentor are dashed when Harry is caught up in a murder case.
Thirty-three years earlier a 15-year-old girl that Harry had an affair with went missing and now that her body has been found, the police are implicating Harry in her murder.
Marcus must investigate the murder to see exactly what happened and he might even get a book out of it.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a crime thriller with an interesting mystery at its heart. There are many secrets to be discovered before the truth is revealed.
- Full of intriguing twists and turns
- Difficult to predict the plot
- Uses flashbacks to tell the story to great effect
- Some of the text about writing is very dry and stilted
Themes: Crime, truth, justice, love, writing, success
The Catholic School By Edoardo Albinati
Originally written in Italian, The Catholic School was written by Italian author Edoardo Albinati in 2016 and the English translation was released in 2019.
It’s partly autobiographical and it is influenced by his own experiences of attending San Leone Magno during the 1960s and 1970s. The book is also loosely based on the Circeo Massacre.
The book begins in 1975 when three ex-students of the boy’s school San Leone Magno travel to the seaside resort of Circeo. They take two teenage girls with them but the vacation ends in horror when the girls are abused and one is murdered.
The case becomes a national news story because all three of the men are sons of wealthy families and their actions throw a spotlight on the behavior of the Italian upper classes.
The book dives into what made those men who they are and looks into a variety of dark but important themes. The mix of the author’s own experiences, the real events of the Circeo Massacre, and fiction make this novel horrifying but important reading.
At times it’s difficult to know what is based on real life and what is entirely fictional but that is the author’s intention.
- Important deconstruction of masculinity and power
- The author (and translator) treat the story with dignity without lessening the shocks
- An intriguing insight into the world of Italian upper classes
- Parts of the book may be too dark and heavy for some readers
Themes: Religion, abuse, coming of age, power, violence
Best Long Books Buyers Guide
Before you choose a long book, you should consider the following points.
There is no single genre that has a monopoly on long novels. You can find long novels that are science-fiction, horror, fantasy, romance, and everything in between as well.
If you center your search for a long book on the genre you like the best then you will be able to choose a good long book much more quickly.
Long books are also a great time commitment so you want to make sure that it is a book that you are going to be interested in. Choose your favorite genre and find a long book in that genre.
Series Or Standalone
No matter how long a novel is, there is always room for a sequel! Reading one long novel can take you weeks but reading a series of them could take months of your life.
For example, the Outlander series has nine books and all of them are at least 800 pages long. Before you start a long novel that is part of an even longer series, consider whether you have the time and commitment to get through the entire series.
In this list, I suggested the 21 best long books that are over 500 pages long.
Some of the books are only slightly above this limit but other books such as Infinite Jest are well over 1000 pages and are complicated enough to make even the fastest reader take their time.
Within this list, I’ve included a wide variety of different genres. There are fantasy books such as The Lord of the Rings, modern romance novels such as After, and horror/thriller books like The Stand.
Long novels can be of any genre and there are just as many classic novels of over 500 pages as there are modern ones.
No matter what type of long book you’re looking for, there is sure to be a book here for you. Take your time, choose a book, and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s now answer some of the most commonly asked questions about long books.
How Long Does It Take To Read A Long Book?
The average reader will take just under three hours to read 100 pages but this will change depending on your reading skill and the difficulty of the book. A 500-page book will take the average reader 15 hours to read.
What Is The Longest Book Written In English?
There are many long books written in English but many of them were released in separate volumes. The longest novel released in a single volume is Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert and this is around 852,000 words long!