We love a good new, boss lady voice here at L&C. Whether that’s a new female writer, director, business owner, actress, activist, or….columnist on the site! That’s why we are so excited to introduce a new monthly guest column on one of our favorite topics, from one of our favorite super cool women. Meet Megan, checking in from sunny California, who will be diving into the world of literature! Every month, she’s going to be rounding up just what we need to read, be it page-turning love stories, to heart-racing mysteries, to books we need to read before they hit the big screen on film. Megan knows what’s up when it comes to books, given that she went to post-grad to become an official Adult Services Librarian, and is generally a super smart human. Some of her favorite books are The Night Circus, The Thirteenth Tale, and (of course) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But her choices for these winter months are long AF, big booty books that will keep you well occupied until the spring thaw. Take it away Megan….
Do you ever see an interesting book but then check the page count and think, “Sheesh! I could read three books in the time it would take me to finish this”? Yeah, me too. But then I think about how many great books I’m missing out on, and I take another look. In honor of winter—the perfect season to curl up with a nice long book—here are 10 chunky books that are worth their page count.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (560 pages)
Ursula Todd is born in 1910 … and almost immediately dies. So she is born again. And again. With each new life—all beginning in 1910—Ursula lives a little longer, eventually leading her to where the book began: a chance to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1930. What has she learned in each life to help her get there? And what will she do once she arrives?
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee (576 pages)
Fans of fashion, the opera or Paris in general will enjoy luxuriating over the rich details in this book, including gorgeous descriptions of the gowns, jewels and parties of 19th-century Europe. This long and leisurely read slowly reveals the mysterious and scandalous past of Paris Opera star Lilliet Berne.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (588 pages)
For a long book that doesn’t feel like a chunker, Americanah is perhaps the best-known novel by Nigerian writer Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists). When Ifemelu moves to America, she begins writing a frank blog describing her experiences as a “Non-American Black” living in the States. Meanwhile, she loses touch with her childhood boyfriend, Obinze, who leaves Nigeria to begin a career in London and experiences uncomfortable racism of his own.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (592 pages)
This is a perfect example of the glorious books adults miss out on when they say they “don’t read young adult fiction.” Why not?! Death (yes, death) narrates this beautiful YA book about a young girl who steals books in Nazi Germany and whose parents dare to hide a Jewish man in their basement.
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (608 pages)
Violet is a young girl living in Shanghai in the early 20th century when her American mother moves back to San Francisco … without her. Over the next several decades, Violet leaves her childhood in Shanghai and becomes a wife and mother, all the while desperate to learn the real story of her parentage. This beautiful, atmospheric novel will transport you from Shanghai to San Francisco to rural China in a style reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, but far superior.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (720 pages)
In this suspenseful and somewhat creepy novel, a young girl discovers a mysterious old book and collection of letters in her late father’s library. These discoveries lead her down the dangerous path of seeking the truth about Vlad the Impaler (a.k.a. Dracula), spinning a tale that will enthrall horror and non-horror fans alike.
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (784 pages)
If you haven’t read this classic nonfiction book yet, now’s your chance. Have you heard it said that history is written by the winners? Well, this book shows the other side of the American history you probably learned in high school. It covers a lot of material—beginning with the arrival of Columbus and ending during the War on Terror—but the information is engrossing, and you could read one section at a time so as not to get overwhelmed.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (831 pages)
So you’ve already seen the show and think you don’t need to read the book? Think again! Like any book-to-television adaptation, characters and plotlines from Game of Thrones were altered, combined or just outright sacrificed for the HBO version. For more drama, suspense and steamy scenes, try the written version while you wait for the final season.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (864 pages)
It is January 1866. Twelve men meet at a hotel in New Zealand to discuss local events and are soon joined by a literal golddigger (a Scottish man seeking his fortune in gold). It takes more than 800 pages to explore the stories of these 13 men, but Catton packs them with action and mystery to keep you interested throughout.
The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund (880 pages)
Did you know there was such thing as a nearly-900-page page-turner? Perhaps it helps that The Crow Girl was originally released as a trilogy in Sweden, but the benefit of reading one huge tome in the U.S. is that you won’t be left with any cliffhangers. Warning: This detective novel about a serial killer contains graphic scenes of sexual violence.