5 long reads for the Bank Holiday Weekend

17 May 2017

By The Window Seat

If you're looking for something to do for the upcoming Bank Holiday Weekend, you've come to the right place. We've listed 5 long books for you to sink your teeth into, guaranteed to make good use of that little bit of extra time.

If long books aren't your thing, our friends at Picador have listed 21 great novels under 200 pages so that you can finish many books this Bank Holiday.
 

Bleak House

Bleak House

At the court of Chancery, the interminable law suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce rolls on and on, encompassing so many diverse characters in its thrall like the fog that smothers the great city of London, including Esther Summerson, the heroine of the novel and one of Dickens' more feisty and characterful leading ladies. We are drawn in and fascinated by the complex set of relationships at all levels of society, from Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, cocooned in their stately home in Lincolnshire, to Jo, the crossing sweeper in the hell hole known as Tom-All-Alone's. In none of Charles Dickens' other novels is the canvas broader, the sweep more inclusive, the linguistic texture richer and the gallery of comic grotesques more extraordinary.

While Bleak House is a condemnation of the corruption at the heart of English society, it is also a love story and a murder mystery. And, it is wonderful entertainment. This is Charles Dickens' longest novel, with this edition coming in at 1288 pages.

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Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

With 1008 pages, you're sure to become invested in the characters and storyline. Bonus: there's a film adaptation that comes in at just under 4 hours long if you've finished the book and want more.

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Rasputin

Rasputin

Across 848 pages, Rasputin will leave you asking many questions:

• Was he really a horse thief and a hard-drinking ruffian in his youth? Was he a a devout Orthodox Christian, or was he in fact a just a fake holy man?
• Are the stories of his enormous sexual drive, debauchery, and drunken orgies true or simply a myth?
• How did he come to know the emperor and empress and to wield so much influence over them?
• What was the source of his healing power? Was Rasputin running the government in the final years of his life?

Drawing on major new sources hitherto unexamined by western historians, Douglas Smith’s book is be the definitive biography of this extraordinary figure for a generation.

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A Little Life

A Little Life

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.

This book is 737 pages and has been shortlisted for many awards, not least the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Awards.

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Perdido Street Station

Perdido Street Station

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians, junkies and whores. Now a stranger has come, with a pocketful of gold and an impossible demand, and inadvertently something unthinkable is released.

Soon the city is gripped by an alien terror - and the fate of millions depends on a clutch of outcasts on the run from lawmakers and crime-lords alike. The urban nightscape becomes a hunting ground as battles rage in the shadows of bizarre buildings. And a reckoning is due at the city's heart, in the vast edifice of Perdido Street Station. It is too late to escape.

This book comes in at 880 pages and there's good news: it's the first in a series so if you enjoy it, there's plenty more.

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Watch our #BookBreak video below for more information about these 5 long reads: