The best long books worth your time

Our edit of the best big books over 600 pages, perfect for curling up with over a lazy weekend.


Immersing ourselves in a good book can help us escape into another world for a few hours, or in some cases days or weeks. Big books can be daunting, but when you fall in love with a fictional world, sometimes even 600 pages or more doesn't seem enough. Here, we’ve curated our edit of the best long books and trilogies worth spending time on.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

672 pages

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary is the plain, pious, overlooked middle sister. But in The Other Bennet Sister, Janice Hadlow shines a light on Mary. She’s an introvert in a family of extroverts, a disappointment to her mother and with little in common with her sisters. As she watches her sisters marry, it seems Mary is destined to be single forever. But will Mary find there is hope for her after all? This life-affirming, uplifting story of a woman finding her place in the world is a wonderfully warm and witty homage to Jane Austen.

Buy The Other Bennet Sister


The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

912 pages

It took eight years but the time is nigh for the finale to The Wolf Hall Trilogy. Having successfully negotiated his way through the perils of Anne Boleyn's execution, Thomas Cromwell must now face new plots from abroad and a nation spoiling for upheaval. And the ever-menacing prospect of falling out of favour with an increasingly temperamental king.

Buy The Mirror and the Light


Tombland by C. J. Sansom

880 pages

If you're wondering how to fill the Tudor-shaped hole in your life once you've (finally) finished The Mirror and the Light, you can find your fix of 16th century court intrigue and religious conflict here. The latest instalment in C. J. Sansom’s bestselling Shardlake series begins two years after the death of Henry VIII and sees tenacious lawyer Matthew Shardlake investigate a string of murders while navigating the chaos and rebellion rampant in the wake of King Edward VI's succession.

Buy Tombland


The Catholic School by Edoardo Albinati

1280 pages

This immersive novel creates a world of power, sex and violence, addressing issues of religion, family and masculinity. The Catholic School is based on the true story of the brutal rape and murder of two young women by three well-off young men who were former students of Rome's prestigious all-boys school, San Leone Magno, where the story is set. The case, which became known as the Circeo massacre, shocked the whole of Italy, exposing the dark underside of the country’s upper middle class.

Buy The Catholic School


Homeland by Fernando Arumburu

608 pages

This gripping epic novel follows the lives of best friends Miren and Bittori as they grow up and raise their families together in a small town in the north of Spain. Their lives are seemingly unaffected by the fraught politics of the region, until Bittori’s husband begins receiving threats from the terrorist organisation ETA, the same group which has recruited Miren’s son Joxe Mari. 

Buy Homeland


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

736 pages

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Little Life is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of love, friendship and the limits of human endurance. Essential reading.

Buy A Little Life


Underworld by Don DeLillo

832 pages

DeLillo offers a panoramic vision of America defined by the overarching conflict of the Cold War in this masterful and awe-inspiring story of a search for meaning, survival and connection in the toughest of times.

Buy Underworld


The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

848 pages
The second novel from Eleanor Catton and winner of the Man Booker Prize, The Luminaries is a gripping mystery set in the 1800s which was described by The Observer as 'a dazzling feat of a novel'.

Buy The Luminaries


The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St Aubyn

880 pages

Acclaimed for their wit and humanity, this magnificent series of novels  in which Patrick Melrose battles to survive the savageries of his childhood and lead a self-determined life  is one of the most important literary achievements of our time.

Buy The Patrick Melrose Novels


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

880 pages

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch is an odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power that combines unforgettably vivid characters with thrilling suspense.

Buy The Goldfinch


Middlemarch by George Eliot

904 pages

Lauded by many critics as the finest novel in English, Middlemarch provides a complex look at English provincial life at a crucial historical moment and contains an exploration of some of the most potent myths of Victorian literature.

Buy Middlemarch


2666 by Roberto BolaƱo

912 pages

Considered a sensation on publication and hailed across the world as a masterpiece, 2666 is a terrifying and awe-inspiring classic novel that has come to define one of Latin America's greatest writers.

Buy 2666


The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy

1056 pages

Cormac McCarthy’s award-winning, bestselling trio of novels chronicles the coming-of-age of two young men in the south west of America and stands as a fierce elegy for the American frontier. All the Pretty HorsesThe Crossing and Cities of the Plain are beautiful and brutal stories filled with sorrow and humour.

Buy The Border Trilogy


Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

1100 pages

Touching on topics such as addiction, recovery, tennis and even Quebec separatism, Foster Wallace’s encyclopaedic bestseller is considered one of the best novels ever published.

Buy Infinite Jest


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1104 pages

A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth is Ken Follett's classic historical masterpiece.

Buy The Pillars of the Earth


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

1136 pages

A masterpiece of realism and illuminated by irresistible characters, Anna Karenina is among the best-loved of all novels, penetrating to the heart of the ruling class in Tsarist Russia.

Buy Anna Karenina


The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

1152 pages

Set in 1913, surrounding the seventieth jubilee of the accession of Emperor Franz Josef in Austria, The Man Without Qualities is part satire, part visionary epic and part intellectual tour de force.

Buy The Man Without Qualities


1Q84: The Complete Trilogy by Haruki Murakami

1328 pages

Weighing in at a staggering 1328 pages, Murakami’s dystopian trilogy 1Q84 features a plot built around a mystical cult and two long-lost lovers who are drawn into a distorted version of reality.

Buy 1Q84: The Complete Trilogy


A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

1504 pages

At its core, a love story: the tale of Lata - and her mother's - attempts to find her a suitable husband. At the same time, it is the story of India, newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis as a sixth of the world's population faces its first chance to map its own destiny.

Buy A Suitable Boy


In this episode of Book Break, Emma shares some of her favourite big books: