Big Books And Deserted Islands

11 Nov Big Books And Deserted Islands

Are you ever somewhere and wish you were somewhere else? It doesn’t always have to be that you are somewhere bad, but rather that you’d simply rather be somewhere else.

Since I feel like I overcomplicated what I was trying to say, I’ll say it in layman’s terms:

I’d. Always. Rather. Be. In. A. Cozy. Spot. Reading.

There, no there’s no confusion about what I meant to say.

So, aside from that thought, other thoughts or scenarios associated with reading sometimes pop into my head.

One such one:

If I was going to be stuck on an island, what books would I bring?

I don’t know the duration of being stuck or any other specifics, only that I’d have to pick a few books (and no Kindle-because there’d be no way to charge it once it finally died).

Right off the top of my head I’m not sure what books I’d bring. But-I do know that I’d bring big (long) books. I’d want them to last-in the event I’m stuck for a good while.

This got me thinking more and that produced a theme for this week:

This week will be about books that I’ve been wanting to read that are on the long side. Books that I push to the side because I feel their length is, well, lengthy.

There’s something about a book that steps over the 4-500 or so page mark. I can’t say the physical size is hard to hold, because often times it’s on my Kindle, although all the books this week are in traditional editions. For some reason it’s easier for me to commit to three 300 page books versus one 900 page book.

Any thoughts? Agree, disagree?

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne is the first long book I would bring on my island stay. Every time I come across this book, I find myself thinking about how much I love this title. There’s something about hearts, invisible, and furies that appeals to me. As in, we are all walking around with these huge things or thoughts in our hearts, that mean so much, yet they are invisible to the multitude of people we encounter every day. We all just go about doing the things that need to be done in order to keep life going in a somewhat orderly fashion, meanwhile we have these (at times) raging or intense things that we think about at the same time, but kind of brush them aside for the sake of everything else.

If you aren’t familiar with John Boyne, he is also the author of The Boy in Striped Pajamas.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies was published in 2017 to much acclaim. I’ve flipped open and read a few pages and enjoyed what I read, but then put it aside for something a little shorter. It’s not longest “big book” out there by any means, coming in at 567 pages, but it is still on the long side. I’ve only heard great things about this book. Most recently, my neighbor’s granddaughter, who is a huge bookworm (Hi, Katie) was raving about this book.

Below is the Amazon synopsis:

• Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more •

I know many of you have probably read this book. What do you think? Should it get pushed to my short-short list vs. just the short list?

“It’s not easy losing someone,” she said. “It never goes away, does it?” “The Phantom Pain, they call it,” I said. “ -John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies

  • Isobel Necessary
    Posted at 02:20h, 12 November Reply

    I enjoyed “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” when it came out, but I didn’t know anything about “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” until I read your post. It’s an excellent title, I completely agree.
    On the subject of “big books” I can say that I always hesitate about them. There’s something daunting about investing time into just one book rather than racing through two or three smaller volumes, and I sometimes wonder whether cuts could have been made. Surely after a certain point there’s no way all the passages can really be adding to readers’ understanding and enjoyment of the story? Surely there’s a maximum length for a novel, after which the subplots become so detailed they could have had a book of their own? Or maybe I’m wrong.
    I’ve hopes of reading “War and Peace” one day, too.

  • the most constant
    Posted at 11:45h, 12 November Reply

    Well said. Not that I necessarily want to to just read tons of books just to read them-I mean-I want to read a lot of books, but I want them to be of quality too! I agree about subplots as well. I wish you the best of luck with W&P!

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