26 Mar Good Things Come In Threes
Are most of you holed up with books and a blanket? I certainly hope so! This is the perfect time to start those giant books you otherwise push to the back of your TBR list.
It’s easy to let other things take over your mind right now—and it’s totally understandable, but you can’t constantly allow your mind to be bombarded with things that are mostly out of your control.
If you are quarantined, do what you can do to be safe and then try and relax a little. Your mind and body needs this. Stress, physically and mentally wears you down.
So-thinking of longer books to commit to, which are on your list? Below are three big books I have wanted to read for a long time:
📌 The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. The only introduction I’ve had to Boyne is the movie based upon The Boy In Striped Pajamas. At the time I had no idea it was based upon a novel. The movie was intense and at the time I was watching it I had just had my first child, so it affected me in a way that made me not want to read the book (after finding out it was a book) afterwards. THIF comes in at 717 pages.
📌 Oh, The Stand. I’ve wanted to read this since I was born. Well, maybe not that long, but it has been a long time. As much as I love SK, the length of The Stand is why I have not read it yet. I have it on my Kindle since it is so large and have read a chapter or two. It is attention-grabbing from the start. Perhaps with everything that is going on this might not be the best long book to read right now, since it revolves around a pandemic-like hysteria. Then again, maybe it’s the perfect book to read. You decide. TS rings in at 1153 pages.
📌 Maybe it’s the pretty cover of Anna Karenina? This whopper by Leo Tolstoy grabbed my attention many years ago when this edition was released. Since then a few friends have read it, but I have not. Even if you’ve not read it or had the desire to, you may be familiar with the opening sentence:
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Either way, now you know. AK is 964 pages long.
Now that I’ve shared three long books that I’d like to get started on, here are three long books I’ve read and would recommend to you:
📌 My introductory Wally Lamb read was She’s Come Undone. It was many years ago when Oprah featured it as her first (I think?) book club selection. SCU was a great read, which is what prompted me to pick up I Know This Much Is True, which is about two brothers. My sister and I read this book together and both us really enjoyed it. IKTMIT is 897 pages.
📌 I have read and liked all three of Donna Tartt’s books, all of which are fairly long. The Goldfinch is my favorite. Some would argue that all three of her books could be cut down a few hundred pages, for what its worth, I would agree regarding The Secret History, but to each their own. I’ve yet to see the movie, but I would definitely like to. The Goldfinch was a very visual book for me, which is one of the reasons it is my favorite of hers. The Little Friend by Tartt was my second favorite. TG is 780 pages.
📌 11/22/63 by Stephen King is wonderful. It is a book I would recommend to those who have never read anything by him and may be leery. It isn’t scary, but it does feature time travel/portals. I like scary, I’m not particularly fond of portals and time travel, they just feel hokey to me. But-that is why SK is a master. He writes a historical fictional story featuring time travel and it feels as real as anything. Obviously by the title, this story surrounds the time when JFK was assassinated, so if you like historical fiction with a bit of an interesting twist, try this one. 11/22/63 is 867 pages.
As I was compiling my book lists for this post I came across many other long books that others enjoyed. So my next three for you are three long books I had either not heard of or had not thought about reading until now.
📌 Body and Soul by Frank Conroy. Here is the Amazon synopsis:
As a boy, Claude Rawlings looks up through the grated window of his basement apartment to watch the world go by. Poor, lonely, supported by a taxi-driver mother whose eccentricities spin more and more out of control, he faces the terrible task of growing up on the margins of life, destined to be a spectator of that great world always hurrying out of reach. But there is an out-of-tune piano in the small apartment, and in unlocking the secrets of its keys, as if by magic, Claude discovers himself. He is a musical prodigy.
Body & Soul is the story of a young man whose life is transformed by a gift. The gift is not without price—the work is relentless, the teachers exacting—but the reward is a journey that takes him to the drawing rooms of the rich and powerful, private schools, a gilt-edged marriage, and Carnegie Hall. Claude moves through this life as if he were playing a difficult composition, swept up in its drama and tension, surprised by its grace notes. Music, here, becomes a character in its own right, equaled in strength only by the music of Frank Conroy’s own unmistakable and true voice.
Did you happen to notice the “ampersand” on the cover is really a treble clef? I didn’t until after I read what it was about and then looked at the cover again. This book isn’t as long as some of the others, but it did make several “long book” lists. It is 462 pages.
📌 IQ84 by Haruki Murakami is a book I have heard of many times over. Honestly I’ve never been drawn to his stories. Any time I’ve read a synopsis I kind of think, “meh.” As I kept seeing this one come up, I gave the synopsis another go, this time it peaked my interest a bit. This might be the perfect time to venture from your comfort zone. Although I haven’t read any of his books, I am a proponent of reading far and wide. Choose crazy, out there books, find stuff that might sound weird and different. That’s how you learn, that’s how your mind broadens. And quite contradictory, when you read wide, you become closer and more connected with those across the planet, making it feel a little smaller and maybe a bit homier.
The IQ84 Amazon synopsis is below:
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 – “Q” is for “question mark”. A world that bears a question.
Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
IQ84 is 1332 pages.
📌 Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin caught my eye because it revolves around Abraham Lincoln, who I find interesting, even though I haven’t read a lot about him. In fact, the last book I read or partly read about Lincoln was the fiction book, Lincoln on the Bardo by George Saunders. I not only don’t recommend that book, but it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever partly read. Saying that, TOR sounds like it will more than make up for Bardo. Below is the TOR Amazon synopsis:
May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.
Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded was the result of a character that had been forged by life experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because hepossessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
This capacity enabled President Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to preserve the Union and win the war.
Team of Rivals is 945 pages.
The last three books I’d like to share are books that when I started to get this blog idea together, were on my radar to read. I had just received all three from Overdrive and was itching to read them. As I type these words to you, I have finished reading two of them. All three are average in length and have been released recently. I’m not going to put a synopsis for these because most likely you are familiar with them.
📌 Greenwood by Michael Christie. I haven’t read yet.
📌 In Five Years by Rebecca Searle. I loved The Dinner List by her, but I think I liked this one better. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
📌 Recipe For a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. Aside from the story itself, I loved that it featured food recipes (especially the very last one) and quotes about marriage from the early 1900s-to 1940-50s. It’s so interesting how much has changed in that realm of life. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Happy Reading 📚
“Shall I tell you what sociology teaches us about the human race? I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. Show me a man or woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call “society”. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.” —Stephen King, The Stand
“The thought process can never be complete without articulation.” —Stephen King, The Stand