Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we have fun making bookish lists. I’m going off-topic this week, as I was beguiled by a tag the lovely Avalinah posted a while back. So it’s a Top Ten Tuesday / Big Book Tag cross-over!
The Big Book Tag was started by Ditsha at Bewitchingly Paranoid: what are the 5 biggest books you’ve read, and the 2 biggest on your TBR? As today is Tuesday, I’m going to switch this up to be the Top Ten Doorstops I’ve Read (and come back to the top ten doorstops on my TBR another day!)
I used to deliberately buy for bulk: doorstops were my jam because they would keep me reading a nice long time and I only rarely had the opportunity to buy (or borrow) new books. These days, drowning in unread books like any good bookworm with access to Amazon, doorstops are a luxury I rarely indulge in (also they’re heavy. Really heavy. So unless they’re on my Kindle, they get self-selected off my reading list because people can get really snarky when you drop a doorstop on their head on the train).
So, my all-time biggest reads were all tackled a while ago!
The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien (1200 pages)
I have the beautiful Alan Lee anniversary edition, one huge physical book that collects the whole story (I consider The Lord of the Rings a single book in multiple volumes – not a trilogy – making this the biggest single volume I think I’ve ever read* and still a beloved book).
IT – Stephen King (1093 pages)
My best friend at school was a huge King fan, and this was one of several that I borrowed (I don’t mind King, but I never loved him enough to buy any). I barely remember it, but I suspect my beloved will drag me to see the movie.
Child of the Phoenix – Barbara Erskine (1086 pages)
I have a soft spot for the absurd historical / time-travelling supernatural potboiler romances of Barbara Erskine, and for years this was my favourite. Welsh princesses, Scottish kings, Edward bloody Longshanks, magic, destiny and frankly stalker-ish eternal love. Most likely to reread.
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell (1011 pages)
I read almost everything on my grandma’s bookshelf, including Gone With the Wind (much to Mum’s surprise, I watched the movie one Sunday too) and shamelessly enjoyed it. Scarlett O’Hara is an indefensible piece of work, but North & South set me up to read Civil War books as a teen. I blame Patrick Swayze.
Lord of Chaos – Robert Jordan (1011 pages)
Thankfully there’s no way The Wheel of Time can ever be collected in a single edition, given not one but two of the twelve volumes clock in at over 1000 pages (the other is The Shadow Rising at 1006 pages, which I’m going to mention here but not give a separate place on this list). So The Wheel of Time is officially the longest multi-volume single story I’ve read (Deverry covers multiple stories), and Lord of Chaos is also one of the longest single books. Yikes.
The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley (1009 pages)
Another teenage favourite, as I was already entranced by all things Arthurian and this doorstop gave me days of magic, paganism and romance to go with it. It’s still on the shelf, although the revelations concerning Zimmer Bradley make me unlikely to revisit it (tw for link: abuse).
The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss (994 pages)
If anything, I liked the second volume of Rothfuss’s doorstop trilogy even less than the first (I’m not a fan. They were fine. But I only read them because I was bored, and they didn’t help), as his teenage hero goes on being unfeasibly good at stuff and inexplicably attractive to women who should know better.
Kushiel’s Avatar – Jacqueline Carey (967 pages)
Now here’s a set of doorstops that I still love (I’m not sure any of the Kushiel books come in under 700 pages), although Avatar remains the one I’m least likely to revisit as I found the section in Darsanga unbearable – leaving me wanting to simply put the book down and walk away (I didn’t, but I felt every one of those 967 pages). I reread Dart and Chosen regularly.
The Witching Hour – Anne Rice (965 pages)
I always preferred the Mayfair Witches to the Vampire books when it came to Anne Rice, but they don’t remotely stand up to a critical reread. Problematic in half a dozen ways and palatial home to Basil Exposition, this is a classic and I retain a soft spot for it – but it read far better in my late teens than late thirties.
The Time Traveler’s Almanac – Ann & Jeff Vandermeer (960 pages)
There was a 4-volume edition of this anthology, which probably tells you everything you need to know about just how big it is. I spent months reading it, dipping in and out. There are some brilliant stories here (and some others), and it really can prop open any door you care to chance it on.
Shockingly, this means George R R Martin doesn’t quite make the list – I wouldn’t have put money on that (but A Dance With Dragons clocks in at 959, narrowly missing out on a place)!
However, some of the physically biggest books on my shelf are collected editions, which I’ve excluded as they’re not a single book. I used to love collected editions (2 / 3 / 5 / all the books for the price of one!) – but now they’re another great way to get in trouble on the train. Individual volumes please! However, if I included these, the following would sneak onto the list too:
The Black Jewels – Anne Bishop (1204 pages)
Back when there were only three books, there was a collected edition. It’s an irritated softcover, so it’s just really floppy and unwieldy. This may have contributed to my general discontent with the books, which I found self-indulgent and frequently unpleasant in their choice of tropes.
The Dragonlance Chronicles – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (1032 pages)
Another annoying floppy soft cover that’s too big to carry. I had a big soft spot for these books in my teens, but they didn’t stand up to an adult re-read. It’s fun reading about someone else’s D&D campaign, but honestly pretty much everything from character to prose is just awful.
Orthe: the Chronicles of Carrick V – Mary Gentle (954 pages)
This is a proper paperback, which makes it all the more of a doorstop – but it’s one of my favourite reads of recent years. It also occurs to me that it’s becoming more horrifyingly relevant by the day. May be time for a reread…
What are the biggest books you’ve ever read?