Top Ten Tuesday: dedication to the cause

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday is was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, we’re talking about the longest books we’ve read…

This week we’re meant to be talking about the longest books we’ve ever read, but I did that last year – and I’ve only read one of the longest books that were still on my TBR in the year and a bit since, so revisiting that topic won’t offer much excitement! Instead, I thought I’d find out what the ten longest books I’ve read in the past year are – and how long (or not) they were.

Turns out that they were mostly only half the length of the longest books I’ve ever read, but I’ve got a new respect for just how many pages I packed in last year. It also turns out that once you get started on a series with one long book, you’re likely committed to reading several more: so I’m only allowing each series of doorstops as one place in the top ten!


The Fifth Season – N K Jemisin | 496 pages

Book cover: The Fifth Season - N K Jemisin (a close up illustration of a decorative stone carving)Jemisin’s multi-award-winning classic knocked my socks off. I STILL haven’t recovered from the intellectual and emotional impact of this book. It’s a heart-stopping scream of rage and a powerful call for empathy all in one, craftily constructed. The end of the world has never been so arresting.


Under the Pendulum Sun – Jeannette Ng | 500 pages

Book cover: Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeanette Ng (purple hued, woman in fabulously spiky dress)Take one part Gothic literature, one part Victorian missionaries, one part properly wicked Fae. Pour in an obsessive quantity of religion and a dash – just a dash – of whimsy. Stir. Steam. Savour, and await the nightmares. One of my 2017 favourites, and our Subjective Chaos fantasy award winner.


The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters | 508 pages

Book cover: The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters (text on red background with small grey silhouette of a woman going up stairs)Who haunts Hundreds Hall? Are the Ayres cursed, or is there a rational explanation to their mounting misfortunes? I love Sarah Waters, so I settled on her chilling period ghost story as an early Spooktastic Read. It takes its time relentlessly cranking up the atmosphere from spooky start to horrifying finish, and I couldn’t put it down.


The Defiant Heir – Melissa Caruso | 515 pages

Book cover: The Defiant Heir - Melissa Caruso (a white bird silhouetted on a blue background, its tail suggesting a woman in a white ball gown)

The first two books of Caruso’s Swords and Fire trilogy are possibly my favourite fantasies of 2018 so far: engaging, passionate, thrilling and deeply satisfying. I adore the main characters and the world-building; I can see myself revisiting them for years to come as go-to comfort reads.


Book cover: A Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers | 519 pages

Yes, one of my longest reads of the year was a reread! Honestly, it might be called ‘a long way’ but it doesn’t feel like a long read – I am so in love with these characters and this setting. It’s a vibrant, feel-good romp.


Book cover: The Poppy War - R F Kuang (gloriously beautiful black and white illustration of an archer)The Poppy War – R F Kuang | 544 pages

Tied for fourth place is Rebecca Kuang’s devastating debut. I tore through this in a handful of days, but on reflection I shouldn’t be surprised it’s one of my longest reads this year as there’s just so much damn plot packed into it!


Book cover: The City of Brass - S A Chakraborty (minarets silhouetted against a carved door)The City of Brass – S A Chakraborty | 544 pages

Also just outside the top three is another spectacular debut: this time a middle-eastern fantasy of the politics and religion of the djinn. I was utterly absorbed by this book – the characters are as fascinating as the city itself, and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. I need book two.


Book cover: Persepolis Rising - James S A Corey (who would have guessed - it's a close up of a spaceship in flight)The Expanse – James S A Corey | 536, 538 and 608 pages

There’s no such thing as a short Expanse book (the clue is in the name), although they’re unputdownable potboilers so it really isn’t a problem. I paced myself on one volume per month for half a year, and I’ve been dying for book 8 ever since. DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING LIKE THAT.


Book cover: The Bitter Twins - Jen Williams (a dragon winding about the book title)The Winnowing Flame – Jen Williams | 544 and 624 pages

What would Hest do? Don’t ask, darling. Don’t ask. Another favourite fantasy series of the year (my god, it’s been a good year), Jen Williams cross-genre epic doesn’t come in bitesize instalments. I enjoy every moment in this doomed world with its fierce, indomitable protagonists and horrifying threats.


Book cover: Gnomon - Nick Harkaway (pieces of paper drifting against a black background; the outline of a shark fin in the centre)Gnomon – Nick Harkaway | 704 pages

Just inside the 12 month marker is a doorstop that was one of my Longest TBRs, sweeping all contenders aside to come top of my Recent Long Reads. Surveillance states, direct democracy, social media, religion, banking and more come in for the side-eye in this excellent multi-stranded paranoid thriller.


What long books have you read recently?