Everyone knows that summer is the season of reading, and while most people are satisfied filling their TBR lists with the hottest new beach reads and recently released paperbacks, I like to take the seasonal opportunity to truly challenge myself. That's why this year, I am buckling down and making it my goal to finish some of these long-ass books worth the space in your beach bag this summer. Five hundred pages may sound like a lot, but if I can spend an entire Saturday binge-watching old episodes of The O.C. for the third time, I think I can find time to get through a new book.
There are few feelings as satisfying as finishing a long book. When you crack open that cover to the first page and feel in your hands the weight of the story that you have left to read, it can seem intimidating, maybe even overwhelming. But once you dive into a long book and really start reading, that feeling of unease morphs into one of comfort, because you know you have time to settle into the story, get to know its characters and setting, and truly enjoy its arch. By the time you get to the last page, it feels bittersweet, as if you've won a race you weren't sure you could finish at first, but now, one you never want to end.
Sure, reading long books is a time commitment, but one that's filled with enjoyment, excitement, inspiration, and so much more. What better way to pass the summer days then getting lost in that kind of story?
From exciting historical fiction to thrilling sci-fi and everything in between, here are 13 long-ass books (all over 450 pages) you should actually read this summer. Trust me, every last page is worth it.
'New York 2140' by Stanley Robinson
From New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a new and unforgettable adventure to the future. In New York 2140, the sea levels have risen and the city is mostly underwater, save for the skyscrapers which have transformed into bustling communities of their own, complete with market traders, police investigators, scavengers, lawyers, and more. But when two squatters go missing, the new world is thrown into chaos as characters lives become intertwined in unexpected ways. A thoroughly researched and unflinching novel about the threats to our environment, New York 2140 is not without its flaws, but its 600-plus pages are worth wading through in the end.
Page Count: 624, Hardcover
'The Scribe of Siena' by Melodie Winawer
A stunning work of historical fiction, Melodie Winawer's debut novel may be on the longer side, but it's story of love, science, politics, and time-travel is worth every last word. In The Scribe of Siena, successful yet overworked neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato travels to Siena to settle the estate of her recently deceased brother when, among his things, she uncovers a 700-year-old conspiracy and a centuries-old painting of her own face that transports her back in time to the year 1347 A.D. Stuck in medieval Siena, Beatrice must find the artist at the center of the mystery and escape the city before the plague arrives and traps her in history forever.
Page Count: 464, Hardcover
'The Frozen Hours' by Jeff Shaara
In his latest bestselling historical fiction novel, celebrated author Jeff Shaara turns his attention to the Korean War. The Frozen Hours is a sweeping tale of the American and Chinese troops who faced each other during one of the bloodiest confrontations of the war: the Battle of the Chosin River. Told from several points of view on both sides of the conflict, this novel's thorough research, rich descriptions and powerful prose brings history to life on the page.
Page Count: 560, Hardcover
'Anne Boleyn, A King's Obsession' by Alison Weir
You may think you know all there is to know about Henry VIII's most scandalous relationship, but in the second installment of her Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir brings Anne Boleyn to life in wholly new and vibrant ways. A King's Obsession traces Anne's life, from the time she was a child sent to live at the royal court of the Netherlands, to her teenage years spent soaking up the most progressive writing and thinking about gender inequality, to her infamous affair with the King of England that would be her ultimate undoing. An intriguing, thought-provoking novel that shows the side of Anne Boleyn readers have never seen before, A King's Obsession is a worthwhile read for anyone who loves drama, royalty, history, and seriously powerful women.
Page Count: 560, Hardcover
'The Shadow Land' by Elizabeth Kostova
Travel to Bulgaria to uncover the painful history of the country's past with Elizabeth Kostova's The Shadow Land, a suspenseful novel packed with mystery, emotion, heartache, and hope. After her brother dies, Alexandra Boyd, a young American woman, travels abroad in hopes of soothing her broken heart only to discover there are many ghosts haunting the Eastern European city she has chosen: Sofia, Bulgaria. It's only when she accidentally finds herself in possession of someone else's urn filled with ashes and sets out to return them to their rightful owner that she truly begins to uncover the fractured and dangerous truth about the country's mysterious past. A truly sweeping novel that will suck you from the very first page and leave you frantically turning until the end, The Shadow Land is a rich and affecting story you won't soon forget.
Page Count: 497, Hardcover
'Pachinko' by Min Jin Lee
Buckle in, readers, because Min Jin Lee's national bestseller is one seriously long, seriously page-turning novel. A multi-generational story about a poor Korean immigrant family living in Japan, Pachinko is a moving book about one woman's decision to leave her home and everything she knew behind for a chance at a new life behind after discovering she is pregnant by her married lover, and the dramatic set of consequences that would follow over the years to come. A powerful story about choice and destiny, history and family, Pachinko may take a while to get through, but once you finish, you'll be ready to dive in all over again.
Page Count: 752, Hardcover
'Magpie Murders' by Anthony Horowitz
Clocking in at just under 500 pages, Anthony Horowitz's latest crime fiction will pull you in and never let you go. In Magpie Murders, editor Susan Ryeland can't help but wonder if there's some fact in the fictitious manuscript her bestselling novelist just turned in. Overflowing with jealousy, greed, and violence, the pages read more like a confession than a story, and Susan can't help but try and can't help but search for the truth. A murder mystery novel inside a crime novel, Magpie Murders is a unique and intriguing book that will have hold your attention until the very last page.
Page Count: 496, Hardcover
'The Weight of Ink' by Rachel Kadish
Travel to London, now and then, in Rachel Kadish's panoramic new novel, The Weight of Ink. In it, a sick but determined historian, Helen Watt, is called upon to evaluate a hidden stash of 17th century Jewish documents discovered during a home renovation. When Helen realizes their value, she teams up with Aaron Levy, a smart but stalled graduate student, and the two embark on an epic journey to uncover the identity of the documents' scribe, Aleph. A riveting story about identity, race, history, and love, The Weight of Ink is a remarkable work of historical fiction that will pull at the heartstrings of every reader.
Page Count: 576, Hardcover
'Strange the Dreamer' by Laini Taylor
One of the year's most talked about books, Lani Taylor's Strange the Dreamer is the kind of long novel you can really sink your teeth into. In the fantastical world of Weep, a place closer to a nightmare than a dream, secrets are as abundant as ghosts, and one orphan-turned-librarian is determined to unlock them all. He's been dreaming about the dark and mythical land since he was a child, and now that he's finally discovered it, he won't stop until he's saved everything, and, more importantly, everyone there. A rich and evocative epic fantasy, Strange the Dreamer will draw you in from the first paragraph, but it will never quite let you go.
Page Count: 545, Hardcover
'Feversong' by Karen Marie Moning
An epic conclusion to the breathtaking Fever series, Feversong is filled with all of the action, adventure, and emotion that made the previous books so addicting. In this last installment, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to regain control and restore peace, but there is still a great evil threatening everything they hold dear: the Sinsar Dubh, an evil book that has possessed Mac's body and won't let go. Can they figure out how to destroy the book without destroying Mac or her soul? Readers will be frantically turning pages to find out.
Page Count: 560, Hardcover
'The Patriots' by Sana Krasikov
A lush historical novel filled with romance, drama, and a whole lot of heart, Sana Krasikov's The Patriots is a moving story that is as emotionally rendering as it is well researched. Told through a variety of voices over the course of 80 years and three generations, this expansive novel follows one family's journey from Brooklyn in the Great Depression to Russia and back again several times. Well written and rich with vivid detail, you'll want to eat up every page of this sprawling family saga.
Page Count: 561, Hardcover
'The Force' by Don Winslow
Go deep inside the force with Don Winslow's remarkable new cop novel, The Job, an intense and epic novel of greed, violence, race, justice, and redemption. Denny Malone has always been a good cop, but being good isn't the same as being clean. Like the rest of his stellar yet crooked crew, he has gotten his hands dirty before, but this time, things are different: the Feds know, and they'll squeeze Denny for everything he's got. With his already precarious world turned upside down, Denny must decide who to protect, who to sell out, and what, if anything, is worth saving in the end.
Page Count: 496, Hardcover
'House of Spies' by Daniel Silva (July 11)
From celebrated spy novelist Daniel Silva comes another masterful story of danger, intrigue, and adventure. In House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back, this time to track down the people responsible for one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history. Along with his team, Allon races through the streets of London all the way to the south of France, where they meet an unsavory pair of less-than-upright citizens who just may be the key to winning the war or terror. An electrifying story that has everything Silva fans have come to love and expect — high stakes excitement, action-packed drama, compelling characters — House of Spies is one of this summer's must-reads.
Page Count: 544, Hardcover