These 15 Classics Might Seem Intimidatingly Long — But You Should Definitely Read Them

Javier Pardina/Stocksy

If you feel like you haven't read anything particularly outstanding in a while, don't worry. I have 15 super-long classics that are definitely worth your time. Trust me, these books will give you plenty to dig into.

Classic novels can get a bad reputation for being overly long, boring, or difficult to read. Although it is true that some classics can be confusing for the modern-day reader, that's no reason to avoid older books entirely. Take it from someone who used to hate to read the classics, but fell head-over-heels for 19th-century literature — these books are phenomenal.

For the purposes of this list, I have selected no book published after 1969, which means that every single one of the titles below is at least 50 years old. Each is also greater than 500 pages in length, with many exceeding 800 or even 1,000 pages, so you'll have enough material to get you through several days of blissful reading — or one intense fugue. I've marked both the publication year and the page count below each book cover for you.

Check out the 15 super-long classics I think you should read below — they're perfect for your cozy winter reading:

'The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader' by Ida B. Wells

Page count: 624

Year: 1885-1927

Collecting writings from antiracist journalist Ida B. Wells, The Light of Truth contains her early writings, as well as articles from her career as an established author.

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'Middlemarch' by George Eliot

Page count: 810

Year: 1871

Set in the eponymous small town in the late 1820s and early 1830s, Middlemarch weaves its way through the lives of the town's residents, which include the pious Dorothea, who marries a much-older minister — only to find herself falling in love with his nephew.

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'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy

Page count: 972

Year: 1877

In this novel by War and Peace author Leo Tolstoy, the wife of a Russian politician falls in love with a dashing military man, an affair with whom puts her whole family in jeopardy.

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'The Tale of Genji' by Murasaki Shikibu

Page count: 1,155

Year: 1008

A sprawling novel published just after the turn of the 11th century, The Tale of Genji follows the titular prince as he navigates court intrigue and romance in Heian-era Japan.

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'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing

Page count: 635

Year: 1962

In this novel, a writer chronicles her life in four different, color-coded notebooks, until she must connect their varying narratives in a meaningful way.

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'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexandre Dumas

Page count: 1,179

Year: 1844

After he is wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 15 years, Edmond Dantès escapes, and vows revenge against those who put him away. He disguises himself as the Italian Count of Monte Cristo to infiltrate their society circles.

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'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë

Page count: 590

Year: 1847

In Charlotte Brontë's most famous novel, a young governess falls in love with her employer, only to find that he harbors a dark secret — a wife he keeps locked in the attic.

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'Living My Life' by Emma Goldman

Page count: 1,028

Year: 1931

This expansive memoir from Lithuanian-American feminist activist and anarchist Emma Goldman covers her life in Europe, the U.S., Russia, and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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'Moby-Dick' by Herman Melville

Page count: 720

Year: 1851

This whale of a novel — whomp whomp — centers on narrator Ishmael as he sails with an insane sea captain bent on revenge against the eponymous white beast.

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'Christy' by Catherine Marshall

Page count: 512

Year: 1967

Well-known by Southern readers and anyone who enjoys feel-good stories about pioneer women, Christy is a novelization of the author's mother's youth, which was spent working as a teenage schoolteacher in a poor, Appalachian village.

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'The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson' by Emily Dickinson

Page count: 716

Year: 1890

From one of the most beloved poets in the American literary canon, this collection contains all of Emily Dickinson's — mostly short — works of poetry.

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'Musashi' by Eiji Yoshikawa

Page count: 970

Year: 1935

This serialized novel traces 12 years in the life of The Book of Five Rings author Musashi Miyamoto, who devoted his life to the bushidō code.

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'Kristin Lavransdatter' by Sigrid Undset

Page count: 1,144

Year: 1920

Originally published as three separate novels, Kristin Lavransdatter follows its eponymous, 14th-century heroine, who defies her family's wishes to marry the man she loves.

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'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' by Anne Brontë

Page count: 542

Year: 1848

The better-known of Anne Brontë's two novels, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall tells the story of Helen Graham, a married woman on the run from her good-for-nothing husband, who lives under an assumed name and paints to support herself.

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'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison

Page count: 581

Year: 1952

Ralph Ellison's National Book Award-winning novel Invisible Man centers on an unnamed narrator, who is living off the mainstream radar as he tells the story of his life, from humble beginnings in the South, to his work as the leader of the mysterious Brotherhood.

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