I don’t know about you but when I see a long book (over 500 pages) it can seem a little overwhelming. But, as I have looked back over the books I have read and loved, I was surprised by the length of some of these books. It is amazing how a well-written book can be closer to 1000 pages and you never notice.
We made a list of our favorite long books. We have classics, fantasy, historical fiction and more. We don’t think any of these books feel long when you are reading them- unless you choose to read a hard-back. If that is the case, you can definitely skip your arms if you go to the gym.
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Long Classic Books You Will Love
I am a HUGE detective story lover and no one does detective stories better than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes’ ability to solve the crime is fascinating. His observations are astute and I can never, ever guess who committed the crime. Again, love all the various adaptions of this series, but Sherlock on the BBC is my absolute favorite. (Narrated by Stephen Fry – the British narrator of the Harry Potter series and Mycroft Holmes in one of the adaptations.)
The first time I read this book was actually before I saw the movie Shawshank redemption. I read it a bunch of times and loved it. I did not realize, however, that it was an abridged version.
When I was in University, I embarked on a journey to read the unabridged version of this book. I was so amazed at the brilliance and detail that is has been a favorite ever since.
Edmund Dantès is thrown into the Chateau D’if for a crime that he did not commit. There, he meets a fellow prisoner who teaches him within the confines of their cells before telling him of a treasure. Dantès escapes and seeks his revenge. As the classics go, this one is epic!
The only Charles Dickens book I’ve ever read and was recently nominated for PBS’s Great American Read. The story features orphan Pip who comes into an unexpected fortune. His life is changed forever when he becomes a man of leisure and meets beautiful but aloof Estella. It’s a great tale that could just as easily have been set in modern-day London.
I read this MASSIVE text for fun when I was a sophomore in college. It took me an entire semester but it was worth it. Dostoevsky’s classic features a mystery, multiple love triangles, and well, brother relationships. It’s a SUPER complex book but it’s seriously worth it.
Epic Fantasy Books Over 500 pages
House of Earth and Blood is the first in a new series by Sarah J. Maas, of ACOTAR fame. It’s an urban fantasy – which is new to me.
There were skyscrapers, cellphones, and video surveillance, but also fairies, werewolves, angels, demons, and witches with history and power. It was a wild ride.
My initial turn off of too many names/places/tribes/species types was quickly overcome by the insane world-building. I cannot wait for the next book to come out.
This book started so strong for me, I was completely enraptured with this world. As the story continued, I found the story changed tones. What was once a hopeful story, slowly became a story of unreachable love.
200 years ago Weep was cut off from the world so much so that nobody can even remember the city’s real name. When Lazio stars dreaming of a blue-skinned woman, he cannot forget her.
This YA fantasy has paranormal elements, warriors and magic. It is unlike any other.
I really enjoyed this book and the original story within the pages. I listened to the amazing audiobook and I loved to listen to the story the way that the story was intended to sound.
When magic disappeared from Orisha, Zelie’s world changed forever. When the king ordered all the maji killed, Zelie was left without a mother or magic. She is on a quest to find revenge and to bring magic back to Orisha.
It is hard to believe that this trilogy was published in 1954. This epic fantasy has definitely withstood the test of time. Hobbits and elves, humans and wizards join together in Middle-Earth to destroy a ring.
This is the ultimate story of the fight between good and evil and the fight to overcome the evil within.
If you love fantasy and have not read this book, it is an absolute must.
The Best Long Historical Fantasy Books
I went on a vampire kick this month and I loved this really creepy classic about a historians search for Dracula. The story is told in two timelines. One in which a young woman must decide if she is going to follow her father in his quest and the other told through her father’s stories and old journals.
This is a complicated history and a journey in a search for Vlad the Impaler while simultaneously trying to avoid the fate that most people meet when they get too close.
This book. So many people recommended it to me because of my love for Harry Potter. The writing style was Victorian, which fit the book’s time period but felt hard to read at times. The story, however, is full, complex and epic.
In nineteenth century England, people believe that magic has disappeared until Mr. Norrell reveals his powers. He then takes Jonathan strange as a student. But when Strange is drawn to darker magic, the two men develop a rivalry that can change history.
This is a dual timeline story about the invading Jacobites in 1708 that takes place at Slains Castle. A writer from the present decides to write a story about her ancestor from this time frame and begins to live the experience herself.
There is romance, ghostly memories, and a wonderful perspective of the famous Jacobite uprising we know from Outlander.
An alternative telling of the tale of King Arthur, featuring the Lady of the Lake, Paganism vs. Christianity, and an epic struggle for power.
Merlin and the Lady of the Lake practice pagan witchcraft, as they try to keep the old ways alive against the new religion gaining popularity, the choices they make for Arthur’s kingdom inspire the tale we know so well.
The mini-series adaptation of this book is wonderful too and well worth the watch!
If you love Outlander, The Mists of Avalon, or The Clan of the Cave Bear, then you will love this story. Set in Britain when Christianity is poised to become the religion of the country, a future queen swore to the old-ways is learning how to balance the needs of her people and her religion with the role she’s expected to play.
Meanwhile, her twin brother is training to be the man history knows as Merlin. The first in a new trilogy about Arthurian legend, I’m looking forward to the next book coming out in September.
Click for more Historical Fantasy Books!
Long Magical Realism Books
I don’t know how to begin to describe this book. This is NOTHING like All The Light We Cannot See and yet, I absolutely loved it. It is part historical fiction, part sci-fi and absolutely amazing.
The book is set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, Five hundred years later in a library in Idaho and in a spaceship traveling to a new planet sometime in the near future. Even while trying to describe this book, it does not seem to go together and yet, the story of Cloud Cuckoo Land (a story within the Novel) acts as the glue that brings the characters together. The end result is an amazing book with a very powerful message.
This is not an easy read but is well worth it. While technically it may not be magical realism- maybe more scientific realism, I had to include it in this list.
This masterful work by Kate Atkinson is family drama, historical fiction and magical realism all rolled into one fantastic book.
Ursula Todd is born one night in 1910 and dies before taking her first breath. She is born again on the same snowy night in 1910 as so the story continues. Ursula lives her lives over and over hoping that she can get it right and change her story.
Clare and Henry have an unusual love story. They’ve known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, but got married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one. You see, Henry is an adventurous librarian who inadvertently travels through time.
I adore how this story explores very real challenges that any couple faces. With the added time travel element, it become an unforgettable read.
While I realize there is only the loose librarian connection to this book list, Henry and Clare’s story is one of my all-time favorites and it shouldn’t be missed.
This is one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. It is so smart and so well written- the complexity of the plot line is mind-boggling and kept me absolutely entranced until the very last page.
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered every day at 11:00 PM. In order to escape Blackheath, Aiden Bishop must solve her murder. He will wake up every day for 8 days inhabiting a different host body.
Everything is explained and in hindsight is so clear but, will keep you guessing throughout the entire book. This is a murder mystery but with a twist, and a delightful one at that.
The book was brilliantly researched and had an amazing premise in which Jake Epping steps into a time hole to stop the assassination of Kennedy. Every time he leaves history, time resets itself. This means that if something does not go right, he can reset the clock and try again.
The historic details in this book were immaculate but, as much as everyone loved this book, I thought that it was much too long. You have to be prepared for almost 900 pages.
Love Magical Realism Books? We do too! That’s why we created this List of 30+ Magical Realism books.
Long Historical Fiction Books
Jonathan Frazen is back with this incredible book about a pastor and his family as they navigate who they are in the midsts of the tumultuous 70s.
As each character questions their relationship with their family, with god, and with their community at large, they also turn inward and try to remain true to themselves.
The depth of the characters is meticulous, the plot had me flipping the pages (which at 500 or so is saying something.) I can’t recommend this story enough. It’s truly wonderful.
The third and final installment in the Lilac Girls series, Sunflower Sisters focuses on the Civil War.
I found myself pondering how much easier it is as an American to look at WW1 and WW2 as distant history, but the Civil War makes me so uncomfortable to read about.
I like to think that’s the work I’ve been doing to learn the history of slavery that is at the root of this country’s origin and examine my own privilege.
I did love this story and I learned more about slavery in the border states during the war and just how complex that issue was for the union.
A young girl is abandoned on a ship headed to Australia. When she arrives, the only thing in her possession is a suitcase with some clothes and a book of fairy tales. The dock master and his wife adopt Nell and tell her the story of her arrival in Australia on her 21st birthday. She goes back to England on a quest to find her lost identity.
Unsuccessful, her granddaughter later takes up the search and tried to assemble the pieces of her grandmother’s mystery and unlock the secrets of her past.
For more books like these, check out our list of Kate Morton Books Ranked.
I’ve been enthralled with the Romanovs since I saw my first Faberge egg. While most of my reading has focused on the fall of the dynasty, I was intrigued by this story set after the reign of Peter the Great.
It was FASCINATING to see the cultural backdrop of Russia’s imperial court. I loved learning about the court intrigue and the ruthless way power changed hands.
This novel is an epic and heartbreaking saga of life in India. It is a story of love and friendship in an unnamed city in 1975. Four strangers who are fleeing the caste system try and escape their city when the government declares a State of Emergency. People come together and are ripped apart in this memorable book.
This is another book I read years ago that has stayed with me. I had never read anything like it and I have never read anything like it since.
This is the story of Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. The story starts in 1929 when Nitta is 9 years old when she is taken from her home to a geisha house. This is powerful and wonderful!
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time-period.
Long WWI Books Worth the Read
Thanks to William Morrow for my review copy. All opinions are my own. This is an incredible novel about the women of Smith College who went to help French war victims on the war front. The band of 15 women in this novel is based on the 18 real-life heroes of Smith College.
These ladies started from scratch to help those ravaged by war only to have the war come back and destroy the lands around them again. But they never faltered in their quest to help the war-torn villages of women and children impacted by the war. The book gives a well-rounded feeling of what these women needed to do to save the lands and the people. 5 stars.
I don’t know what took me so long to listen to this story. It was absolutely captivating and could not stop listening.
This dramatic story about 5 families before and during WWI was incredible. The way Follett wove all their stories together was dynamic and mesmerizing. The story was a little more battle and politics focused than most WWI stories I have read, but I loved learning new historical information.
This is a story that would be EXCELLENT for the men in your life too. Now if only I could get my husband to read.
Amazing (and Long) WWII Books
I’m not generally a huge non-fiction reader unless the topic is of particular interest to me. Having seen the Imitation Game and read quite a few non-fiction books about coding in war times, I thought this one would be interesting.
It was a truly fascinating read! I loved finding out about the trials and tribulations of the real-life heroes of the war.
This books was fascinating but SOOOOOOOOO long. It felt like I was listening to it for weeks on end and I think some of it could have been cut out for sure, but the writing was captivating and the story was fresh.
A lot has been written about WWII but this story focuses on the before. The years before WWII broke out, the people that tried to stop the atrocities and those that tried to prevent Hitler from coming to power.
It was so interested, and frankly scary, to see the slow slide of acceptance from the German people. It was also frightening to see the parallels that seem to be coming about today in America.
Thanks to William Morrow for my free review copy. All opinions are my own. Kate Quinn does it again with this story about 3 female code breakers working during WWII. Beth, Mab, and Osla’s stories each could have been their own book, instead, we got an epic tale of intertwining friendship with a spy mystery to boot!
Oh, and did I mention that Osla dates Prince Philip before he marries Queen Elizabeth II AND that part of the storyline takes place in the lead-up to the royal wedding?
This harrowing non-fiction book tells the stories of the Jewish female resistance members during WW2. These women have not been given nearly enough attention for their bravery, fearlessness, and sacrifice.
As Batalion explores the different experience each female operative goes through during the war, I had tears streaming down my face. The sheer gall of these women was inspiring to me, especially in light of the danger they were in if caught out.
I picked this up during International Holocaust day and I couldn’t put it down. A must-read for those looking for courage in the face of hatred.
This is a beautiful book that takes place in occupied France during the Second World War. It is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross as they try to survive the war.
When their stories converge it becomes a story that you will not soon forget. This winner of the Pulitzer Prize is obviously well-written but it is also a beautiful and readable book.
A gothic novel about a woman who returns to the castle to question the inhabitants her mother stayed with as a child ward during WWII, in a quest to discover the mysteries of her mother’s past.
I could not put this novel by Kate Morton down. It was so well-written and utterly fascinating to see what happened to children in England during the blitz.
Click for more amazing WWII Historical Fiction Books!
Celebrity Book Club Picks Over 500 Pages
October 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
Once again, Amor Towles writes an incredible, character driven-story that had me marveling at his writing ability.
The story is all about Emmett and his 8-year-old brother, Billy, and their quest to get to California to start a new life following the death of their father. Along for the ride are the scheming Duchess and his sidekick.
Their journey intertwines in this fast-moving character study of the 4 boys. It was a touch too long, but still a wonderful story from a gifted writer.
Wow. This is one of the best books I’ve listened to this year, and yes, I recommend it on audio for a few reasons.
First, the different narrators help tell this dual timeline story. Through one narrator, we learn about Ailey’s life as an African American woman in the 20th century. The other narrator tells the story of the female ancestors of Ailey’s going all the way back to her Indigenous, black, and white relatives from two centuries earlier.
Though Ailey and her ancestors, the weight of what it means to be black woman in America means. The sacrifices, injustices, struggles, and harrasments endured by Ailey and her kin in the present day and the past are explored with a depth so real, I forgot it was a fictional story at times.
The second reason this book is great on audio? It’s LONG. It clocks in at over 800 pages or almost 30hrs of audiobook time. The narrators sucked me in and those 30 hrs flew by.
I will say, this book made me consider my White Privilege in a way no non-fiction book could have. It’s a heavy story, but very worth the read.
I read this one because it was a Reese Witherspoon pick AND because I had heard wonderful things about it. Unfortunately, I read The Wife Between Us back in January so I completely predicted what was going to happen in this book. As with all thrillers, when the element of surprise is missing, it’s not as good a read, but I still found it to be enjoyable.
Love Celebrity Book Clubs? We do too! That’s why we created the Celebrity Book Club Hub
Epic Love Stories Over 500 Pages
How do we love Outlander? We cannot count the ways. The ninth book in the series, Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone, will be released on November 23, 2021.
This epic story begins in 1945 when Claire Randall and her husband take a second honeymoon to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate being reunited after the war. When Claire touches one of the standing stones, she is transported to 1743.
This is when the real story begins. In order to stay safe as an English women in Scotland, she must depend on Jamie Frasier for protection. Amazing history, magical realism, romance and witches overflow in this iconic epic saga.
This epic love story can almost rival that of Jamie and Claire. This saga takes place over decades and all over the world. An epic love story set in WW2 Leningrad.
It was a fantastic story from a historical fiction perspective because I really learned a lot about everyday life in that era. Like Outlander, it’s a whopping 1000 pages but I couldn’t stop! This is one of the best historical romance books about WWII.
I love guilty pleasure royal romances, but this is so much more! Part romance, part mystery, this book has something for everyone and is an amazing beach read. A young journalist is given a mystery to uncover after an old actor passes away, but her investigation quickly turns deadly. I felt all the feelings on this one. There were a couple of times where I was truly angry at the author, but in the end, I really enjoyed it!
While the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was told entirely from Anastasia’s perspective, Grey and the subsequent books are told from Christian’s point of you.
I thought these books were so much better than the first in the series because we got insight into what was going on in Christian’s mind.
Books Over 500 Pages Adapted to the Screen
This hit book series is now a motion picture series starring Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin! Todd’s smash hit is set in college when bookworm Tessa meets bad boy Hardin.
Hardin and Tessa’s push-and-pull is at times frustrating but their chemistry is so good! Just make sure you have the second book in the series ready to go. This one ends on a cliffhanger. Not as popular with the US market, the Netflix book adaption was a smash over seas.
Ready for some over-the-top wedding shenanigans? Kevin Kwan delivers! When a young man decides to bring his girlfriend home to Singapore for a wedding, she has no idea what to expect.
She didn’t know he was crazy rich, that his family was crazy, and that everything in Singapore is more, more, more. The details in these pages were so vivid, I could picture everything!
This one makes it onto our list of the best books about weddings, too!
The modern-day monarchy has NOTHING on Henry VIII’s England. That man was a serial philander who literally changed the course of history over his love of Anne Boleyn. While everyone knows about Anne, this particular story is about Mary, her sister whom he fell in love with first.
We see the entire sequence of events through the eyes of Mary, the only member of Anne’s family to survive. This book is also a movie starring Scarlett Johanssen and Natalie Portman.
Click for more Books Becoming Movies in 2023!
Long Middle-Grade Books
Although the order changes sometimes, this is my second favorite Harry Potter book in the series. in my opinion, it was the first book that really showed Rowling’s potential for great storytelling.
Harry Potter finds himself participating in the Triwizard Tournament when someone tricked the Goblet of Fire and put in Harry’s name. He finds himself competing against much more experienced wizards in tasks that will bring him glory or death.
Harry faces dragons, dark wizards, and mermaids while performing magic he never thought possible
I listened to this book and it was unreal. I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. It is a story about music. The audio version plays to music so it is a full sensory experience.
The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII. Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this book is amazing for middle-grade and adults alike.
This is a book that is narrated by Death. He tells the story of Liesel, a young girl in Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel is living with her foster parents and learning to read stolen books.
She also shares these books with the Jewish man who is hiding in her basement. This book is brilliant, powerful, poignant, and unforgettable. while technically a YA book, this book is literary fiction at its finest.
Don’t let the length of this book deter you. Even though it is in our list of long books, there are gorgeous illustrations on every other pages and the writing is only a paragraph at a time.
This middle-grade mystery is an amazing story of Hugo Cabret who is an orphan in the Paris train station where he winds the clocks so that nobody will discover his secrets. Soon he discovers a drawing and a notebook that will lead him to the biggest adventure of his life.
Long Fiction Books Over 500 Pages
In this list of long books, this book is worth every single page because it is such beautifully written historical fiction. The writing is so lyrical- which is usually too poetic for me. But, in this case, it was hard to put down.
The story moves between two strong, intelligent women living centuries apart and the choices and decisions that they have to make in order to be true to themselves If you have the time to invest in one read, this book is my pick.
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery- this is what his adoptive parents tell him. Cyril is born to a young woman out of wedlock and is adopted by a rich family in Dublin.
He spends his life coming to know himself and who he wants to be. This is a touching and heartfelt story from the first page to the last. Even though this book is well over 500 pages, it didn’t feel long while I was reading it. This is definitely one of my favorite long books on this list.
Lombardo’s debut is a tremendous book about the complicated dynamics and hidden secrets of the Sorenson parents and their 4 daughters.
The story is told alternately in the present day when Jonah reunites with the daughter that gave him up in 15 years prior, and the past touches on moments in the Sorenson family history that are coming back to haunt them.
Each character is deliciously flawed in a way that makes you feel like you’ve known them for years. I love that at the heart of the story, the book is about the many forms of love and how to love well. I cannot believe that Claire Lombardo is not a 50 or 60-year-old woman with children of her own.
The Bushes are modern-day American royalty. This story, while heavily fictionalized, is based on the life of Laura Bush. It covers her young life, meeting her husband and his illustrious family, and also his presidency.
I didn’t know much about the Bush dynasty prior to reading this and while I realize it is political fiction, it gave me some good insight into the political world of America.
I read this book more than 20 years ago and I still feel emotional about this book. I have not re-read it to see if it has withstood the test of time but I have no doubt that it has.
This is a story of identical twin brothers one of whom is a paranoid schizophrenic. When he shockingly mutilates himself, his brother must become his caretaker. It is powerful and heartbreaking.
Best Long Mysteries
This book was heavily hyped when it first came out but having just had a baby I was not interested in reading this whopper of a book. Then in 2018, Patrick Dempsey started in a TV mini-series based on the novel. I finally decided to pick it up.
The story of Marcus Goldman and his quest to learn what really happened between his mentor Harry Quebert and 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. Did Harry commit the murder he is now being accused of? Will Marcus write the great American novel? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!
Anne Fortier did it again with this feminist retelling of the Amazon legend. This dual timeline story has a modern-day Amazon expert on a hunt to find the treasure left behind by the Amazons she’s sure existed.
It flashes back to the time of the Trojan war as we learn about the origins of the Amazons and what caused the female warriors to become involved with the Trojans.
It wasn’t until I was done with this long book that I realized quite how long it was. I read it on my Kindle and was wondering why I was reading so slowly.
In this fourth book, Billy comes to Cormoran Strike to help him investigate a crime he witnessed as a child. Billy is clearly mentally distressed and cannot remember clearly.
Cormoran and his assistant Robin set off on a trail that leads them from London to a manor house in the countryside.
Dark Academia Books Over 500 Pages
I started Plain Bad Heroines and I did not know what to think. I was debating giving up on the book for a little while because I just wasn’t sure where the book was going. Fast forward. I loved it and I am glad I stuck with it. This book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well-written.
The lines between reality and fiction are perfectly blurred. It is a book about a book and making a movie about that same book. ( follow that? Lol) The story intertwines the lives of all those that read the book and the mystery and supernatural that follows them 🐝. I don’t usually read horror but I loved this book. Thank you to @librofm for my copy! If you’ve read this I have to talk to someone about it!!!
Richard is one of a select group of six students who has been hand-picked to work under the guidance of a classics teacher named Julian Morrow. Richard is narrating the story and he begins by telling about the death of one of the students named Bunny.
As the story progresses, it is clear that this group of students rides the line of morality. The strained friendships and sexual tensions continue to push the edge until Bunny is killed.
This book was deeply disturbing and difficult to read.