I’ve always been a fan of long books. But at the start of lockdown I found it hard to concentrate on a book for more than about ten minutes. I could only focus for a few pages before I was jumping out of my skin. So, I gravitated towards shorter, lighter books.
These days, however, all I am in the mood to do is read. And thankfully my concentration is back at normal levels! I’m reading so quickly that I find myself on the hunt for books that will keep me busy for longer than a day at a time.
So I wanted to put together a list of my favorite longer books for anyone like me who’s on the hunt for something to really sink your teeth into. Most of these are over 500 pages, but in my opinion they’re also all easy reads. As we head into what I hope is a long holiday weekend for a lot of people, I’m crossing my fingers that you have lots of time to read whatever your heart desires in the coming days!
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
No, I will not shut up about Curtis Sittenfeld! Impossible! American Wife is my favorite of her books but it is quite long (makes sense given that the story takes place across a span of more than 40 years). It’s about a fictional First Lady, so it’s really the perfect book to read for the 4th of July long weekend!
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I know you already know that The Royal We is one of my all time favorite books. The sequel, The Heir Affair, comes out next week, so I think I’m going to re-read The Royal We this weekend in preparation!
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
I remember Special Topics in Calamity Physics getting a lot of buzz when it was first published in 2006. I loved it when I read it then and have revisited it several times since. However, it doesn’t seem to be one that’s had much staying power as I never hear anyone talk about it. So please, go back and visit this backlist title and give it the love it deserves! Fans of The Secret History will love this book.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym) is the first book in the Cormoran Strike series. Along with Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, this is my favorite current day crime/mystery series. As with Harry Potter, the Strike books are long but captivating with characters who are so well written that you feel like they’re real people.
And if you’re already a fan of this series, get excited because the fifth book, Troubled Blood, is being released on September 15th! I hesitate to recommend purchasing anything by Rowling right now so if you haven’t been as much of an eager beaver as I have and already pre-ordered it, I’d suggest getting this one at the library when it comes out in the fall.
The Time Traveler’s Wife, another favorite that I re-read earlier this year, is a great one to read right now as it’s in the process of being adapted for TV as an HBO series and the author is close to finishing a sequel! It’s science fiction but also a really sweet love story so there’s something in it for everyone.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I’m sure most of y’all have already read All the Light We Cannot See, seeing as it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. But if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It’s historical fiction with so much heart and I’m constantly searching to see what Doerr is working on and when we can expect a new book from him.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I find most of Australian author Liane Moriarty’s books to be good but not great. But What Alice Forgot is one that I still think of even though I’ve only read it once four years ago. If you’ve seen Big Little Lies but haven’t read any of her books yet, I’d suggest starting with this one!
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Do you find yourself wondering what Steve Jobs would have made of the times we’re living in? He had such an unusual mind and it’s hard not to wonder what role he might have played right now. I feel like he would have had a lot of thoughts about the shift to remote work in particular. Anyway, for anyone who is fascinated by Steve Jobs, this biography by Walter Isaacson is a must-read.
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Before Judd Apatow was a household name he was just a comedy obsessed nerd scheming up excuses to interview his comic idols. Sick in the Head is a collection of interviews Apatow has done with famous comedians over the last thirty years. It’ll give you a new level of appreciation for the skill required to create good comedy.
Live from New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
Speaking of comedy, Live from New York, an oral history of Saturday Night Live, is such a joyous read. It’ll leave you wanting to look up clips of all of your favorite SNL sketches. And you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the genius of Lorne Michaels. Be sure to read the expanded edition that has 100 more pages of interviews than the first edition!
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
Vincent Bugliosi is the King of True Crime and Helter Skelter is his masterpiece. I read this for the first time when I was 13. Not sure why my parents were OK with that! I didn’t sleep for several nights after I finished this book. So maybe don’t leave it lying around for your kids to find! Not only is Charles Manson one of the most fascinating criminals of all time, but Bugliosi has one of the greatest legal minds the world has ever seen and his perspective as a prosecutor is fascinating.
Personal History by Katharine Graham
Yes, here I am recommending Personal History again! Graham’s memoir is the kind of book that people just don’t write anymore. She writes about everything from her marriage to her work at The Washington Post to the fabulous Washington dinner parties she goes to. Once you finish reading the book, go watch The Post if you haven’t already seen it!