Below is the list of books I wanted to read at some point but failed to summon the courage to begin, for their incredible bulkiness. Since I finished 735 pages of Anna Karenina fairly smoothly, I feel more confident to read any volume with no big trouble. I’m a slow reader, so it may take several months to swallow some of the following, but their literary gravity will make me forget the time.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1456 pages)
See that page number? It’ll take a whole year! Of course I’ll certainly try War and Peace sometime in my life, but I haven’t been particularly inspired to read it yet. I don’t feel like treating it in a same line with Anna Karenina because War and Peace simply doesn’t have a title character to wonder about before actually opening the volume. Russian aristocracy and Napoleonic War are fascinating settings to attract a history-loving reader like myself, but I’ll need a bit of good preview before grabbing it.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (656 pages)
It’s the likeliest book I would begin by the end of this year, mostly because the new film to be released this winter. Without having read it, I was already attracted to Jean Valjean and the ideals of compassion and forgiveness the character embraces. I hope it’ll be as smooth as Anna Karenina, for it’ll be also a translation. I’ll be very happy to read Les Miserables because it’s a very novel that speaks about love, hope and happiness.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (704 pages)
To be honest, I hardly expect there will be one day I will open a copy of Moby Dick. I never doubt it’s great book as everyone says, but I don’t think I’ll be ever interested to read Melville’s profound expertise of whalery. I can appreciate his literary genius to make a giant whale into a memorable literary character but I just don’t want to read all such details about the animal which I would probably never have a chance to encounter. But as soon as I learn that there will something more than the ‘whale,’ I won’t hesitate to dive in.
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (544 pages)
I’m aspiring to read this book pretty badly. Like Jude the Obscure, this one will not be the kind of book that I’m looking forward to derive some sense of hope and happiness of life. The only thing that keeps me from Grapes of Wrath is the uncertainty that I’ve been mature enough to appreciate the rough themes of struggle and hardship. Moreover, the Great Depression is not the pleasant era to read about. Maybe I’ll have to wait until founding a family of my own and know the struggle to feed them before grabbing Steinbeck.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (480 pages)
Well, a less-than-500 pages of Hemingway won’t be much trouble, but thinking that the length is only dedicated to describe events happening in three days…it’s pretty bulky. I’m interested to read Hemingway for the ‘romance’ featured in his major works. There cannot be anything more delightful than the combination of ‘romance’ and the serious contemplation of the past, like the Great Gatsby. The Spanish Civil War is fascinating but also heartbreaking. I’m not sure if I’m prepared to read the brutality of the war.