Tomeward Bound: the Joy of Giant Books

What saved our hero?

The literary cowboy's first adventure

Giant books have their perks (see above).  Beyond just impressing your friends, you can read giant encyclopedic fiction to increase your vocabulary, your IQ, your intellectual stamina, your physical stamina (holding the thing), and greatly decrease your sleep.  Moreover, giant books (when written well) create a greater sense of character and setting than most narrow novels.  At any given time, I’m likely to be working on reading one average sized book and one massive one, trading the average sized one every week or so, and lugging the massive one around for weeks.

In this fashion, I’ve read Anna Karenina, Ulysses, Gravity’s Rainbow, and The Magus.  I’ve just about completed the enormous sequel to Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, which means in a week or so I’ll have to pick up another lumbering giant.

There’s three giant books I’ve started in the past, loved, but abandoned due to symbolic cerebral hemorrhages.  Now I’ve judged I’m in hale condition and can get back to them.*  The three I have waiting for me are:

War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)

Against the Day (Thomas Pynchon)

The Recognitions (William Gaddis)

Which one should I pick up?  Please vote.

*I also need to read Infinite Jest, but I’ll put that off for now since I just picked up The Pale King.

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