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  • Writer's pictureTerrie

Lots of time on your hands? Maybe it's time to tackle a LONG book. Here are 12 recommendations.

Since many of us are in some level of shelter-in-place, stay-at-home orders, I figure you might have some time on your hands. Here's a selection of 12 l-o-n-g books to grab your attention. I randomly determined that anything over 400 pages is long but I included a range of lengths so those of you who really appreciate a tome will also find something here.

Most must-read lists heavily favor new releases, but this list includes lots of excellent back list books that you may have overlooked. In fact, maybe they're already on your own bookshelves (or from the library digitally or on audio). Also, Donna or I have actually read every one of these and whole heartedly recommend them. So, put your feet up, grab your drink of choice, and dig into a long book!

400 - 450 pages

Belong To Me #2 by Marisa de los Santos

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2008, 432 pages

If your preference is to immerse yourself into a more contemporary story, this is an excellent one of an urban woman who tries to embrace suburbia and dealing with judgmental neighbors, friends, and frenemies. Well written to keep you engaged to the very end.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Genre: General Fiction

Published 2018, 448 pages

Written from the perspective of a man looking back on his growing up, this interesting book is about a boy born with red pupils and the difficulties he has as a kid but also the lifelong friends he makes. An interesting premise, well told and with a satisfying end you'll appreciate. Reviewed here.

7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2018, 432 pages

Are you ready for something a little unusual, a little mind-bending? This is the book for you. The mystery is to solve a woman's murder. The twist is that the same woman is murdered night after night and a man has 8 days to solve the murder, each day spent in a different host's body (why I labeled this fantasy). It's twisty and smart and complex and, as a debut novel, an amazing feat of creativity. Reviewed here.

450 - 500 pages

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2016, 462 pages

A quiet but profound book that covers a Russian man's life of 40 years of house arrest to an attic room in the Metropol (a real hotel in Moscow by the way). You get some Russian history as the decades pass, but more importantly you feel the emotional connections that he makes. And the writing! - an understated, elegant style that totally epitomizes the main character.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2018, 464 pages

One of my favorite books for 2019, this book reads like a fairy tale .... the quiet pacing grabbed me from the beginning, but it also has great characters and such an engaging plot line, a little magical, suspenseful, and with a gentle romance. Reviewed here.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Genre: Mystery

Published 2003, 490 pages

Do you want something a little more action packed? If you haven't read this yet, maybe this is a good time. Puzzles and murders in the Catholic church and Professor Langdon has to hurry to piece it all together and solve the murders.

500 - 600 pages

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Genre: Historical Fiction

Award: Pulitzer Prize

Published 2014, 531 pages

This Pulitzer Prize winning story is presented in alternating chapters about a German little boy and a blind French little girl during WWII. Though they don't meet till toward the end of the book, their stories are on a collision course, proving how people try to be good to one another. Very well written!

Reviewed here

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2017, 512 pages

This delightful, whimsical story of water sprites, dragons, and magic potions will certainly relieve your stress. When Bronte's parents die, they leave her with instructions to visit all 10 of her aunts and deliver specific, odd gifts or her town will be destroyed. This is just what the doctor ordered! Reviewed here.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Genre: General Fiction

Published 1989, 553 pages

This oldie but goodie remains one of my long time favorite books. Set in 1939 South Africa at the beginning of apartheid, this is the story of Peekay, a little boy whose life starts out in abandonment and tragedy but he has great dreams. The story follows his epic journey through prejudice and more as he learns the power of words and that one person can make a difference. An amazing book!


11/22/63 by Stephen King

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 2011, 849 pages

Not a King fan? Intimidated by the page count? Don't be! This book reads much faster than the page count might indicate AND it's not a horror story in any way. The story is of a man who discovers a way to travel back in time and attempts to save President Kennedy from assassination. The story moves quickly, manages the idea of time travel simply and eloquently, keeps you caring about whether or not he's going to succeed, all with strong dialog and quiet action. One of my favorite King books.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published 1985, 945 pages

This epic classic is a western saga at its best. A Pulitzer winner, this character driven story is carried by the dialog and fabulous characters and is very evocative of the old west. My sister, Donna, and I recently read this as a Buddy Read and both really enjoyed it. Reviewed here.

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Genre: General Fiction

Published 1986, 674 pages

For those of you who enjoy a good dysfunctional family book, here's another oldie-but-worth-reading goodie. Sometimes brutal, occasionally touching, this story is of a traumatized brother and sister and the ebb and flow of their lives in South Carolina. A master storyteller telling a hard story well.

I really hope one or more of these books captures your interest and provides you with a few days (or more) of satisfied reading time. I love a long book - what do you recommend to me?

Welcome to Bookshelf Journeys.

It's my goal to provide real reviews of the books I read without totally rehashing every plot. I'll never spoil a story by giving away a plot twist! Hopefully you'll find one or two of interest and will discover a new book or author to add to YOUR TBR list.  Take a moment to explore, read a couple reviews, and let me know what you think.


For your convenience, I use #hashtags in the reviews and when you click on one, you'll find more books with that theme. Hopefully you'll find it a helpful way to navigate the site and find books you'll enjoy. I've also recently added tags that will show up at the end of each review that serve the same purpose.

The review ratings are based on a 5 star  (1/2 stars sometimes) system with a 3 being an average read for me. I hope you find that helpful. Knowing, of course, that all opinions are just that - my opinion!  Let me know if you agree or disagree - I'd love to hear from you.

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