These Long Reads are the Perfect Way to Forget the Outside World

If you’ve binge-watched everything on Netflix, done five rounds of Chloe Ting’s summer shred workout and learned how to bake bread, the next thing to do is immerse yourself in the vast universe of these long reads

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Released in 2015, Hanya Yanagihara’s brilliant bildungsroman instantly entered the public conversation. Debates were had on its worth as a novel, its difficult subject matter, and its status as a book with a fandom (Instagram accounts, tote bags, t-shirts, the like). Centered on four friends in New York, the story focuses on their joys, trials, and the ever-widening depths of despair they encounter apart and together as they grow up. Clocking in at 814 pages, it’s a heavy read but a worthwhile, unforgettable endeavor.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Everyone has watched Gone With the Wind, and subsequently at one point in their life has pretended to be Scarlett O’Hara and passionately declare that tomorrow will be another day. What everyone has not done is to probably read Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, which is what the movie is based on. With 959 pages and an antiquated storyline that makes no apology for its problematic nature, it’s not hard to see why. But now more than ever, it’s important to confront those stereotypes and acknowledge their influence in our lives. Read the book, swoon over Rhett Butler but understand that the very nature of the Southern White Planter Class could not have had docile and happy slaves as portrayed by Mitchell.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

British author Lucy Ellman’s 2019 offering has been compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses for its depth and breadth, and use stream-of-consciousness as a narrative mode. In 1,030 pages, Ellman tells the story of a middle-aged woman confronting everyday life and the myriad problems surrounding the world, including but not limited to climate change, Donald Trump, viral pandemics, and mass shootings. Winner of last year’s Goldsmiths Prize, its sheer size is easy escapism that somehow manages to ground the reader with timely reminders that the world never stops turning.

A True Novel by Minae Mizumura

Affluent girl meets orphan boy, class differences stand in the way of their love, boy rises from his impoverished background but can’t let go of the girl he met when he had nothing. Sound familiar? While not set in the wild Yorkshire moors (rather, post-war Japan), Minae Mizumura’s loose re-telling of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is vast (at 854 pages) and uncompromising, a book that is read to be savored and remembered.

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