What have individuals been doing to move all these further hours at house? Burying ourselves in ultra-long novels resembling Warfare and Peace and Don Quixote, apparently. Firstly of lockdown No 1, all the way in which again in March, we reported that readers were starting to stock up on longer novels and classic fiction. Greater than seven months on, Penguin Random Home says that gross sales of its version of Warfare and Peace – which runs to 1,440 pages – have boomed by 69% within the UK up to now this yr: based on e-book gross sales monitor Nielsen BookScan, they’ve gone from 3,700 copies offered in 2019 to six,300 in 2020 up to now.
The writer has additionally seen an uplift in gross sales of Don Quixote (1,056 pages, up 53%) Anna Karenina (865 pages, up 52%), Middlemarch (880 pages, up 40%) and Crime and Punishment (720 pages, up 35%).
“We had been anticipating probably to see a spike in consolation reads, like cosy crime or gentle comedian novels. As a substitute plainly readers have been impressed in lockdown to sort out the good literary monuments – the books that possibly they’d at all times meant to learn, however by no means prior to now had the time to embark on,” says Penguin Classics editorial director Jess Harrison.
Whether or not readers are ending their odysseys stays to be seen. However there are some success tales, such because the greater than 3,000 readers who participated in Tolstoy Together, a gaggle studying of Warfare and Peace overseen by the novelist Yiyun Li, who assigned them 10-15 pages of day by day studying over 85 consecutive days
“I’ve discovered that the extra unsure life is, the extra solidity and construction Tolstoy’s novels present,” says Li. “In these instances, one does wish to learn an creator who’s so deeply moved by the world that he may seem unmoved in his writing.”
This has definitely been true for me. After burying myself within the immersive pleasure of Mary Stewart’s Merlin books (my omnibus version runs to greater than 900 pages) earlier this summer time, I’m at present nearing the top of a Dune reread. Solely 600-odd pages, so considerably paltry in comparison with Li’s journey to Nineteenth-century Russia, however my lord, sinking again into Frank Herbert’s world of sand worms and spice, ’thopters and Bene Gesserit “witches”, has been completely what I wanted. As I are likely to do each time I reread Dune, I’ve discovered myself muttering apposite strains to myself – “Worry is the little dying” – and slyly practising my Fremen sand stroll once I’m on the playground with my children: “They need to sound just like the pure shifting of sand … just like the wind … Step … drag … drag … step … step … wait.” In any case, you by no means know when Shai-Hulud will present his face.
Following up Dune with the likes of Dune Messiah and Kids of Dune would up my page-count to ranges extra worthy of the Warfare and Peace crew, however I’m not satisfied but that I’ll proceed on to Herbert’s (inferior, in my reminiscence) sequels: I’m definitely not delving again into those written after his dying. However one other lengthy learn definitely tempts. What are your favorite lengthy books? Have you ever been discovering solace in novels that require each arms to carry?