(Really) Long Reads for Isolation

So you’re trapped at home with stuff-all to do – you need a book. A really, really long book. We’re talking a five-hundred-plus page stonker, if not more, or maybe double, or maybe even more than that. Don’t worry, whether you fancy a literary epic, a short story collection, a riveting mystery or a fantasy escape, we’ve chosen some of the biggest books to pass through our hands and put them all in one list. Give it a gander and then head here for pointers on how to best get hold of a copy.


Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge
(620 pages, Galley Beggar Press, 9781910296714, p/b, £9.99)

The winner of the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize in the first novel category, Forbidden Line is 620 pages of pure delight. A retelling of Don Quixote, it blends absurdism and (pseudo) science into a dazzling read that’s quite unlike anything you’re likely to have read before, and a worthy tome to knock off your list.

New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent ed. by Margaret Busby (840 pages, Myriad Editions, 9781912408009, h/b, £30)

From fiction to essays, poetry to drama, you’ll find writing of all kinds in this follow-up to Margaret Busby’s seminal 1992 collection, but with a focus on women from Africa and the African Diaspora. Including the writings of Roxane Gay, Zadie Smith, Bernardine Evaristo, and Warsan Shire, this behemoth of thought and reflection explores sisterhood, tradition, romance, race and identity, collecting the works of over 200 women writers.

Jerusalem by Alan Moore
(1,296 pages, Knockabout, 9780861662784, p/b, £16.99)

The author of such comic book classics as V for Vendetta and Watchmen, the legendary Alan Moore needs no introduction. But not everyone is familiar with his aspiring magnum opus. The longest book on our list and with more words in it than the Bible, Jerusalem is set in the former Saxon capital of Northhampton. Tugging on this ancient thread as well as the city’s rich modern history, Moore spins a grandiose tale of saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelict. Give this one a go, and consider yourself brave for doing it.

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (700 pages, Library of America, 9781598534931, h/b, £29.99)

Written before Le Guin’s more well-known science fiction work, the collected Orisinia stories are a masterpiece of historical fiction offering snapshots into the rise and fall of the fictional nation of Orisinia. Full of Le Guin’s customary warmth and humanity, The Complete Orisinia is something to curl up with and forget about the real world with for a long, long time. If you’ve enjoyed Le Guin’s more well-known work, why not give this wonderful treasure-trove of historical world-building a shot.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
(544 pages, Avery Hill, 9781910395370, h/b, £24.99)

For those looking for an escape from the bleak, unending news cycle, look no further than Tillie Walden’s Ghibli-esque space fantasy graphic novel. Originally an Eisner-nominated webcomic, you can now read the entire thing in one big, beautiful, full colour hardback. Lose yourself in this rich and stunning coming-of-age story of space ships, queer love, crumbling ruins and intergalactic space fish – it’s a total treat.

Complete Stories by Kurt Vonnegut
(944 pages, Seven Stories Press, 9781609808082, h/b, £29.99)

Best known for his classic anti-war novel Slaughterhouse Five, more than half of Vonnegut’s output was in fact short fiction. Written over a lifetime from 1941 to 2007, Seven Stories Press has collected all 97 stories here for you to enjoy including, for the first time, five previously unpublished stories as well as a handful of others published online and only read by a few.

Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura, trans. by Kalua Almony
(528 pages, Soho Press, 9781641290234, p/b, £8.99)

Looking for the perfect crime novel to weather you through the storm? Look no further than Cult X. The magnum opus of one of Japan’s preeminent thriller writers, and coming in at a healthy 528 pages, this mystery has layers upon layers, taking its readers deep into the dark underbelly of modern Tokyo and the secretive world of cults and extremism.

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
(592 pages, Melville House UK, 9780993414985, p/b, £9.99)

Cloud Atlas fans! This one’s for you. Set in three cities across three eras, The Mirror Thief begins in 16th century Venice where one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions has been perfected: the mirror, and with it, a plot to steal the groundbreaking technology. Meanwhile in two other Venices, across two other times, similarly daring heists are hatched. A masterful, genre-hopping epic, woven together with a mystery that will keep you up all night.

As A God Might Be by Neil Griffiths
(599 pages, Dodo Ink, 9780993575846, p/b, £12.99)

When Proctor McCullough decides to desert his comfortable London life to build a church on a clifftop, nobody knows what to make of it: McCullough is not religious. Is it a midlife crisis? Has he gone mad? Or has he really been chosen by God for a new revelation? Another mighty work of fiction, As God Might Be is just the kind of ambitious and generous novel about love and faith that you might need.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
(1,020 pages, Galley Beggar, 9781913111984, p/b, £13.99)

You didn’t really think we were going to miss this one off did you? Clocking in at a whopping 1,020 pages (and now a 45-hour audiobook!), Ducks, Newburyport took the book world by storm last year with a barnstorming monologue written from the perspective of a 21st century Ohio housewife. Earning a well-deserved spot on the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist, it’s a hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching diatribe on everything that’s nuts about the modern day. The perfect alternative to comfort food during this trying time.

Head of Drama: The Memoir of Sydney Newman by Sydney Newman & Graeme Burk
(592 pages, ECW Press, 9781770413047, p/b, £17.99)

Remembered as a titan in British television, Sydney Newman’s comprehensive memoirs are as fittingly large as his extensive resumé. Pioneering such programmes as the classic spy show The Avengers, and the beloved-to-this-day Doctor Who, Newman’s memoirs are made public here for the first time. Additionally, they are extensively annotated by Doctor Who mega-geek Graeme Burk, and include a discussion of the development of that iconic programme.


In times like these, the book trade needs your help more than ever.

If anything you’ve read about on our blog catches your eye, consider putting in an order now, online or over the phone, at your local bookshop. Here’s how.

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