Monday, June 4, 2012

Long Reads

Among my co-workers there are some very strong opinions about the length of books. One group feels that the most long books are simply too long, suffering from self indulgence and poor editing. The other camp of readers dearly love long books, so much better to keep a good story going (especially during summer vacation).

I tend to agree with the former group. But if you agree with the latter, these lengthy 2102 novels might be just what you are looking for, as all these novels are 500+ pages long.

Hard Country (M)
by Michael McGarrity

607 pages. "In the first of a planned trilogy, McGarrity takes a break from his Kevin Kerney mysteries to trace the long history of the Kerney family. In 1875, John Kerney settles on the west Texas plains with optimistic plans to build his Double K ranch brand. However, after the death of his wife during childbirth and the murder of his brother and nephew by thieves, John leaves the ranch and his child behind to hunt the murderers. Though this novel of the old West features cowboys, rustlers, expansive ranches, outlaws, and skirmishes with the Apache, its characters also deal with the shrinking of the frontier as the United States expands into their once-remote territory.

McGarrity took great care in reviving the old West with accuracy, citing works on cowboy daily life and important historical characters in his author's note. Any readers interested in the Western genre will be delighted by McGarrity's take on harsh frontier life, and loyal fans of detective Kevin Kerney will be excited to see this prequel." Library Journal

Terrified (M)
by Kevin O'Brien

550 pages. "Megan Keeler died years ago--or so everyone believes. In fact, she disappeared to escape from her sadistic husband, Glenn. When dismembered body parts were found near their home, Glenn was convicted of his wife's murder. And Megan, terrified for her unborn child's safety, never came forward with the truth... Since then, Megan has built a new life in Seattle for herself and her son, Josh. She's never forgotten that she's a fugitive, and Josh knows nothing about her past. But someone does. First, there are anonymous emails and threats, just as she learns that Glenn has been released from prison. Then the unthinkable happens: a masked man breaks into their home and abducts Josh...To save her son, Megan must put herself at the mercy of a maniac. Is Glenn a cold-blooded killer determined to destroy her world piece by piece, or is the truth even more twisted?" - publisher

Banner of the Damned (M)
by Sherwood Smith

695 pages. "Framed as a royal scribe's apologia, Smith's newest is a magical tale of political intrigue and romantic entanglements. When her sister, the Colendi Queen Hatahra, finally produces an heir, Princess Lasva's royal aspirations are dashed, so she despairingly departs for the barbarous land of Marloven Hesea, where she weds Prince Ivandred. Fearing for her sister's safety in a primitive land renowned for its military and magical might, Queen Hatahra charges the royal scribe Emras to keep watch over the Princess, and ascertain whether she is being influenced by the dark magic of Norsunder, a kingdom once believed to reside only in myth, but now distressingly real. Emras must fulfill the wishes of the Queen in accordance with the three rules of the scribe: "Do not interfere," "Keep The Peace," and "Tell the truth as we see it."

In Emras's struggle to parse good from evil magic, something went terribly wrong, and now she is being forced to defend herself. A dawdling beginning is rescued by the bold and engaging female characters, and Smith's world is wonderfully imagined. While the legal defense frame occasionally makes for dry reading (and frequent transgressions of the ubiquitous axiom "Show; don't tell"), Smith's epic is nevertheless vividly realized and entertaining." - Publisher's Weekly

A Small Circus (M)
by Hans Fallada (orig published in1931) , translated by Michael Hoffman

577 pages. "Michael Hofmann's brilliant, colloquial translation brings this work of intrigue and foreboding to English readers for the first time. It is summer, 1929, and in a small German town a storm is brewing. The shabby reporter Tredup leads a precarious existence working for the Pomeranian Chronicle - until he takes some photographs that offer the chance to make a fortune. In Kruger's bar, the farmers are plotting their revenge on greedy officials. A mysterious travelling salesman from Berlin, Henning, is stirring up trouble - but no one knows why. Meanwhile the Nazis grow stronger and the Communists fight them in the streets." - publisher

2312 (M)
by Kim Stanley Robinson

561 pages. "In the year 2312, humans have developed the technology to colonize most of the solar system, including Mercury, which boasts a single city that travels on rails around the planet just ahead of the rising sun. When Swan Er Hong arrives to mourn her recently deceased grandmother Alex, one of Mercury's movers and shakers, Swan realizes how little she knew about the woman who raised her. Meeting some of Alex's scientific friends reveals to Swan that mysterious projects were in the works and that she must uncover her grandmother's secrets before they destroy not only Mercury but the entire solar system.

The award-winning Robinson ("The Mars Trilogy"; Fifty Degrees Below) delivers a feast for advanced technology fans and future history aficionados with this intriguing portrait of a solar system economy based on the mining of the asteroid belt. Despite their genetically engineered adaptations to their galactic colonies, his well-drawn characters resonate with traits that emphasize their humanity." - Library Journal

1 comment:

  1. to me these novels are big but not overly long. It is when a book is over 800 pages that I pause, unless it is a
    Stephen King novel. But there are some books that even though they sounded interesting the length did stop me, such as Drood by Dan Simmons or Jonthan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Suzanne Clarke (both 700 + pages). I guess it all depends on whether the subject and time all weave together for a magical reading experience