It is Wednesday, which means that Top 5 Wednesday is upon us again! This week, the task is to name your top 5 books over 500 pages. Now, I tend to get bored with a book easily if it is not catching my attention, which is fine for a shorter book, as I will just push through to the end. If the book is long, then I would probably lose interest and put it on my ‘started-on-hold’ shelf on Goodreads – for books that I intend to finish but probably won’t for a very long time – and move on. If I managed to get through a longer book (especially if I did it in few sittings) then it must have impressed me, so while the books that I have chosen are clearly favourites of mine in general, there are not that many candidates for this challenge.
*A quick note: all of these page numbers correspond to the editions which I read/own. Some of these books may have variants with a different number of pages, maybe even under 500, but the editions that I read have the number of pages stated*
5. ‘Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Story Collection’ by Agatha Christie (908 pages, Harper UK)
I know that this one is pushing it as it is a book comprised of short stories, but as you cannot often buy the stories separately, and I read them back-to-back in this bind-up, I will include it onto this list. Agatha Christie’s flagship detectives, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, have been particular favourites of mine since my mum introduced me to the murder-mysteries when I was younger (quite possibly too young to grasp the concept, but oh well). This volume contains all 51 of Christie’s short stories about the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his comrades Hastings and Inspector Japp. Part of the reason that I love Christie’s short stories is that you get a murder just as complex as in one of her full-length books, yet seamlessly condensed in a way that its length does not detract from the flow of the story in any way. The fact that they are so short means that it is easy to read them back-to-back, as I found when I flew through this collection in about 5 days, a good few years back. Therefore, I found the 908 pages in this edition an easy hurdle to overcome, and it in fact did not seem like 908 pages at all.
4. ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ by Cassandra Clare (733 pages, Harper UK)
The sixth and final book in the ‘Mortal Instruments’, ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ is my runaway favourite book in this series. The Shadowhunter world in Cassandra Clare’s novels is subject to a lot of criticism, and I will admit that I do not enjoy every Shadowhunter book *cough ‘Infernal Devices’ cough*, but for me, this book was everything I was asking for to conclude the series. It was the first time that I got fully immersed in anticipating a series conclusion, and I was worrying that this book wouldn’t deliver, but it pulled it off for me. The fact that it is split into two very obvious ‘parts’ made it easier to finish for me, as there was a distinct place where I could pause the reading; normally in a longer book with no distinction between parts, I enjoy reading it less as I am constantly looking for a good place to stop reading for a bit.
3. ‘The Bane Chronicles’ by Cassandra Clare (507 pages, Margaret K. McElderry Books)
I normally confine myself to one book per series, so I am classing this one away from ‘The Mortal Instruments’ so that I can include it on my list. As with the Poirot Collection, this book is a bind-up of short stories. These stories all focus on the life of the ‘Mortal Instruments’ and ‘Infernal Devices’ character Magnus Bane, a constant in all of Clare’s Shadowhunter world books. Magnus is one of my favourite fictional characters, which made it easy to get through the book in one sitting. And as it has 11 stories in it, it is also perfect to read them one at a time, which would have suited me if I were the kind of person to read small snippets rather than the whole thing in one go. All of these stories are different and can be read on their own, but they complement each other well to produce a book that stands up as a book in its own right, and does not feel like a disjointed collection of stories.
2. ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Cecelia Ahern (585 pages, Harper UK)
I am not a fan of fluffy romance books, but I have to say that ‘Where Rainbows End’ is one of the (if not the) best one I have read. Written in a letter form, which makes it a very quick to get through, this story has the perfect pacing (which is necessary given the long time frame it is set across) and it is easy to finish it in a very short amount of time. The fact that the characters age such a massive amount throughout the book complements the progression of the forms of the letters and the irregular yet pleasing pace of the story. The romance is something we can identify with, rather than a cheesy and unrealistic story, and the combination of the realistic characters, the delightful narrative and the detailed story make this one of the best books I have read this year.
1. ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ by J.K. Rowling (766 pages, Bloomsbury)
A stereotypical answer, I know, but it literally is my favourite book over 500 pages, no question about it. My second favourite in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, behind ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, the whole series of the boy wizard will forever hold a special place in my heart, and while the pacing and the speed at which I would read this does not match others on this list, this book is the book which I immediately thought of when posed with the question ‘what is my favourite book over 500 pages?’. Considering I first read this many many years ago, when I was still of primary school age, it clearly means a lot to me that this book is still my instinctive answer to this question.
A few key links:
Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/118368-top-5-wednesday
Lainey’s channel (creator) – https://www.youtube.com/user/gingerreadslainey
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