Five Favorites is a special feature at the LA Books Examiner in which our favorite authors share and discuss their five favorite books within a category. In this edition, Holly Christine, author of Tuesday Tells It Slant, discusses five favorite big books (books with 700 to over 1000 pages) that she couldn’t put down.
Five Favorite Big Books by Holly Christine
1) House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this one. Always one to find a treasure in the endless list of Amazon recommendations, this book found me. I was hooked from the beginning: “And then the nightmares will begin.” To say that I had nightmares wouldn’t do this gem justice. There are winding staircases that never seem to end, a fortress within a house all found by a mysterious hallway, a plague of curiosity on a man that moved his family to Virginia for a fresh start, and that prose—that beautiful prose that flows from sentence to sentence all the while there is another story, the first, or maybe the second, floating around through rambling footnotes at the bottom. This is a symphony of words. A perfection of the craft. An enviable production. And it hasn’t received anywhere near the praise that it deserves.
Favorite Quote: “For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how.”
2) The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1860)
Published in 1860, I’ve read that this suspenseful tale was inspired by a true story. During that time, Collins’ fictional work fell into the category of “sensation novels,” which later gave rise to detective and suspense fiction. The original text nears 700 pages, and though I’ve never read the smaller editions, I would say that this story is worth every page. The tale made Collins famous in his day and he also adapted the novel for the stage. His mysterious woman in white is an escaped mental institution patient with a secret to share. The story is told through multiple narratives, each filling the reader with more anticipation for the answer to the question: what is the woman trying to tell? An heiress with a large inheritance, a suitor, and the man going after the cash—all in a darker English setting.
Favorite Quote: “Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.”
Bonus: the Kindle edition is free!
3) The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova (2005)
I read this 700-page beauty in a weekend. I simply could not put it down. After reading Dracula, you will surely appreciate this work of art. Though it is fiction and delving on a theory that Dracula is still alive, I learned quite a bit of European history. The Historian is set in three time periods: one in 1930 that follows a professor in his attempts to find Dracula, one twenty years later when a student tries to locate the professor and begins his own hunt for Dracula, and lastly the story of the young teenage girl who finds a mysterious medieval book in her father’s library. Her curiosity leads her on the final hunt for the man who sleeps in a coffin. The book itself is beautifully written and a thrilling page-turner.
Favorite Quote: “When you handle books all day long, every new one is a friend and a temptation.”
Read the rest of Holly Christine’s picks at Frank Mundo’s LA Books Examiner.