There's nothing like long books. They're perfect for holidays, and perfect to ramble through in the snatched spare moments of ordinary life. Here are 3 long books I've enjoyed recently.
New York by Edward Rutherfurd. My friend Emma introduced me to this epic novel of the history of New York, as seen through the eyes of the generations of a family. I learned stacks of American history, but never boringly! Rutherford tells the story of one individual through several chapters, then picks up the story of another (a son, a grandson, a nephew) until the novel reaches the recent past. I look forward to reading London, which by all accounts is even better.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Recommended by my sister-in-law Kath, this winner of the Booker prize tells the (first half of the) story of Thomas Cromwell (yes, a sequel is coming, but not yet - *sigh*), who rose from lowly beginnings to became chief advisor to Henry VIII. I particularly enjoyed the sympathetic portrayal of Protestant martyrs like Ridley, Latimer and Tyndale. Neither a bodice-ripper nor a yawn-fest, this lyrical, skillfully-written historical novel is a very satisfying read.
At Home: A Short History of Domestic Life by Bill Bryson. Having read and loved A Short History of Nearly Everything, when I saw this book in Target (of all places), I raced home and put it on hold at our library. Tired of telling the story of everything, Bryson thought the history of domestic life would be simpler and more constrained - which of course it wasn't. This rambly book is packed with bizarre details like the disgusting toilet habits of Queen Elizabeth's royal party, the hazardous history of beauty treatments, and the importance of salt and pepper.