Have you been wondering about the world’s longest book? Well, three of the books on this list contain over 10,000 pages, which could take weeks to read altogether. You will find something intriguing here, from scathing societal commentary to biographical memoirs.
We have left some well-known series off of this list that have exceptional word lengths since we cover them in another article about the longest book series. These include:
- Harry Potter
- Lord of the Rings
- Hunger Games
- Game of Thrones
- Wheel of Time
A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Number of words: 184,000
Number of pages: 736
Anthony Powell received tons of critical acclaim upon his release of A Dance to the Music of Time. He released it in 12 separate volumes between 1951 and 1975. At its core, the book examines the movements and manners of English political life. Nicholas Jenkins serves as the story’s narrator over its entirety. Time magazine included the novel in a list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Likewise, the BBC’s rankings placed it as the 36th greatest British Novel ever.
Ulysses by James Joyce
Number of words: 265,000
Number of pages: 735
Irish writer James Joyce wrote Ulysses as a modernist novel and serialized it at first. It first appeared in The Little Review between March 1918 and December 1920. Nevertheless, it appeared in its entirety on February 2, 1922. The book’s title is a Latinised version of the name Odysseus. Joyce tells the appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom during an ordinary day. It occurs entirely within the city of Dublin, and the book’s style imitates many other authors. It has drawn both praise and criticism over the years. Yet, even Carl Jung recommended its unique stream-of-consciousness style.
Miss MacIntosh, My Darling by Marguerite Young
Number of words: 299,500
Number of pages: 1,198
Marguerite Young began writing Miss MacIntosh, My Darling in 1947 and released it in 1965. It tackles the illusions and hallucinations in individual lives. The book focuses on an opium addict’s paradise as its central scene. Upon its release, it was one of the longest novels ever written, and it received praise from Kurt Vonnegut. Its exploration of human-centric stories has earned it an imaginative reputation.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Number of words: 483,994
Number of pages: 1,079
This book’s unconventional narrative structure utilizes hundreds of endnotes and footnotes. Additionally, Time magazine featured the book on their list of the 100 best English-language novels. It is also a literary fiction best seller with more than a million copies sold. Its plot involves several interwoven narratives. The various narratives connect via an entrancing film. In fact, this film is so entertaining its viewers become obsessed. Thus, they die after rewatching it too many times.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Number of words: 561,996
Number of pages: 1,168
Atlas Shrugged was the longest piece of literature upon its release. It represents Ayn Rand’s fourth work and her magnum opus. It recounts a tale about man’s mind and its role in existence. Moreover, it develops several philosophical themes, from capitalism to individualism. It ends with strikers planning to build a new capitalist society. They base this plan on John Galt’s vision.
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Number of words: 587,287
Number of pages: 1,225
Leo Tolstoy first published War & Peace in 1869 as a Russian-language novel. Since then, it has earned numerous accolades and countless praise from critics. It chronicles Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and its impact on Tsarist society. Over its course, the reader learns about the stories of five aristocratic families. Tolstoy divided the book into five sections, and many of them are not told in a traditional format. For example, large sections of the book are not conveyed as a narrative. Instead, they read as philosophical discussions.
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
Number of words: 591,552
Number of pages: 1,349
Vikram Seth released this novel in 1993 as a single-volume novel. Thereafter, it immediately became one of the longest novels ever published. A Suitable Boy takes place in post-partition India and follows four families. Over 18 months, the reader learns about an arranged marriage between Lata and a “suitable boy.” The novel’s central focus is on Lata’s choice between three potential suitors. Its satirical and earnest take on Indian political issues earned it an accolade by the BBC.
Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Number of words: 600,000
Number of pages: 1,266
Jerusalem is set in Alan Moore’s hometown of Northampton, England. The author’s combination of historical and supernatural fiction elements drew on diverse styles. However, the book’s arc develops over centuries and is mostly in the Boroughs. The Guardian has characterized it as a magnificent and sprawling epic. During the plot’s course, readers explore the development of the English language itself. The Washington Post has also called it a massive literary achievement for our time.
Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert
Number of words: 850,000
Number of pages: 1,463
Australian author Xavier Herbert released this award-winning novel in 1975. Therefore, it is one of the biggest books ever produced by an Australian. Furthermore, it won the 1976 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The plot’s focus is on three social outcasts: Prindy, Jeremy, and Rifkah. Each one must face oppression as Australia enters a war. As a result, they wrangle with important and ongoing questions about their place in the world.
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Number of words: 970,000
Number of pages: 1,534
Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson is an epistolary novel. It was originally published in 1748 and predates the US revolution by close to 30 years. Over the story’s course, we learn about the tragic tale of Clarissa Harlowe and her quest for virtue. Nevertheless, her wealthy family’s preoccupation with social standing thwarts her attempts. The BBC ranked it as the 14th greatest British novel of all time. Plus, the Guardian also listed it among the top 100 best English Novels.
Sironia, Texas by Madison Cooper
Number of words: 1,100,000
Number of pages: 840,000
Madison Cooper has written perhaps the largest book in the world. Sironia, Texas, has won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Award. Most believe the book disguises the author’s hometown of Waco, Texas. Throughout the book, Cooper satirizes upper-class southerners with jest. Tam Lipscomb is just a child at the novel’s beginning. Still, he goes on to become the novel’s main character by its end.
Zettel’s Traum by Arno Schmidt
Number of words: 1,100,000
Number of pages: 1,334
Zettel’s Traum is also known as Bottom’s Dream, and it entered circulation in 1970. It was initially a German book, but English translations hit the market in 2016. Arno Schmidt took his inspiration from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. In particular, Schmidt leveraged Joyce’s use of columns from the previously released novel. Zettle’s Traum follows a couple who is translating Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Despite being over 1,300 pages long, the story occurs over a 25-hour timespan. Its unique style employs a Freudian understanding of language and distinct typographic features.
In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust
Number of words: 1,267,069
Number of pages: 4,215
Marcel Proust wrote the biggest book in the world at the time of its publication. In addition, it is well known for its length and its theme of involuntary memory. The book’s narrator retells memories from his upbringing in high-society France and later experiences. Simultaneously, he remarks on lost time and the lack of meaning in the world. The unnamed narrator details his experiences in the world as a child. By the end, he has told stories of falling in love and participating in society. This book has made a tremendous impact on the world of English literature.
Artamenes by Madeleine de Scudéry
Number of words: 1,954,300
Number of pages: 7,443
Artamenes may be the longest book released in French, containing over 7,000 pages. Nonetheless, it is an endless epic about real-life historical figures overlaid with fiction. Scudery references material as diverse as Herodotus’ Histories and Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. It evolves over ten parts and introduces new characters throughout. However, many of these characters reappear at various points, creating some continuity.
In the Realms of the Unreal by John MacGregor
Number of words: 3,786,250
Number of pages: 15,145
This illustrated book took more than a decade of research to produce. It is a thorough examination of Henry Darger’s life and his art. Further, it may be the largest work of fiction ever created too. This book tells the story of seven sisters called the Vivian Girls. Over time, the reader learns about a conflict over child enslavement on an alien planet.
The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm
Number of words: 11,338,105
Number of pages: 17,868
Nigel Tomm specifically wrote this to be the world’s longest book and released it in 21 volumes. Its expressionistic style unleashes a creative storm and disregards traditional rules. The first volume alone weighs in at over 390,000 words. If you are looking for a post-modern epic, this one might be it. Many of the book’s pages contain little more than the word blah.
Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach
Number of words: 17,800,000
Number of pages: 10,710
Mark Leach wrote what can be considered the longest book in the world ever released. He set it in the 60s, and the book follows a journalist. However, he turns away from journalism and becomes a filmmaker. This story’s plot invokes Christian themes and portrays everyday filmmaking events. As a result, it is fascinating to the millennial mind and is a chronicle of vengeance. Mark populated the book richly with cinematic illusions and delights in secret conspiracies.
The Grand Finale
If you are looking for the world’s longest book, it is on this list. An avid reader could spend months browsing these novels and exploring their worlds.
Prices last updated on 2022-03-03