Many of you know that I’m an audiobook lover. This wasn’t always the case, but I’ll get more into that in a different post. When I crochet, I’m usually listening to an audiobook (or watching TV if I’m feeling cheeky). Often, there is a project that will take me a bit longer than usual, and I like to have something that will accompany me through that process.
These chunksters are great if you’re searching for a book that’s got some serious meat to it. They span several genres, but all have one major thing in common: they’re thick and juicy. I’ve tried to include a nice selection of titles for all kinds of readers.
What projects go best with these books?
If you’re not a crocheter, fear not! There are tons of projects that can go with these books. The main goal here is that it’s something that’s going to take longer than your average 7-hour audiobook.
As crochet is my craft of choice, I’ve listed here some projects that are great for one of these longer options:
Sweaters. Especially when you get to that huge block of repetition for the body.
Blankets. No explanation needed.
Repetitive patterns. Pretty much anything that takes forever and doesn't require full focus.
5 Books for Long Projects
Long Story Short
This is for my historical fiction lovers. Rutherfurd is an excellent author for if you’re all about the history of a place. Tracing a fictional genealogical line through time, this novel is a chonker that takes you on a journey across the many versions of London, from the time of Druids to modernity.
I was given this book as a gift before moving to London for a semester. She gave it to me because someone gave it to her before she moved to London. But I didn’t actually get to reading it until nearly a year later. I think I was a little intimidated by its length. I always used to get nervous about thick books (this was during a time when I would never have given up on a book).
When I finally picked it up, I was immediately absorbed. I would often read on my lunch break at work, listening to a Spotify playlist that still gives me flashbacks when I hear it now. The fictional lineage that Rutherfurd traces has a gene that is noticeable enough that in his tacit description of people as you jump through time, you can recognize who is a member of that family tree.
Even though this book is thick, it’s not too hard to consume it in chunks. Most of the time, a chapter is a period of time before you fast forward, so you could easily listen for a little bit, and then put it down without feeling like you’ve disrupted the story too much. It’s also a really approachable novel for people who want to invest in something a bit longer than the standard paperback but aren’t confident in their stamina.
Long Story Short
King steps away from his usual vein of straight horror to bring us this eye-candy-covered thriller/sci-fi novel. Kids have mental powers, adults hold the real power, and the page count continues to rise endlessly.
I’ve never liked King. But I think it’s important to give a little nod to authors that have a reputation for being great. Just because he’s never been my cup of tea, doesn’t mean he isn’t someone else’s. Plus, I also think that you have to at least try to read an author’s book in its entirety before you knock ‘em. This was my King-quota.
If you’re a fan of thrillers that err on the side of sci-fi, this might be a good fit. Like all of King’s novels, it’s a bit of a beast. Littered with more dialogue than likely necessary, it’s good for passing the time or multitasking as you don’t have to concentrate too hard on every word and it’s a breeze in terms of easy reading.
The long and the short of it is that children around the USA are secretly being abducted (their families being murdered first, of course) and end up in the Institute, where they learn of their mental powers (either telepathy or telekinesis). We don’t know why they’re there, what’s going on, or really much else. And so the multi-hundred-page journey begins.
The main reason I’d recommend this as an audiobook is that it’s narrated by Santino Fontana. You’ll most likely know him as the voice of Hans in Disney’s Frozen or Josh from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I know him as a broadway sensation. Regardless, he’s a talented narrator with a perfectly-pitched voice.
Long Story Short
If you like psychological thrillers, fainting women, and crumbling castles, you’re gonna love this one. This is an absolute classic for gothic romance and a totally underrated novel, in my opinion. Complete with innocent young women being courted by mysterious but handsome men, it’s a great novel for exploring alternatives to the mainstream classics.
I first discovered this book in my Gothic Literature course that I took in London during college. I had a very charismatic professor who spoke with so much glee when discussing the Gothic, it was difficult not to also get really pumped about it.
At first glance, The Mysteries of Udolpho is long. When people are approaching classics for the first time, they might get intimidated by a book like this. But don’t let it scare you too much! It’s actually a relatively smooth read given its size.
At its core is our fair heroine, Emily, whose mother dies at a young age and whose father takes her on a journey through the country. She meets Valancourt (lol the name), falls in love, gets whisked off to a random castle for unrelated reasons, and gets pressured into marrying a random creep with a Count title. You know. The usual gothic stuff.
This novel was written at the height of Gothic literature and was one of the first ones to explore the psychological side of a thriller in the context of its characters. If you’re a fan of Jane Eyre this will be right up your alley.
Long Story Short
As the first book in the His Dark Materials series, this is a great book to dive into for people who love a solid trilogy. Despite its label as a “children’s book,” fantasy and adventure are definitely for all ages. Armed polar bears, disappearing children, daemons, and more await you in its pages (plus, it has full-cast narration!).
It took me embarrassingly long to get to this book, and while I’m sad I didn’t get to experience it in my childhood, I’m grateful to have been cognizant of its charm and wonders reading it in my adult years. There’s something about rewatching TV shows or reading books from my younger years that is so pleasant. It’s a new experience when you can catch the references and subtle jokes that just went totally over a child’s head.
Most people have had The Golden Compass on their radar for decades, or more recently if you’re into the new HBO version of the series. Pullman is a beloved author and continues to write within the universe of His Dark Materials in a new follow up series (the last installment was published in Fall, 2019).
But if you’re not on the bandwagon, let me clue you in. The Golden Compass is a story of adventure surrounding young, witty, and empathetic Lyra, who sets out to solve the mystery of the missing children and this strange thing called “dust.” (The fun kind, not the stuff that you’re constantly chasing off your shelves).
As she journeys to the deep north where few dare to go, she meets incredible people and mythical creatures along the way. It’s a story of adventure, friendship (isn’t it always?) and innocence. Definitely worth a read at any age.
This is an interesting series also because of its religious undertones (not in a preachy way) that is really only apparent if you read as an adult who grasps theological concepts. It’s in these kinds of elements that I derive great joy reading and re-reading “children’s” books.
Long Story Short
This book will emotionally overwhelm you, devastate you, and never completely leave you. BUT WAIT. Don’t write it off. Yes, it’s a really intense book, but it’s also a story about friendship, pain, and resilience. It takes liberties with the lengths it goes to display loneliness and isolation, but at its core, it’s a book about being human and the limitations that humanity carries.
I made the terrible mistake of trying to read this book in 2 days. I had a book club coming up and I was desperate to finish. Books like A Little Life are not meant to be consumed in one sitting. They are mean to be chewed on and consumed in approachable chunks. It’s what makes this such a good book to craft with because you can enjoy a 30-minute sitting and feel like you’ve had just enough.
Anyway, about the plot. The book surrounds the lives of four friends living in New York. It starts during their college years and follows them through to middle-age. The central character’s name is Jude, and though the other characters get their fair share of the spotlight, it’s Jude who is the most mysterious and influences a substantial amount of the group dynamics.
Most people who read this book will tell you that it takes a substantial emotional toll on the reader. This is especially true if you’re not accustomed to or haven’t been exposed to a lot of trauma in your life. I think that it’s always going to be challenging to cope with pain (physical or psychological) inflicted on people, even if it’s fictional. But this is particularly challenging for people who have no tools to navigate trauma because they have no first-hand experience.
That being said, I think that the amount may be a bit much, but the presence of trauma is what makes this a valuable novel to read. Fiction should explore all corners of the human experience, and this novel sure attempts to do so.
Of course, there are loads of other books that are great for long projects, but these are a few to get you started. If you’re new to audiobooks or are on a budget, I’d recommend exploring the apps Librivox and Libby. Librivox is a collection of public domain audiobooks narrated by volunteers. Libby is an app that uses your local library card to help you access audiobooks (and books). They are both completely free!