This week my Facebook feed was ablaze with findings from research done by Yale University suggesting that book lovers live longer (sometimes, not always, accompanied by YouTube clips of Oasis singing “Live Forever“). In the interest of living a long long long long life, I decided to do some ‘science’ of my own. If reading books makes you live longer, which book on my TBR pile would boost a readers’ longevity most? Here’s how things panned out:
This re-issued classic measures in at a paltry number — so small it barely registers on my tape measure unless I squint. It does, however, pack a big wallop: a dense novella about a poor girl in Rio de Janeiro.
More promising is Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety — a 872-page door stopper that tackles the French Revolution. It shadows three men Robespierre, Desmoulins, and Danton, from their childhood, and charts the rise of the Reign of Terror. As a longtime fan of A Tale of Two Cities, I feel like this book would make a good entry into Mantel’s fiction while adding years to your life.
Now we’re getting places. Vollmann’s 1300+ page account of the Nez Perce War (not to be confused with pince nez) is sure to aid readers questing for immortality. It also offers an immersive look at the conflict between Native Americans and European colonials. Washington Post called it,”the reading experience of a lifetime.”
When the books are best measured vertically, you know you are on the right track. Danielewski’s The Familiar is not only HUGE, it’s a wildly experimental novel that centres around a 12-year old epileptic girl named Xanther.
What can I say? I like big books! Which big books will you use to read yourself into old age?