Gigantic, Enormous, Gargantuan Books

If you're only allowed to borrow one book from the library, try one of these ginormous volumes. You may be able to skip a day at the gym if you carry one of these around with you.

Hawaii

By James Michener

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"...James Michener, introduced an entire generation of readers to a lush, exotic world in the Pacific with this classic novel. But it is also a novel about people, people of strength and character; the Polynesians; the fragile missionaries; the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos who intermarried into a beautiful race called Hawaiians. Here is the story of their relationships, toils, and successes, their strong aristocratic kings and queens and struggling farmers, all of it enchanting and very real in this almost mythical place."
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Dune

By Frank Herbert

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Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny.

On Film: people either love or hate David's Lynch's film version of Dune. But one thing you shouldn't miss is Kyle MacLachlan's performance as Paul Atreides. Having read the book first makes enjoying the movie easier.

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War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy

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"A sweeping, romantic saga of two noble families and their intertwined destiny, and a panoramic portrait of Russian society at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Tolstoy's unforgettable masterpiece has inspired love and devotion in its readers for generations.

"Now read the original version of Russia's most famous novel, which never made it to publication in Tolstoy's lifetime. Undiscovered for more than a century, this edition-with its subtly different characters, dialogue, and ending-is essential reading for devotees of Tolstoy and new readers alike: it is world-class fiction in its most vivid and vital form."

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Outlander

By Diane Gabaldon

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Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another... In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell, by chance, into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron's power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but ever he searched far and wide for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

On his eleventy-first birthday Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest --- to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

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The Wall

By John Hersey

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Riveting and compelling, The Wall tells the inspiring story of forty men and women who escape the dehumanizing horror of the Warsaw ghetto. John Hersey's novel documents the Warsaw ghetto both as an emblem of Nazi persecution and as a personal confrontation with torture, starvation, humiliation, and cruelty -- a gripping and visceral story, impossible to put down. This book was the number 4 best selling novel of 1950. The 1982 film based on this book is available on DVD.

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From Here to Eternity

By James Jones

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First published in 1951, From Here to Eternity brought author James Jones immediate fame and won him a National Book Award. The novel tells the story of the life of American soldiers stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii in the months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Jones accurately captured the isolation and boredom of the military personnel in a close-knit Army barracks, combining social and military history with the drama of the personal lives of its main characters - an enlisted man and a neglected officer's wife, and a prostitute and a military outcast. The novel was translated into a powerful film in 1953. Although the film toned down the raw sexuality and violence of Jones' novel, it captured the essence of the book and featured outstanding performances by Deborah Kerr, Burt Lancaster, Donna Reed, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra.

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Exodus

By Leon Uris

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Published in 1958, this 600-page novel was a sensation as millions read Uris' detailed, heroic chronicle of European Jewry from the turn of the century to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The novel was translated into dozens of languages and was even distributed secretly in communist countries. The birth of a new nation was depicted through many characters, but the story of an American nurse and an Israeli freedom fighter formed the nucleus of the work. Uris traveled to Palestine and covered the Arab-Israeli hostilities as a war correspondent. Two years later his masterpiece Exodus was published. Always known for the exacting detail of his research, Uris reportedly traveled over fifty thousand miles and interviewed over 1,200 people in preparation for writing the novel.
The 1960 movie version of Exodus, starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, was nominated for three Oscars. Paul Newman looked his absolute gorgeous best in this movie.

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Andersonville

By MacKinlay Kantor

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"Before there were The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals there was Andersonville. MacKinlay Kantor won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1955 for this novel, an epic account of the notorious prison camp in Macon County, Georgia. Though many of his characters are fictional, many are based on historical figures. Even some of the minor characters who appear as suffering prisoners of war are historical. Writing in the early fifties it was perhaps inevitable that Kantor drew subtle echoes of the Nazi concentration camps as he told this grim story of the greatest of Confederate war crimes. Kantor spent most of his life studying and writing about the Civil War. His emphasis was always on the small-town, ordinary citizens confronted with the horrors of Civil War.'

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Anna Karenina

By Leo Tolstoy

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"Regarded by many as the greatest novel ever written in any language, Anna Karenina relates the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer Count Vronsky. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, Anna's tragedy unfolds with relentless force as she rejects her passionless marriage to the aging official Karenin and must endure the hypocrisies of society."

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