Top 5 Wednesdays: Books That Took You the Longest to Read

Every year, there are a few books that seem like they take me forever to finish! I’m not really the type to abandon books that I have in progress. Most books take me 2-4 days to read, depending on the length of it. On an average work day, I usually read around 100 pages or so in the evenings since that’s my only time to read. In some cases, there are books that I thought I’d be able to fly through, only to find that they are a bit of a slog. I’m not even counting books that are especially long, like Kingdom of Ash. That one is close to 1000 pages, so it was no surprise that it took me nearly a week! I wish Goodreads offered a way to organize books by how long they took so I’d be able to easily find the ones that took longest. Since it doesn’t, I had to just go by memory of the books in the past few years that I remember struggling to get through.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain


I’ve mentioned this book several times before, but it was the first one that immediately came to mind when I saw this week’s topic! To be fair, this book is a bit on the longer side at close to 500 pages, but I just couldn’t connect with the writing style and found myself getting so bored. It took me a total of 6 days to finish, and that’s after switching to an audiobook version instead to get through the second half. I thought the audio version was much more engaging and it was much easier to pay attention to it through the lengthy descriptions. To be fair, 6 days is not the worst for a book of this size, but I feel like it would have been much longer had I stuck to the physical copy! I was so disappointed since I love the Arthurian legend and had read The Once and Future King without a problem, but I just couldn’t get into this one. I think I just don’t connect very well with Mark Twain’s writing. The only other book of his that I’ve read so far is Tom Sawyer, which I liked better but also not nearly as much as I’d expected. I’d like to eventually read Huck Finn and The Prince and the Pauper, but my experience with this one has really put me off.

2) The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


To be fair, I had very little interest in this book in the first place, and only picked it up because I saw a ton of hype around it. This book is just over 300 pages (which I can normally finish in 2-3 days), and it took me 5 days to read. I’d seen so many reviews for this one talking about how “powerful” and “fast-paced” it was, and given that it was such a short book, I thought I’d fly right through it. Unfortunately, the book was neither of those things for me. I agree that from a technical standpoint, it was very well-written but I didn’t feel any form of emotional connection to the characters. There were some sections that I really enjoyed, but I also found that having some familiarity with American history, not much of the story was particularly shocking to me. I found that the story was told from such a distance that I couldn’t get that invested in the main character, and ended up feeling like I was forcing myself to continue reading, which was especially frustrating given that the book is pretty short!

3) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


I was familiar with the very basics of this book because of a variety of adaptations, so I finally decided that it was about time to read it a couple of years back. This is another book that was on the short side, at only 280 pages, but it ended up being a huge struggle to get through and took me 5 days. The most brutal part for me was the incredibly boring “framing story” at the beginning, which describes the narrator finding the story of the scarlet letter. It was a very long, very dry way to open the book and almost put me off even continuing with it. Luckily, as soon as it moved on to the main story about Hester Prynne, I was much more interested. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style of this one either, and found my attention wavering quite a bit throughout. I was glad to have finally read this one, but disappointed with the overall experience of actually reading it. I was also a bit surprised to realize how much more there was to the plot than I’d seen in the adaptations which tend to focus just on the letter pinned to Hester’s clothes. I couldn’t get very invested in this one.

4) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke


I remember this book becoming very popular around the time I was finishing elementary school, but I never had much interest in trying it at the time. I finally decided to give it a chance to see what I’d missed, and ended up regretting it! At 560 pages, it actually didn’t take me an unreasonable amount of time to finish (5 days), but it felt like it took so much longer! I assumed it would be an easy read because it is geared toward a middle grade audience, but I found it so slow and boring. I loved the idea behind the book and really liked the beginning, but I thought it took way too long for the story to really get going, and never connected with the characters or the plot. Reading this book ended up feeling like such a chore, and it was another one that I ultimately switched to alternating between the audio and physical versions just to move it along. I was so disappointed that I didn’t end up loving it, and especially that a middle grade book was so tough to get through.

5) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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I’d assumed this book would be an easy 5-star read because of how much I’d loved Uprooted, so I was disappointed to find that I had a much tougher time getting into this one. I still ultimately enjoyed it and rated it 4 stars, but I was a bit frustrated by my slower progress. This is another book that is close to 500 pages, and took me a very reasonable 6 days to read, but it felt like it took so long! In this case, I think it was a matter of poor planning on my part, since I tried to read this one in the evenings after work when I was too tired to really absorb it, instead of starting it on a weekend like I’d originally planned. My biggest gripe with the book is the way it changed perspectives without giving any indication of who was narrating. It usually wasn’t too difficult to figure it out, but I found it a bit annoying, and I generally found the book very slow to get through. I think this is a book I’d like to eventually give another chance, since I often tend to like books less when I read them very fragmented over several days. I loved the overall concept, and I think I might end up liking this one, or at least having an easier time with it next time.


One thought on “Top 5 Wednesdays: Books That Took You the Longest to Read

  1. I love Inkheart and Spinning Silver, but they took me a little while to get into too. If you decide to continue reading the Inkheart trilogy, I liked the second book best, so you might find yourself enjoying it more. Lovely post! Hope you enjoy your next reads more 🙂


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