With the world focusing on Sochi for the Olympics, we’re getting ready to cheer on our athletes. As we live vicariously through these athletes who have put years of effort into preparing for their moment, we got thinking of our own endurance tests and came up with a list of books or series that will take some time, but result in a major payoff for you. While a nation of people might not stand teary eyed and cheering when you finish, you’ll still be glad you finished working your way through these epic stories.
You may know it as A Game of Thrones, but George R.R. Martin’s beloved series is captured under the title of A Song of Ice & Fire. With 5 books already published, this encyclopaedic series delves into the world of Westeros and the fight for control of the 7 Kingdoms.
The majority of the story can be found in the books:
If these 5 books (which are around 1000 pages each) aren’t enough for you, no need to worry. While we’re still waiting for the next book in the series, you can thank The Seven for the DVDs (available here), the video games, the graphic novels, and the cook book (A Feast Of Ice And Fire.)
Staying in the fantasy realm, J.R.R. Tolkien left a wealth of writing on the topic of Middle Earth. The Hobbit (also on dvd, e-book, audiobook) is great on its own, but of course also laid the ground work for The Fellowship Of The Ring , The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. If that wasn’t enough and you needed more lore from Tolkien, The Silmarillion explains much regarding why Middle Earth is as it is. Between that and The Children of Húrin, you’ll have everything you need to best even Stephen Colbert in knowledge of Middle Earth. Of course, knowing the background also makes the series that much more enjoyable.
If world-building fantasy series aren’t your thing, never fear. There are plenty of standalone great long-reads around. 11/22/63 takes you from the present to the past and provides an engrossing tale about all of the characters (and life) in the time leading up to the assassination of JFK (sorry about the spoiler.)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt follows the life of Theo Decker, a teenager who loses his mother in a terrorist attack at an art gallery, which at the same time loses a valuable piece.
Kenn Follett has provided his own epic medieval set stories: Pillars of the Earth, and the follow-up, World Without End. If you’d prefer something a little more modern, Follet’s Century Triology takes you through the world wars and social upheaval that shaped the Western world into what it is today.
Of course, there are other great feats of endurance worth the effort: The Harry Potter Series, the Tolstoy classic War & Peace, most books by Stephen King, The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and Gone With the Wind (the book is by Margaret Mitchell) come to mind. While we certainly encourage you to get your exercise, if all these sports have you inspired it may just be the perfect time to sit down and delve into a world that can hold you in for days, weeks, or months.
If you have a favourite that can keep you entertained, please feel free to share. We love hearing about your favourites and suggestions. Enjoy the Olympics, and if you feel like playing the national anthem and raising the flag when you’re done don’t worry (we won’t judge.)