What is your long Kindle book?

Everyone should have a long book on their Kindle that they otherwise would never read.  Then, when you don’t feel like starting a whole new book on your Kindle, you dig into a small piece of your long book.  And stop.  As the years pass, you may eventually finish your long book (or not).

The long book on my Kindle is John Calvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion.  It’s impressive.  I don’t agree with Calvin, either theologically or temperamentally, but he is an extremely sharp thinker and writer, too often neglected for his extreme “Calvinism.”

After three years, I’m about eighteen percent finished.  And someday I hope to read more works by Calvin, although not someday anytime soon.

What is the long book on your Kindle?

Addendum: Kevin Drum comments.


The six volumes of Gibbon's "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"

Mommsen's history of Rome has been my companion for weeks.

Gibbon here too - I thought it was the obvious choice. But for me the great temptation of the Kindle is to turn it into a mini-library, so I've also got (amongst others) The Origin of Species and The Bible, and will probably get the Illiad. Hurray for progress! I'll take an easily portable library over a flying car any day.

A few months back the had the entire six volume Kindle set on sale at Amazon for $5.99......could not resist that deal

Same here! still just 12% complete...

Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad". Twain read in short doses is just fine.

Twain's "Following the Equator" was an earlier "book in the background".

You might like "'around the world in the yacht sunbeam" (if you have not already found it.)

Both Homer poems and Virgil's Aeneid

Those 3 (I did finish the Iliad) and the Divine Comedy.

Brothers K

once advised to re-read it every ten years or so, like the "always just there" plan better

The Holy Bible. Three chapters a day.

John Ryan's "Living Wage". Not a long book by any means, but it is the one I am currently reading in bits and pieces.

Sherlock Holmes and/or Wooster and Jeeves stories

Gibbon and Homer's Odyssey

Mine is Man, Economy, and State, but a few hundred pages in, I feel I am unlikely to ever finish. I expected more.

"This, reader, is an honest book."
Michel de Montaigne, of course.

Shogun, but I'm actually about halfway through. Also, George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire Series, which I am re-reading.

Montaigne (25% and it is astonishing how selective his quotations are) and Amadis of Gaul (not even close)


Gibbons' "Decline and Fall"

Karl Popper "The Logic of Scientific Discovery"

and, of course "Brothers K".

Plus, just finished "Anna Karenina"!

I have a paper copy of Mathematics for the Million that I'd like to have on my Kindle, but it doesn't seem to be available. It's a great book to read a chapter or so at a time, but it's too big to haul around easily.

Wow, I've got that book too. Mine is a red hardcover and probably about 60 years old. I think I got it from one of my old girlfriend's dad about thirty years ago. Haven't looke at it in about 15 years.

That's the second edition, which was the first to have an index. Unfortunately, the third edition replaced all of the figures drawn by Horrabin with figures drawn in a more modern style. I do not care for the third edition at all, but if this book were available for Kindle it would probably be the third edition.

I would love to switch over my H.L. Mencken _The American Language_ to the Kindle but for some crazy reason, that version is 40 dollars. So, paper it stays. (Well, there does appear to be a very poorly OCR'd version for six bucks. I'll continue to hold out.)

Heck, I've been reading that one in nibs and nubs since college. (Almost 20 years!)

Mine is Les Miserables (Julie Rose translation) -- 20%. Might I say that, for anyone interested in that sort of thing, John Calvin's commentaries are less exacting, and just as well written, as the Institutes and well worth a read, in just the "dip into" reading style TC suggests.

Les Mis for me too.

Me too, though I'm reading Les Mis in an old public domain unabridged English version from Project Gutenberg. (I compared it with a sample of one of the modern versions when I decided I wanted to read it, and the old free one was the clear winner IMO.) 42% complete in about a year's worth of reading.

War & Peace. Started it while sitting in court waiting for jury duty. Have made, to be polite, sporadic progress since then.

The real questino is what kind of a donation Jeff Bezos had to make to the Mercatus Center to change the post from its original title "What is your long generic non-branded electronic reading device book?"

I spoke to a translator of War & Peace at a dinner party once, and complained that I was pressed to finish it. He told me I could just skip a hundred pages ahead if I was bored.

Mine is the Mishneh Torah.

moby dick, which is so good that it could swallow my whole life.

next up, i was thinking spinoza, if i could find a decently-formatted copy.

The zone of privacy for religious belief was I think ultimately endorsed by Pope Leo XIII, probably one of the few people who could have read Spinoza's Ethics in the original Latin. Is the book worth reading other than for this central idea?

I wouldn't call that the "central idea" of Spinoza's Ethics...most centrally, it's a long argument for pantheism.

Ou peut-être c'était athéisme. Je ne sais pas.

The Collected Works of Sir Walter Scott: So far, I've only read Guy Mannering

I also have the Institutes, along with the collected works of Jonathan Edwards.

I bought "Gotham" by Burrows and Wallace when it was on sale for a buck or so. I've barely started it, and it's intimidating, but it's on the Kindle for someday.

The Philokalia (Complete Text). It was a long book on the shelves for a while and now on the Kindle. Been reading pieces parts for over 20 years now.

Not on my Kindle, but Goedel, Escher and Bach by Douglas Hofstadter is the book by my bed that has been there for 5 years and will continue to be there for 5 more years. Great book, too long and it takes too long to read (and think about) each page.

Great book, and an example of one that almost has to be read in its paper form.

I can certainly imagine an worthwhile e-version, with high quality recordings of the music to listen to, tools to make the proofs more accessible, hyperlinks, etc. But yeah, it sure seems like a standard lo-res text dump would be a serious downgrade to the book.

William Trevor - The Collected Stories

I recently downloaded Bleak House, which I did dip into over time. I ended up finishing it, though, so I guess it doesn't count. I will say the new Kindle's "time left in this book" feature is alternately motivating and maddening, particularly when it seems to move backwards. I will also say that the new Kindle's updated search features are very handy for looking up incidental characters in Victorian novels whose story you've forgotten.

There are a lot of abandoned books on my Kindle. Ones I may dip back into over time: collected works of Mark Twain and Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise, which I like, but really needs to be accompanied with an exploration of the music he is writing about. Other someday books: Gibbons, Caro, and more of the Taylor Branch history books.

Hegel's Philosophy of Mind. However I am not convinced that the version I have has, as claimed, been translated into English.

Having studied Hegel at university, your comment made me smile and I wanted you to know that! That might be the only thing philosophers can agree on...

Question for the commenters: What is your favorite source for **well-formatted** out of copyright books? Maybe this should be two questions: what is your favorite source for free copies, and what is your favorite source for nominally priced copies (say $0.49-$1.99)?

I've been plowing through some old Jules Verne.

Project Gutenberg is the obvious nominee here.

Amazon sells more than a few Project Gutenberg copies, as well, generally for free.

I love Project Gutenberg, but at least as they read on my Android's Kindle reader, they definitely would not qualify as well-formatted. Typesetting mistakes are very common.

Project Gutenberg is excellent, but you will find many treasures free of charge (or almost) on Amazon as well. Use the filtering function, and Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought will help you further.

A lot of formatting work has gone into the books at mobileread.com. I believe that the books at feedbook.com and manybooks.net have also had formatting work done. All public domain and free.

The Archives of Marginal Revolution.

"Mystical City of God" by Maria de Agreda. I pick a chapter at random and read it (they are short). I think Calvin would have benefitted from it tremendously. There are free copies for download on the web if you look around.

Ada or Ardor by Nabokov. You can't read much of it in one go because the brilliance leaves you breathless. No I mean actually breathless so you think you may just have a heart attack if you read a paragraph more and I have never had the courage to try.

Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations", not long at all but readable in small bites and almost every line in it bears repeating.

Democracy in America - Volumes 1 & 2 by Alexis De Tocqueville and Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.

I, too, work through De Tocqueville. I am also somewhere in volume 2 of Runciman's History of the Crusades.

De Tocqueville for me. It's amazing how many things he got right, and also amazing which things he got spectacularly wrong.

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" - I normally get through books at a quick clip, but this one has turned into a long read for me.

The Cambridge Medieval History volumes 1-5 by J.B.Bury, Length: 4055 pages (estimated).
I also have The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Collection of all his adventures, 9 Volumes in one Book) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Length: 1743 pages (estimated), and Complete Works of Charles Dickens (Illustrated)

Middlemarch, it took me over a year to finish. Now Les Miserables.

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Most of it is great, but I can only read a few of them before I need a break.

I have Sherlock Holmes and the Bible for this. And the Iliad on iPod; it's really good in 20 minute walk-to-work chunks between other Audible downloads.

The Origin of Species.

Grant's Memoirs.

Two, actually:

Collected works of William Shakespeare, maybe half of the way through. Only planning to read the plays, I find many of the sonnets tedious (a few are marvelous, though).

Churchill's series, starting with The Gathering Storm (which is the only one I have finished so far)

Hippolyte Taine "History of English Literature".

This is a great idea. I was going to go for Churchill's History of the English Speaking People but can't find it on Kindle... Will go with his WWII history instead.

Amazing Spider Man: The Complete Collection

Gotham. Purchased in Dec 2010.

Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah.

$50 in hardcover, $3 on the Kindle.

Oh, and the complete Oz series.

I believe I also have Gibbon on there. Wealth of Nations (yeah, I've never actually read it), Origin of Species, some other good ones from Gutenburg.

But I find I don't use the Kindle much anymore now that the new has worn off. It's good for travelling, but we don't travel that much. Otherwise I still prefer paper. I doubt I'll get far far on any of these.

I read Wealth of Nations (well, most of it...) in college, from an old bound edition that was probably ~100 years old. It smelled just like library. It was how that book was meant to be read. I imagine Gibbon is best experienced the same way.

Maybe the Kindle 3 will have scratch n sniff.

Moby Dick (and I would prefer Margaret Guroff's Power Moby Dick if it were available on Kindle)

Will also add Maimonides' Mishneh Torah whenever Chabad gets around to publishing their translation as a Kindle edition.

A book before it's time or maybe there is nothing new under the sun. (go ahead and use it for your one sentence review)
"The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" by Robert Tressell
OH! and BTW.. it's FREE on kindle

also Ken Follett's huge books "the Fall of Giants" and "Winter of the World"

Elephant in the room: e-readers are just another annoying gadget ... I prefer to read real books instead

yeah, but they are SO heavy. I need to keep my G&T (gin and tonic in case you didn't know) elbow away from anything over 2 lbs. AND.. if you travel a lot you know there is nothing better than a kindle/nook/ipad/etc.

This is virtually all I have on my Kindle. I'm making my way through U.S. Grant's memoirs and am actually halfway done with Vol. 2 after finishing Vol. 1 about three months ago. The behemoths I will probably never read are Mahan's Influence of Sea Power Upon History and the Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft. I'm also never finishing Theodore Roosevelt's Naval War of 1812, though just because I don't like the style (long quotations from other people tell me your book is probably at least twice as long as it should be).

Not A book, but I'm downloading all the issues of Punch. I have no idea how many pages this will add up to...and I don't care. I just started perusing them, so I don't have any data upon which to establish a pace.

I second (or third, whatever) The Divine Comedy. But I blame my non-completion on what I think is a crummy, tedious transation (I don't even remember who the translator was, I bought the book second-hand many years ago). I was able to get through "Inferno" because there was so much juicy gruesomeness; I don't remember if I even got to the second chapter or "Purgatorio". Highly uncertain if I'll ever reach "Paradiso". The Kindle-filler idea is a good one, except I don't have an e-reader.

I loved reading the Greek tragedies and comedies in college. We read almost half of the extant ones; I later bought translations of most of the other ones. But, on my own, I have only managed to read a few of Aristophanes' comedies. (This yet another example of why MOOCs and pure online courses can only succeed in limited niches; without the motivation of an actual classroom, professor, and fellow students it takes a lot of self-motivation to actually do the work. Most students will fail, as the 90-95% MOOC dropout rates demonstrate.)

Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, although print, not Kindle.

Keep it up with the Calvin; it gets easier as it goes by.

The brothers karamazov

Infinite Jest

It seems to satisfy Tyler's definition of "long Kindle book", the book, in additional to being long, must possess these 2 attributes:
1. It must be dense, in an informational/scholar sense.
2. It must be have some fundamental appeal to the reader (otherwise one would simply delete it.)

I have the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes and Asimov's foundation/robot series in my Kindle all the time, but I hesitate to call them my "long Kindle books" because they function more like reading "snacks". Calvin's book to Tyler, in contrast, is more like a house improvement project.

Isn't sad that any academic has to distance himself from anything theistic (" I don’t agree with Calvin, either theologically or temperamentally") or fear being shunned by their institution, colleagues or readers. Why not just mention the title?

Rawls: Theory of Justice. It's brutal.

The Complete Memoirs of Giacomo Casanova. It goes on forever, there are more characters than you can possibly remember, and the innumerable couplings and romances become a bit repetitive after a while, but it's a fascinating look into the life of a unique character. He rubbed shoulders with all manor of people, from kings and popes to scoundrels and slaves, all over Europe for much of the 18th century. He had multiple careers both legitimate and otherwise, made and lost fortunes, he was imprisoned by the Inquisition and escaped. And of course he always had time for the ladies (but don't read for down and dirty details because his descriptions barely approach R-rated territory). You can find it free on line.

War and Peace, although it's not a great book for it. It's actually very good, and would benefit from reading straight through. I just don't want to give it the time commitment it deserves.

More common for me is to have a few favorites or books that stand up well to rereading. Then you can dip in and out without decreasing the enjoyment. Kavalier and Clay and Cryptonomicon are good examples.

I have two: The Brothers Karamazov and Ulysses. There may be more but I cannot remember.

Was Atlas Shrugged till I just downloaded the Institutes of Christian Religion.

I wonder just how good those results are. Is that something a person would be able to do if given the same information about likes and anything else that went into the equations.

War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

Mogoliad, Book 3. Also Humboldt, Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America, During the Year 1799-1804 - Volume 1 (the title alone is longish) and Marsh, Man and Nature or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. I used to have, via Project Gutenberg, Pepys diaries.

I also have some medium length books in Spanish that I read much slower, so I consider them to be long.

I think the Humboldt must be the ne plus ultra of what Tyler was asking for. Cosmos is as far as I dared go. Maximum respect!

autobiography of U.S. Grant

The Mahabharata. I'm at 13%. There's some awesome fighting scenes with celestial weapons! The other one is In Search of Lost Time in French. 1%, only just started.

Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms - unknown translation. 13% after 2 years.

Shorter long work - Clarissa Harlowe
Up next, Works of George McDonald

Fascinating how many of these I've already read on my Kindle (I guess we like the free ones). Been thinking about Gibbon for years, and will have to add that.

Fiction first ...

Currently, I have a bunch of Rafael Sabatini. I've done "Captain Blood" and "Scaramouche" so far. I highly recommend these for lighter reading!

I'm also rereading the fantasy of Stephen Donaldson. This was a big deal 30 years ago (I paid for these). I am through was would be about 2K pages over 9 months, and am finding them to be very good ... even in my middle age. I love that it still pushes me to learn new vocabulary.

I did "Count of Monte Christo" too, over a year ... and didn't like it much.

I did "Women In Love" by D. H. Lawrence over about 6 months. Very conflicted about this one ... it pushed my (emotional) buttons enough to make me uncomfortable.

I tried out some Jeeves too ... meh. Read Gatsby for the first time (!!!) and thought it was pretty good for high school literature. "Three Men In a Boat" by Jerome was also OK. I also tried some H.P. Lovecraft (interestingly breathless, but not compelling), Johnston McCulley (boring) and Kate Chopin (started very strong) because I could get them for free.

Does "Suite Francaise" count if I plowed through it quickly (you may be able to stretch it out).

Here are my non-fiction ones that I stretched out:

Pisani's "The Wisdom of Whores" (excellent, and easy to pick up after a few weeks), Norberg's "In Defense of Global Capitalism" (great topics, but it's like reading a dictionary ... I was always glad to move on to something else), Mehrling's "Fischer Black ...", and if you're an econerd Anna Katherine Barnett-Hart's "The Story of the CDO Market".

Lastly, here's a strong suggestion for everyone looking for fictionalized non-fiction: James Herriot's (aka Alf Wright) series on veterinary practice in Depression era Yorkshire. These run to a few thousand pages, and are entertaining all the way through.

In line with Bury and Gibbon: George Grote, A History of Greece (11 volumes, plus 4 volumes on Aristotle & Plato).

Others, mostly unread, though Musil & Joyce and others are standbys:

Public domain:
Plutarch's Lives
Dryden's Aeneid
Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean
Hume, History of England
Henry Adams, History of the United States During the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison
Benedetto Croce, Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic
James Joyce, Ulysses
Samuel Pepys, Diary
Henryk Sienkiewicz, Pan Michael
Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

Non-public domain:
Robert Caro's LBJ biography. I wish the Power Broker was available as an ebook, it would fit this perfectly.
Chris Wickham, Inheritance of Rome
Robert Middlekauff, Glorious Cause: American Revolution 1763-89
Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty & The Creation of the American Republic
Zara Steiner, Lights That Failed/The Triumph of the Dark
Robert Musil, Man Without Qualities

Grr, my line breaks were eliminated. Here's a punctuated list:

Public domain: Plutarch’s Lives; Dryden’s Aeneid; Walter Pater, Marius the Epicurean; Hume, History of England; Henry Adams, History of the United States During the Administrations of Jefferson and Madison; Benedetto Croce, Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic; James Joyce, Ulysses; Samuel Pepys, Diary; Henryk Sienkiewicz, Pan Michael; Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy

Non-public domain: Robert Caro’s LBJ biography; Chris Wickham, Inheritance of Rome; Robert Middlekauff, Glorious Cause: American Revolution 1763-89; Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty & The Creation of the American Republic; Zara Steiner, Lights That Failed/The Triumph of the Dark; Robert Musil, Man Without Qualities

My long Kindle book is Macaulay's History of England....but I'm dangerously close to finishing, so I'll soon need a new one.

The Wealth of Nations. I think I'm 40% through!

I'm pleasantly surprised by your interest in theology. I presume you know, Tyler, that Cohen derives from the Hebrew for 'priest', and that Cohens are often called upon in Jewish circles to do 'priestly' things, like perform blessings etc. You probably know about the 'Cohen modal haplotype', which is claimed to be the genetic signature of the descendants of the priests.
Is your family name descended from the Jewish priests?

The problem I run into is I don't look at page counts when I buy and the Kindle itself is horrible at giving you a page count or some idea of how big the big is (i.e. 3% means what for christ'ssake)

Infinite Jest. I also recently started reading The Power Broker (Robert Caro's 1000+ pg biography of Robert Moses), and am really annoyed that there isn't a Kindle version; it's making it much harder to read the book, since I can't just stick it in my jacket pocket.

Wealth of Nations. It's interesting, if not terribly well organized. And I'd never ever have picked it up in 3D.

That said, I find the draw of simple quality fiction fills most of my non-productive Kindle time. Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind, Dune, John Green, etc.

My friend bought me the Institutes after reading this post. lol

Mine is the complete works of G.K.Chesterton. I love his religious commentary, but for those who wouldn't, there are short stories, novellas, and social commentaries aplenty. His Father Brown stories are a great antidote to Sherlock Holmes. A witty and sharp writer with too much to say about pretty much anything. Awesome in small doses.

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