I'm not afraid of reading long books. A few summers ago I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged and It. Last year I read Don Quixote. One of my favorite series, The Sword of Truth, has eleven books that are 700-1000 pages long. I don't mind novels that draw near a thousand pages. Many times I end up enjoying these books. The problem comes when time is a factor.
A month ago we had to read Vanity Fair in the two weeks between my class, The Long Century. It was the second of six novels we're reading this semester for the course and it was a challenge to get through the novel. Especially since about 300 pages could have been removed without losing a lot of story. There was a ton of repetition.
Now I have entered the two week period where I get the challenge of reading Middlemarch inside of a two week period. This is a 900-page behemoth of a Victorian-era novel. To top things off my other class also is having me finish the last 200 pages of Angela's Ashes in the same two week period. Holy crap that is a lot of reading in a short span of time. I feel like I'm running a literature marathon here.
Now that the spring semester is closing in near the end, I'm trying to figure out my own reading goal list for the summer. I'm trying to keep in mind that next spring I'll be doing my Senior Project and what I might do for that. A 25 page paper sounds like a lot, but I'm sure I can easily eclipse that mark if I get a great topic that encompasses some awesome literature.
My initial thoughts are either comparisons of some of the major King Arthur novels (Le Morte d'Artur, The Once and Future King, The Mists of Avalon, Idylls of the King come to mind immediately for that) or something like the evolution of the "hero" in novels (starting with something like Beowulf, hitting novels like Odyssey, The Three Musketeers, could hit an Arthur/Lancelot novel, and then some more recent works like The Lord of the Rings and some other current fantasy novels).
I'd like to hear some opinions on what might be good books to look into for either of those topics. I've got an impossibly long list of books I want to read someday, and there are probably many I wouldn't think to look into. Suggestions?