Real talk: Long reads can sometimes be intimidating. But don't worry, you'll devour these epically long books in no time.More
"Swing Time" by Zadie Smith, $27, penguinrandomhouse.com.
Chanel Parks, beauty editor, @chanelinezp
Page Count: 608
Why It's Worth It: Everyone eventually has at least one intense friendship in which the politics of power are constantly shifting. Zadie Smith beautifully captures the hurt, love, happiness, and bitterness of such a friendship between her unnamed narrator and Tracey—two mixed-race girls coming to terms with where they fit within their families and who they are as individuals. In a time when race and gender are at the forefront of our cultural and political conversations, this is the perfect read to show how these issues affect our relationships.
Favorite Quote: "If someone said to us that only black people could come to Isabel's dance class, that wouldn't be nice or fair to us, would it? We'd be sad about that. Or that only black people could come into our school. We wouldn't like that, would we? I said nothing. I put Stormy Weather back in my rucksack and went home, walking beneath a Willesden sunset of petroleum colors and quick-shunting clouds, going over and over this curious lecture in my mind, wondering what she could have meant by the word 'we'?"
"In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1: Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust, $15, barnesandnoble.com.
Mallory Rice, deputy editor, @mallory-rice
Page Count: 606
Why It's Worth It: You know that contemporary writer you love, with the long, sweeping sentences that carry you down the page with such ease that it's as if you're not even reading, but floating along the river of a perfect rhythm your body has somehow already memorized? I'm willing to bet you $20 Marcel Proust taught that person how to write. The great news: If you like Swann's Way, there are six more volumes to read after that one (which will bring you to around 4,000 pages total).
Favorite Quote: "But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection."