"Game of Thrones" and Your Favorite Doorstopper Novels

Slate's Culture Blog
March 7 2011 1:20 PM

"Game of Thrones" and Your Favorite Doorstopper Novels

The buzz surrounding HBO's new epic fantasy series,  Game of Thrones ,is growing to a roar. A newtrailer just debuted last Thursday, and HBO hasannounced that it will air a new, 15-minute teaser on April 3, two weeksbefore the show's official April 17 debut.

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Thatgives you about six weeks to read AGame of Thrones , the first novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. And youreally should not because the books will necessarily be better than the show,or even because it's always fun to be one of those I-was-there-first viewers. I'm just recommending it because it'spretty awesome, and you deserve to enjoy this juicy saga as a standaloneexperience. 

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Iexpressed my love of the series  on the DoubleX gabfest  a few months ago, but myco-gabbers balked when I noted that the first book is 720 pages long. (Four books into aplanned seven-book run,the series already threatens to crush a nightstand at 3,504 pages.) But for me,the length was one of the novels' primary selling points. 

Ilove a great, fat, doorstopper of a book, particularly a well-wrought genrestory that, like Martin's, has no misgivings about seducing a reader with plot.Give me a well-told tale with plenty of intrigue and high drama, rich and idiosyncratic worldbuilding, and surprising and well-rounded characters and I'll happily burrow under my coverswith a flashlight for days. One of the greatest satisfactions of books like these is simply that you get to spend so much time in their worlds. The Song of Ice and Fire novels remind me ofwhat reading felt like when I was a kid, and books were places to get lost in.

Crucially,the books in this category which we might term the Good Genre Doorstopper areusually written in a smooth but not arty prose style. Or if they are ( CloudAtlas , say, or JonathanStrange & Mr Norrell ), they still privilege story over style. They propelpast their own literariness: They're rich and smart and satisfying but they'renot spinach. 

Bookslike these often come to me via personal recommendations. So I ask you, BrowBeat readers: What are your favorite big bricks of bookish pleasure? If we come up with a robust enough reading list, we'll share your picks in a future post.

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