That’s how my father would describe large books, and it always evokes images of ancient hardbacks, leather-bound spellbooks or something equally mysterious! For some reason, the phrase stuck in my head and made me wonder – just how weighty are the books that we lug around each day? And perhaps more importantly, what’s the heaviest?
Well, armed with my trusty kitchen scales, I set out to investigate. My mind first settled on A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, the concluding novel in the Wheel of Time series. It’s a chunky one in a series of hefty books.
On the scales, it comes out at 1.16kg, certainly a noticeable bulge in your bag if you’re carrying it to and from work each day.
But I thought that we could probably do better, and given that we’re on Brandon Sanderson, I had a look at Words of Radiance, also in hardcover, which clocks in at a pretty impressive 1.52kg! I briefly had a look at Oathbringer, but the UK version scrapes in at 1.48kg, so was barely worth a mention. I do also have the paperbacks of the first four novels in the Stormlight archive, which together come in at 1.63kg – very much more transportable than the hardcovers.
But wait! As many of you will know, I’m a huge fan of Clive Barker’s work, and some years ago, picked up the hardback versions of his Abarat saga as they came out. The first one is a relatively swift read at just under 400 pages, but it’s printed on really heavy paper because it has Clive’s original illustrations in it. The second and third novels are a bit longer, so I fished them all off the bookcase and put them on the scales.
The first novel – Abarat – clocks in at a fairly chunky 1.1kg. The second – Days of Magic, Nights of War, hits 1.2kg, but the third is the undisputed champion, clocking in at a huge 1.58kg, an extra 60g on Words of Radiance, but with barely half the page count!
With books like this, who needs a gym membership, eh?