I like big (awkwardly big) books and I cannot lie

Look it’s the list that no one was asking for – a list of books chosen for their size! (Fun fact: the British Library arrange the tens of thousands of books in their catalogue according to size, not alphabetically, to make use of their limited space).

Here are some great, unwieldy books that will render any commute unmanageable and small bookshelves insufficient – but are definitely worth the arm ache.

(hands included for scale)

1. Letters of Note Vol 1 & 2


Not that long ago the busy network that covered the country wasn’t wifi, it was post. Letters were born across countries, as if by current, stuffed in mailboxes, thumbed, scribbled on, read, and reread. Records of relationships, historic events, mundane events – poetry, songs, fury, all trapped in envelopes across the world.

Sean Usher waded through these letters to find the best of the best and produced a (large) book called Letters of Note (and then a second one not long after). Both feature letters from all sorts of different people, from presidents and rockstars to soldiers and poets. They are remarkable catalogues of humanity (like the opposite of an Argos catalogue).

2.Lists of Note


After the success of Letters, Usher turned his attention to lists. Can lists really be as interesting as letters? Turns out yes. Lists of Note features Evelyn Lincoln’s list of suspects in the JFK assassination (scribbled aboard Air Force One, just hours after the murder), Galileo’s shopping list, the list of all 54 rejections David Markson received for experimental novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress and F.Scott Fitzgerald’s list of conjugations for ‘cocktail’ (Imperative: Cocktail!), amongst others.

3. New Yorker Book of Cartoons


A big beast of a book stuffed full of all the cartoons you could ever want, sorted chronologically. Good for getting a taste of history, bad if you have no upper body strength.

4. A Decade in the Shithouse


All the hilarious Modern Toss comics in one convenient retrospective equals ‘2kg of 21st century bollocks’.