After I read Ford Madox Ford's four-part Parade's End, a birthday gift from my wife the English Major, which in the Penguin edition runs to 864 pages, I realized that I had an appetite for literary ocean voyages, circumnavigations of reading.
Last year I completed the twelve volumes of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. I also put away, in the same year, an hour at a time, every Tuesday night at adoration in the chapel at Blessed Sacrament Church, the 825 page Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is formidable, being a very granular history at 3360 pages in the Womersley edition.
My paternal grandmother, a devout Baptist, used to read the entire Bible every year. It is a different kind of reading from the stand-alone 300+- page novel. Hence, the maritime analogy. Gibbon is the literary equivalent of the whaler's "three-year tour".
Stay tuned for a Branches and Rain special feature, "Blogging Gibbon".