Abridged Too Far

When long books shouldn’t be shortened.

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SO MANY BOOKS, so little time. To help you prioritize, we’ve condensed a few tree-killing tomes and calculated their reading level and readability scores according to the widely used Flesch-Kincaid algorithm (0=hard, 100=easy).

Rising Up and Rising Down

by William T. Vollmann

GRADE LEVEL: 12th

READING EASE: 56

3,352 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: Why can’t we all just get along?

Infinite Jest

by David Foster Wallace

GRADE LEVEL: 9th

READING EASE: 65

1,079 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: Tennis, footnotes, and pot are gateway drugs

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

GRADE LEVEL: 9th

READING EASE: 68

1,296 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: Russian names and winters are brutally long

Ulysses

by James Joyce

GRADE LEVEL: 6th

READING EASE: 81

816 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: Rambling Dubliner keeps literature profs employed forever

2666

by Roberto Bolaño

GRADE LEVEL: 15th grade

READING EASE: 42

912 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: Five dense postmodern books rolled into one

Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

GRADE LEVEL: 9th

READING EASE: 70

1,168 PAGES IN 7 WORDS: To each according to his ridiculous megalomania

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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