This is how long it will take you to read the classics

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The Independent Culture

If you’re put off chugging through the almost 1,500 pages of War and Peace by the sheer dread of how many hours of your life such a task may steal from you, there is a fun solution to your woes.

Online database How Long to Read This does what it says on the tin and gives you a pretty accurate idea of how long it might take to reach the final pages of more than 12 million titles.

How it works is very simple. You simply search for a novel on the website and select the book cover that looks most like the one you’ll be reading. The cogs will whir away and come up with an estimated length of time based on the average reading speed on 300 words per minute. 

If you reckon you’re faster or slower than most, you can time your reading with a 125-word sample paragraph and get an even more accurate approximation.

Of course, one possible drawback, as noted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is that you are likely to read the simple supplied paragraph far faster than, say, Ulysses or Bleak House. So if you really want to do this properly, grab your copy and time yourself reading a similar length chunk from that instead.

How long it takes the average reader to tackle the classics:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - 7 hours, 56 minutes

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - 8 hours, 50 minutes

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - 9 hours, 17 minutes

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - 20 hours, 24 minutes

Ulysses by James Joyce - 9 hours, 37 minutes

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - 4 hours, 50 minutes

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - 4 hours, 15 minutes

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 5 hours, 26 minutes

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - 6 hours, 34 minutes

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - 2 hours, 21 minutes