The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
I know, I know, you really don't need yet another person telling you to read this book. It's had such good press, and so many glowing reviews, that my opinion is pretty insignificant at this point. But I'm going to tell you to read it anyway, and here's why. I've seen you walk in the store, and pick it up. And then I've seen you put it back down again. Because it is a BIG book. There seems to be a rather large contingent of people who are interested, but freaked out by its size. I'm here to tell you, don't be.
Before The Goldfinch, I was going through a phase where I couldn't finish anything. I was only reading short stories, because that's all that could keep my attention. This was going on for about three months. And now you're wondering why on earth I would start an 800 page novel. In short, I happened to be flying somewhere and I thought confinement on a plane, coupled with one ginormous book, would cure me of my reading slump. Great plan, right? Well, I'm pretty sure my "genius" plan would only have worked with this particular book. After I opened it for the first time, I was hooked...no, I was enchanted. I felt physical pain whenever I had to close it. Getting off the plane, sleeping, going to work; I hated every minute of not reading that book. After three months of struggling to finish 15 to 20 page stories in less than two weeks, I steamrolled through The Goldfinch, all 800 glorious pages of it, in about a week.
You've already read the amazing reviews. It's all true. If you were hesitating at all, hear me now and hesitate no longer. This book is suspenseful and sad, beautiful and often hilarious. I haven't loved characters this way in a long, long time. In fact, I say with absolute certainty that The Goldfinch contains my favorite character. Of all time. From any book. Ever. Tartt's writing is so breathtaking it's sometimes unbelievable. I could read 800 more pages of this. Seriously, it's in my top five favorites. Spectacular.
And in even better news, it did cure my reading slump....well, it cured it after I was finally able to bring myself to read something other than The Goldfinch. That's another odyssey entirely.