Grip, lift, curl, open, read a page, close, lower and repeat

By the Numbers

October 17, 2004|By HARTFORD COURANT

Couch potatoes may be getting the best upper-body workouts these days, courtesy of some heavy reading of, quite literally, weighty subjects.

Take, for instance, last month's Vogue, a letter carrier's nightmare weighing 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Vogue proudly announced that its fall fashion spectacular, weighing in at 832 pages, was its "biggest issue ever." October's 35th anniversary of Interview magazine, its largest issue at 384 pages, weighed less than half of Vogue, but its oversize format made it no less unwieldy than the fashion bible.

Home cooks will do well to work out with whole sides of beef before tackling two of the season's most muscular cookbooks. The New Best Recipe, from those busy culinary elves at Cook's Illustrated, is a 1,028-page whopper at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. Just slightly heavier (courtesy of the cream sauces, perhaps) is the 6-pound The Gourmet Cookbook, the ambitious new undertaking from the famed foodie magazine. At 1,040 pages, the cookbook contains a staggering 1,283 recipes.

Fall's most anticipated fiction book, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke, might make magical reading, but at 800 pages, you might need an assistant to help perform the trick of just turning pages.

But arty publisher Assouline may have trumped everyone in the coffee-table book department with its Paris, a 1,000-page homage to the City of Light that - at 10 pounds - isn't exactly something to tuck into your suitcase.

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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