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Archives 2016 > November - Big Books Challenge

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message 1: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
Hi all - I am adding a thread to discuss the "Big Books Challenge" for the month of November. We started off discussing how some of us had been avoiding those thick tomes and that it would be great to have a challenge to dig into them. At this point, i am thinking of reading:
By Gaslight
The Luminaries
This might be a bit optimistic as I have a few other books for November that I want to read to prepare for events but I will give it a go.

What will you read?


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 2125 comments I remember reading The Goldfinch LAST November. Does that count!?!


message 3: by Rainey (last edited Oct 08, 2016 07:28AM) (new)

Rainey | 848 comments I think I will do Middlemarch in November instead of trying to read it this month.

By Gaslight looks really good too.

Great idea.


message 4: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments Ummm, this is going to be tough!!
I originally thought about A Suitable Boy, but then I can't resist re-reading Shōgun, or other James Clavell books and Paris.


message 5: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
so many pages, so little time!!!


Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 2125 comments I will have to cross reference page counts with my TBR. I've had my eye on By Gaslight, so that one is definitely on my radar.


message 7: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
Seems that by Gaslight is going to be a popular pick!


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane (Tvor) | 548 comments Hmm I have Gaslight, I wasn't going to read it in November but if it's going to be popular, maybe I will and we can discuss it! I had Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan, Barkskins by Annie Proulx on my list for November and Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I wasn't sure I would manage to read all three and Stalin's Daughter would be a library read anyway so maybe I'll start with Gaslight :)


message 10: by Petra (new)

Petra | 864 comments I really liked Skippy Dies, Susan, (except for one character that I thought had really immature thinking processes....and he wasn't a student). It's a book that doesn't get a lot of attention.
Also loved The Blind Assassin.

Barkskins is a book that I'd like to read soon.

Although I'm bad about sticking to a plan, I would like to concentrate on books I own in order to clear some space.
Some options are:
By Gaslight
The Luminaries
House of Leaves
Vanity Fair
No Name


message 11: by Allison (last edited Oct 09, 2016 07:14AM) (new)

Allison | 2311 comments I'm going to take the opportunity to read one big book that I own. I'm thinking it'll be Sarum: The Novel of England, The Luminaries or The Goldfinch. Today I'm leaning toward the first, but we'll see! It would actually be a reread for me -- I read it about 12 years ago -- but many things in my life have been reminding me of it recently, and I've been really intrigued to read it again!

@May, I see that you've also listed a Edward Rutherford book. He really is a great writer.


message 12: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye | 625 comments @allison
maybe start with the goldfinch....I loved that book so much I read it far more quickly than I thought it would take.
then you'll have the time to tackle another.
just a suggestion.
I too am reviewing my options: the suitable boy, two lives, Quicksilver, Sarum, the crimson petal and the white, the runaway soul and 2666 by !Roberto bolano all waiting


message 13: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 848 comments Allison wrote: "I'm going to take the opportunity to read one big book that I own. I'm thinking it'll be Sarum: The Novel of England, The Luminaries or The Goldfinch. T..."

I loved Sarum. Enjoy if you go with that choice.


message 14: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments @Allison & @Magdelanye, I read Sarum over Christmas last year and really liked it. I was debating amongst New York: The Novel, Russka: The Novel of Russia and Paris, which I all have, but since I went to Paris over the summer, it wins out :D


message 15: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 848 comments May wrote: "@Allison & @Magdelanye, I read Sarum over Christmas last year and really liked it. I was debating amongst New York: The Novel, Russka: The Novel of Russia and [book:Pari..."

Paris is on my bucket list, so is the novel.


message 16: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2311 comments I own all of those books too, @May, as well as New York: The Novel, but because they're so BIG, I don't ever think to pick them up!


message 17: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments @Allison, maybe @Susan can run a Big Book Challenge every year, so at least we can get to them bit by bit :)


message 18: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2311 comments May wrote: "@Allison, maybe @Susan can run a Big Book Challenge every year, so at least we can get to them bit by bit :)"

Yes, perfect! For sure... :)


message 19: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Penney | 791 comments I opted for "Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present" by Conrad Black. 1,200+ pages on a subject that admittedly has inexcusable gaps for me.


message 20: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2311 comments Oh wow, Natasha! Great choice!!


message 21: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
May wrote: "@Allison, maybe @Susan can run a Big Book Challenge every year, so at least we can get to them bit by bit :)"

Great idea May!!


message 22: by Diane (new)

Diane (Tvor) | 548 comments I loved Sarum, too! Also, his book about London is very good. The book about Paris doesn't go back as far, just to the late 19th century but it's quite good, as well.


message 23: by Petra (new)

Petra | 864 comments Rutherford can tell a good story. My favorites by him (so far) are London and The Forest.


message 24: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments Edward Rutherfurd has written some epic reads, that's for sure!


message 25: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye | 625 comments wow, I had no idea that Sarum was so loved. Over the years I've picked up a few but more than their size I hesitated to dive in because they are on my guilty pleasure list. I could say more about that one;
suffice to say, after all the affirmative comments, I can put it where it belongs, with historical fiction.
@Natasha. that's an impressive project. I hope you will keep a lighter companion book, perhaps some poetry, for balance :+)
I like the idea of November being our huge reads month.
next year Proust!


message 26: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye | 625 comments I meant Rutherford of course. Sarum is one of the ones I have, also London and one more, I hope its the forest. will check today and make the switch from guilty pleasures ( boxed) to the historical fiction section of my library. I have filled the four bookcases I got last month and still could use one more!


message 27: by ✿✿✿May (last edited Oct 10, 2016 09:12AM) (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments For my second book beside Paris, I am debating a re-read Shōgun or Saigon. Interesting history about Anthony Grey was that he was imprisoned for 2 years during the Cultural Revolution from 1967-1969 while reporting for Reuters. Such tough decision!
@Magdelanye, big historical fictions are my guilty pleasures, but these days I just don't have enough time to read them.


message 28: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 576 comments I am going to try and give The Fountainhead a try-although everyone I know tells me not to bother reading it-it is on a lot of the "100 books everyone must read" type lists, so I want to get it out of the way.


message 29: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 848 comments Heather(Gibby) wrote: "I am going to try and give The Fountainhead a try-although everyone I know tells me not to bother reading it-it is on a lot of the "100 books everyone must read" type lists, so I want t..."

I have read The Fountainhead and her other book Atlas Shrugged multiple timea. I actually enjoyed the storyline for both. I rhink the writing for Atlas Shrugged is better.


message 30: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye | 625 comments Atlas Shrugged is the book that made me aware of duplicity in literature. I was still a teen when I read it, and my initial reaction was to thrill at the romance of it. Within a short while I realized that this was just a cloak for an apologia for monopoly capitalism. the doublespeak is more glaring in the fountainhead, and I finally ditched it halfway through.
this is considered an essential read? makes me wonder who authorizes these lists.


message 31: by Petra (new)

Petra | 864 comments I read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead in my younger days. I remember enjoying them both.
I would suggest that if you haven't read any Ayn Rand before that you give Anthem a try. It's shorter and if you like the writing and what she's saying, then you'll enjoy her longer books.


message 32: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1585 comments Rainey wrote: "I think I will do Middlemarch in November instead of trying to read it this month. ."

I really want to read Middlemarch too but I think I need to make that a summer project.


message 33: by Mj (new)

Mj | 1202 comments Lots of possibilities for BIG BOOKS.

@ Petra, Magdaylane & Heather
I too read a number of Ayn Rand books in my youth and really enjoyed them. I've always been fascinated by how polarized readers are about these books. It's often THE BOOKS that really LOWER taste comparisons when doing the Goodreads compare books.

It's interesting because I wasn't a heavy duty capitalist in my youth, nor am I now. I think that giving a hand up is part of being a contributing member of society and of making society better.....and yet Rand's books really struck a chord with me about taking responsibility for oneself. The books were also written in the extreme, illustrating how if no one took initiative or responsibility...nothing would be created or happen so I found they really made me think about cause and effect.

The diverse opinions are fascinating. I've often thought about revisiting these books to see what I think so many years later. It really seems like a LOVE....HATE relationship. I'm thinking it would perhaps be an excellent choice for one of my in-person book clubs. Sounds like some guaranteed differences in opinion and lots discussion.


message 34: by Petra (new)

Petra | 864 comments Mj, I am also not a capitalist, nor did I much of capitalism (if anything) when I read the books.
I was, however, an insecure teen at the time and these books made me start to see that one can have a responsibility to oneself and, therefore, could help steer one's future (not everything, of course, but one did have some say in some way). It at least got me thinking along the lines of being a part of the community while still caring for oneself. There can be a balance. I find that I still look for balance between my needs/wants and the group/community's needs/wants.


message 35: by Megan (new)

Megan  | 628 comments Did we decide a minimum amount of pages?


message 36: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
600 pages :)


message 37: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 848 comments @ MJ @ Heather(Gibby)

The Fountainhead - 754 pages. Atlas Shrugges 1188 pages.

Both would qualify


message 38: by Megan (new)

Megan  | 628 comments I'll try and read either Bleak House or Wives and Daughters.


message 39: by Mj (new)

Mj | 1202 comments @ Rainey. Thanks and keep safe like others have written. You too Natasha and anyone else in nature's way.

Unfortunately the timing's bad for big books for me right now because all the short listed books are arriving or will shortly. Man Booker & GG winners get announced Oct 25th, Rogers' Writers Trust for Fiction Nov 2nd & Scotiabank Giller on Nov 7nd. Maybe I should just relax and read them after the announcements but some I have in hand and there are huge waiting lists if I don't get them done.. :-)

I guess the good news is that those I read will qualify for the reducing TBR and Possibility lists for October but I'm thinking they're restricted to Canadian authors. Could be right or wrong.

Also not clear whether the BIG BOOKS needs to be Canadian. Am thinking so with the group's title likely so but maybe not.

I certainly have lots to choose from!!!


message 40: by Rainey (last edited Oct 11, 2016 10:41AM) (new)

Rainey | 848 comments If is has to be Canadian then I will read Barkskins. It is 736 pages so would definitely qualify as a big book.


message 41: by Allison (new)

Allison | 2311 comments I didn't get the sense that the big book had to be Canadian. I think a few of us are considering the English author Edward Rutherford. Unless I missed something...

I thought as a group we decided that for the monthly group reads we would stick to Canadian authors, because of the nature of our group, but that otherwise, options are wide open.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


message 42: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 991 comments That's my understanding too. Just books over 600 pages.


message 43: by Diane (new)

Diane (Tvor) | 548 comments For this group, from what I always understood, we don't have to restrict ourselves to Canadian authors though that's the main focus of the group. Monthly reads are almost always Canadian and Canadian authors are encouraged but it's not a requirement.


message 44: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
@Diane - I agree - I think we all have a keen interest in CanLit but can all moderate our own reading for the challenges. :)


message 45: by Susan (new)

Susan | 957 comments I'm going to try to tackle City on Fire for this challenge (911 pages - ugh!). I own a physical copy (which weighs a ton) but I've also downloaded the audiobook from the library (37+ hours).

I was considering several other books but their subject matter seems too heavy for me right now. I'm going to try to keep some short books on the go at the same time so that I can mix things up and not become resentful of the 900-page tome. :-)


message 46: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
@Susan - that is a lot of commuting time!!! i want to finish the Giller shortlist books and then am hoping to read The Luminaries and By Gaslight.


message 47: by Allison (last edited Oct 31, 2016 12:51PM) (new)

Allison | 2311 comments ❀ Susan wrote: "@Susan - that is a lot of commuting time!!! i want to finish the Giller shortlist books and then am hoping to read The Luminaries and By Gaslight."

Ugh -- I am feeling like I won't get to this challenge! I am taking a long time finishing Do Not Say We Have Nothing, I have another book on the go since JULY that I really want to finish, and I have one more BINGO read to finish before the Canada Reads frenzy begins! I'm afraid I'm going to chicken out...


message 48: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 4332 comments Mod
@Allison - don't feel bad, I am super slow finishing Do Not Say We Have Nothing too! i am enjoying it but reading other things at the same time.


message 49: by Megan (last edited Oct 31, 2016 01:20PM) (new)

Megan  | 628 comments Ugh. I have a couple books still out from the library that are due soon and I just got a notification that Hag-Seed is ready for me to pick up. Plus I still want to read The Wars. I'm pretty confident I will not even crack a big book this month.
Edited to add I just received another library hold notification that The Girls is available for pickup.


message 50: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 576 comments Megan wrote: "Ugh. I have a couple books still out from the library that are due soon and I just got a notification that Hag-Seed is ready for me to pick up. Plus I still want to read [book:The W..."

My library has the option to suspend your holds, so you don't lose your place in the queue, but if you have too much on your plate and don't want any more "on hold" books at that particular time, you can suspend the hold, and then lift the suspension when you are ready to get the book.


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