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Five big books you will read in 2007

Reading Resolutions

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Dec 18, 2006, 10:14pm Top

Let's get specific, shall we?

I will read book four in my set of Francis Schaeffer
The History of the English Speaking Peoples The Age of Revolution and Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill
The Tolkien Scrapbook and
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

There, I know I will read many others, but those are some large ones I want to get through for sure. After all, if we get rid of the big ones, we make even more room on our shelves :)

Dec 25, 2006, 3:00am Top

I've resolved to read 5 books I haven't already read from The Guardian's 100 best books list.
(I know 5 doesn't sound like much, but there are too many other books I want to read!)

Dec 25, 2006, 7:02am Top

Five nonfiction biggies:

Flesh in the Age of Reason by Roy Porter
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman & Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan (with shorter First World War histories between)
London: the Biography by Peter Ackroyd
A History of the American People by Paul Johnson

As I'm going with an international scheme in fiction reading, and the time isn't long for the countries I want to cover, I suspect I'll skip most longer novels. If I think I've room for five, I'll jot them here. :)

4AJWyrm First Message
Dec 25, 2006, 8:39pm Top

1. Paradise Lost
2. Vanity Fair
3. Old Testament
4. The Divine Comedy
5. Le Morte D'Arthur

I think those are all big books. I wanted to finish all of the Old Testament this year, but sadly, I didn't accomplish that goal.

Dec 25, 2006, 10:14pm Top

I usually stick to small books for my short attention span, but here:

The Crow Road by Iain Banks
The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
Triplanetary, First Lensman, and Galactic Patrol by E. E. Smith which are all in one volume for me.
Under the Moons of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs(Another collection of 3 books)
Outward Bound by Robert Heinlein (Yet another collection of 3 books).

Should be infuriatingly fun to read the Heinlein, Burroughs, and Smith books after reading all that Feminist nonfiction.

Edited: Dec 25, 2006, 10:16pm Top

Hello all, I love the idea of this group!

My big books for the year are:

1. The Daily Bible
2. The Gathering Storm
3. The Divine Comedy
4. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1
5. The Ghatti's Tale, Volume 1

I figured out if I read at least 8 pages a day of The Gathering Storm starting right after I finish my spring semester, I'll finish it before my next fall semester. And I've already read Inferno and Purgatory, so I'm 2/3 of the way there! Other than that, I haven't started a schedule for these books, I have schedules for a few other books I'm working on right now.

Dec 25, 2006, 10:43pm Top

Great choices, Wyrm! I loved Vanity Fair.

Edited: Dec 27, 2006, 5:35am Top

Hmmm, big books for the year.

Right now, I only have two.

The New Testament and Gone with the Wind. I might try to squeeze in ladies of the club also. Will see how it goes.

Another I want to give a try to is outlander. I just ordered it, can't wait for it to come in. A friend gave me a gift certificate to Amazon, already spent!! Yeah!

Dec 26, 2006, 10:58am Top

Eurydice #3, The Guns of August is a wondeful classic and Paris 1919 is also very interesting. Another interesting look at the aftermath of WWI is A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin.

Dec 26, 2006, 3:57pm Top

Excellent Group! I'm glad I found it...

To Eurydice, for a book on the war itself, I found Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy well written and strong on the political history of the war with an emphasis on conscious decisions of the political leaders to keep on fighting.

On to the list....

1. I plan on rereading Eric Hobsbawm's brilliant multi volume history of the "Long 19th century" Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, Age of Empire and the postscript Age of Extremes. I'll count these as "one" even though that is a stretch;)

2. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century I need to figure out how this global economic system works!

3. War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West Ferguson isn't always right but he is almost always interesting.

4. Richard Ford's Bascombe Trilogy: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and Lay of the Land. I heard him give a reading at Bryn Mawr this fall and was inspired! Oddly enough, I think I have read everything but the trilogy...

5. Either Underworld by Don Delillo or Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I can't decide which mountain to climb yet..

Now, that I have posted this to a public board, I have to get these read next year or face the public embarrassment of an unread reading list;)

Edited: Dec 26, 2006, 6:57pm Top

1.I'm hoping to complete Douglas Southall Freeman's four-volume biography of Robert E. Lee (all told, it's about 1700 pages and I've only read, Volume 1 which is about 600 pages long).

2. I've been staring at Delillo's Underworld for way too long and I'd like to tackle that one in 2007.

3. Them by Joyce Carol Oates is another one that's been on my shelf for several years now.

4. Sarum by Edward Rutherford, about the building of Salisbury Cathedral is another one I've stared at for too long.

5. Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates, is another one that I find interesting, at least in theory, and I hope to read it in 2007, too.

I doubt seriously that I'll read all five of these, but I'd really like to read at least three of the five before another year is done.

Dec 26, 2006, 7:43pm Top

Rebeccanyc and mensheviklibrarian: thank you both. The Peace to End All Peace had very much appealed to me, so I'm glad to have it seconded. I'll check out Cataclysm: the First World War as Political Tragedy. I have a couple of shorter histories of the war already, and had been thinking of adding A World Undone, by G.J. Meyer.

Dec 28, 2006, 11:22pm Top

Oops! It turns out one of the books I wanted to read this year (Chronicles of Chrestomanci) is in storage, so I've replaced it with the Dark is Rising sequence.

History, religion, young adult, classic, and fantasy! Sounds like a good year to me :)

Dec 28, 2006, 11:47pm Top

Like Sam #11, I want to read Sarum by Edward Rutherford. I just finished London by Rutherfurd and absolutely loved it!

I also plan to read a historical trilogy by Sharon Kay Penman: Here Be Dragons (700 pages); Falls the Shadow (575 pages); and The Reckoning (587 pages) (which I bought just today as a late Christmas present to myself)! Sweet!

I'm sure I'll find more really long tomes to read as the year goes by.

Dec 29, 2006, 12:27am Top

I bought more books in 2006 then I've read in any single year ever. So I broke down and sketched out a reading schedule for the year. The biggest books are:

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
American Gods by Neil Gamon
Earth : an intimate history by Richard Fortey
The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy
The ultimate hitchhiker's guide by Douglas Adams

Edited: Dec 30, 2006, 5:31pm Top

Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon because I finally finished another giant, self-indulgent book (A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis).

What Is The What by Dave Eggers

With the other books on my "to read" or "must read" lists, that should take me all year.

Dec 30, 2006, 5:56pm Top

I have From Here to Eternity by James Jones; White Noise by DeLillo; Midnight's Children by Rushdie; and Disgrace by Coatzee on my bookshelf for 2007. I also promised myself I would give Ulysses a go too.

dchaikin -- The border trilogy is difficult but worth it. SamHouston keep Them by Joyce Carol Oates on the shelf. Painful, disjointed, just not worth it. She has better novels -- try The Tatooed Girl instead.

Edited: Dec 30, 2006, 10:18pm Top

jhowell, I have to agree with you after three fairly painful days of reading Them. I can't imagine why this was a National Book Award winner because it reads like something from a beginning novelist who had yet found a workable style (Oates was pretty young when she wrote this one, in fact). I found the novel to be pretty good at the beginning but that it got progressively boring and dry the further I read.

I carried it with me to a three-day basketball tournament so that I'd have something to read between games and I might finish it yet as I only lack about 150 pages...but it's getting harder and harder to digest.

Dec 31, 2006, 12:48am Top

The biggest fiction work I've got on my soon to be read list is The Mists of Avalon. There's also a few complete series I'd like to read this year such as Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and Douglas Adams's Hitchikers books (I've only read the first). I don't know if I'll read them straight through or more likely read one, read something else, read the next volume, etc.

For non-fiction it's The Shield of Achilles and maybe Martin Gilbert's History of the Twentieth History (the one volume version).

Edited: Dec 31, 2006, 2:42am Top

Well, I have to read Running with Scissors for my bookclub by January 9.

I'm currently reading Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (which is a great police story that takes places in Bangkok, Thailand -- I highly recommend it!)

I got Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy for Christmas, as well as The Left Hand of Darkness. I've been meaning to read these for most of my life, but plan to get around to it this year.

That's four. Let's see. Oh! I bought David Eggers' What is the What for my daughter and my aunt for Christmas, and as soon as one of them has read it (and from the looks of things, this should be VERY soon!) I hope to read it as well.

I'm sure there will be more, but I have to tell you that I don't so much find books as they find me. You know .. So Many Books, So Little Time! It's sort of like asking a whale shark what piece of plankton he'll be eating next ... I guess the answer would be, "Any little piece of plankton I happen to run into!"

Addition: Well, shoot, I just can't stop at five. Because I started to read someone else's copy of Freakonomics while in Canada a couple of days ago; unfortunately I had to give it back before I could finish it. I found it fascinating and I WILL read it!

Dec 31, 2006, 1:15pm Top

I have IT (which isn't touchstoning for some reason) and The Tommyknockers by Stephen King, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde on my list this year. I realize that's only four, but I think the Oscar Wilde book should count as two since the last time I tried to read it I gave up around chapter 6.

Last year's 'classic' to struggle through was Lady Chatterley's Lover, this year it's Dorian Grey. :)

Dec 31, 2006, 10:26pm Top

#21 bluewys; Just skim the monotonous parts of Dorian Grey, by the end of the book I was sickly fascinated. Watching a man spiral down into the depths of depravity, how could you go wrong? I found it a very moral tale, which surprised me after the tidbits I'd heard about Oscar Wilde. I haven't read very much about him.

Jan 1, 2007, 4:02am Top

Dorian Grey's quite short, though. If you do find it rough going, at least it doesn't last long. Personally, I loved it; and have to agree, MrsLee - it's quite moral, actually. There's a biography about Wilde by Joseph Pearce, which I haven't read, but am told presents an alternative view, and (among other things) takes his eventual Catholic conversion seriously. How much of this is justified, I am not sure, but it does appear to make some good points.

Jan 1, 2007, 9:56pm Top

Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter (which I've already read more than half of, but just the part remaining counts as a big book!)

The Classical World: An Epic History of Greece and Rome by Robin Lane Fox (also started, but barely)

The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler (yet again partially read... maybe this should be "Big Books I'll Finish" rather than "Big Books I'll Read")

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Jan 2, 2007, 2:23pm Top

1. Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski (just started today, so I'm off to a good start!)

2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (I'm rereading it, but I definitely loved it the first time and really want to savor the new edition)

3. The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley (also a re-read, but I want the opportunity to enjoy it outside of an academic setting)

4. War and Peace because I love Russian literature and I have always wanted to try it

5. Something by David Foster Wallace. I don't know what yet, but he's been on my list for a long time.

Edited: Jan 2, 2007, 3:22pm Top

Message #26

I'm a huge DAvid Foster Wallace fan. I missed him by one year at the old university (Illinois State) I worked at. He is brilliant and addictive. He is so much part of our pop culture that the Onion had a story about his long, long break up note to a girlfriend.

Okay, enough of the DFWlove;) Let me suggest reading some of his collections of essays. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again has some great essays on tennis, surviving state fairs, and David Lynch; Consider the Lobster has a very funny and incisive essay on the big annual porn convention. Let's just say DFW avoids the obvious.

I have never scaled the mountain that is Infinite Jest but it is a possibility for '07.

Jan 2, 2007, 4:03pm Top

OrangeTangoDoble, #26, War and Peace is a wonderful book, which I didn't fully appreciate when I first read it (at about age 17), but loved when I read it several years ago. My only suggestion if you haven't read it is to wait until the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky comes out, I believe either this year or 2008. They are a terrific team of translators who have been working their way through the major Russian authors, and I plan to reread War and Peace when their version arrives.

Jan 4, 2007, 9:35pm Top

Maybe if I set myself these five it will really happen:

1. I'm going to reread Ada, or Ardor which is pretty much my favorite book ever and deserves a reread at this point. It's long enough that I'll put it on this list, and in fact I'm starting tonight.

2. I'm finally going to finish Crime and Punishment, which I must say I hate. I can't actually let myself not finish a book no matter how much I dislike it, because I feel I can't truly dislike it unless I've read it. So I will slog through it for real this time.

3. Kristin Lavransdatter, hopefully all three volumes, but maybe just the first one, The Wreath.

4. Primitive Mythology

5. Thérèse et Pierrette à l'école des Saints-Anges, and if I'm feeling really ambitious, maybe even more of the Chroniques du Plateau Mont-Royal.

Jan 4, 2007, 11:36pm Top

Just wanted to let everyone know I started Outlander last night. I got it in the mail yesterday and all was quiet last night so I started it. I didn't get too far, since it was already passed 11 and I was beat. I am enjoying it so far.

Anyone else start their big books for the year?

Jan 5, 2007, 11:25am Top

Message 17: jhowell... I haven't read Cormac McCarthy before. I don't know much about him except that he should be pretty intense and gruesome. The former sounds good. I plan to read Blood Meridian first. If I get through that, then I'll march straight into The Border Trilogy.

Message 29: nperrin... I had a much different response to Crime and Punishment. It totally captured me and has changed the kind of books I read. But, it caught me from the opening line. I was driven through the book. If you get past the crime, and it still hasn't got your attention... I'm thinking pushing through at that point would be a kind of torture. I'll send you metal when you finish.

Edited: Jan 6, 2007, 11:14am Top

Message 30#:

I've started Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century and The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. However, I'm moving at a glacial pace; I hope to get some reading done this weekend.

Jan 6, 2007, 11:19am Top


Oh, I'm well past the crime. My last effort took me to page 250 of a 524 page edition. I think I just don't particularly care for Dostoyevsky or his tone/style, and I also disagree with most of what he seems to be trying to say. But my boyfriend raves about him, so it's more an exercise in getting into his mind and then being able to discuss it than anything else at this point. Plus, you know, it is a pretty important book and all.

Jan 6, 2007, 2:29pm Top

Nperrin: It's funny, but I've forgotten many of his ideas in the book (except a dream in the epilogue). What I remember was the unstable mind of the main character. He is extraordinarily intelligent, yet he spends the entire book on the brink between insanity and a remarkable compassion. (He is summed up in that first line "...and walked slowly, as though in hesitation...") I found a suspense and fascination in just watching him. Anyway, my only point is that the ideas are secondary.

Jan 6, 2007, 8:49pm Top

still reading Midnight's Children . . interesting, like an Indian One Hundred Years of Solitude Need a map, and a history lesson of India though.

So dchaikin -- honestly, I would go with the Border Trilogy first, in toto longer, but kinder and gentler -- at least try something "light" like All the Pretty Horses first -- I beg you. Although, I don't know your gender -- Maybe men dig the blood sacrifice vibe of Blood Meridian a little more.

To those considering Russian lit: IMHO, definately would go with War and Peace over a Doestyevsky -- much more palatable, enjoyable. and homeschoolmom -- Outlander series is like crack -- you know you shouldn't, bad for you, so guilty, but you just can't help reading them.

Intrigued by this David Foster Wallace fandom -- I thought Infinite Jest was virtually unreadable?

Jan 6, 2007, 9:01pm Top

Shogun by James Clavell
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Sons & Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge
Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Jan 6, 2007, 9:15pm Top

jhowell -- I'll take your advice on CMc.

Do men & women really read differently? Perhaps men prefer Dostoevsky and women prefer Tolstoy??? (I'm male). I haven't read War and Peace, but I did trudge through Anna Karenina about a year ago. I enjoyed it, but it wore me out. I much prefer Dostoevsky's disturbed suffering men.

Jan 7, 2007, 12:11am Top

While I didn't care for The Brothers Karamazov many years ago, I may have been too young. With Crime and Punishment v. Anna Karenina, though, my response to both was very similar to your own, dchaikin. I definitely preferred Dostoevsky, and I'm female. It may be more a personality than a gender issue. :)

Earlier, Rebeccanyc mentioned waiting for translations of Russian literature by Pevear & Volokhonsky. I must second her. They're wonderful.

Jan 7, 2007, 5:10pm Top

you know - I am not sure men and women read differently; but certainly I think there is some subject matter that appeals to each gender more or less.

How many men enjoy the typical Oprah book club pick? i.e girl overcomes terrible obstacles and people in her life to emerge emotionally scarred yet still triumphant kind of schtick? And how many men here have read Outlander and liked it? How many women can read Updike novels -- over and over again with the philandering, misogynistic suburban husbands? Brillliant writing, notwithstanding.

Cormac McCarthy is just so gruesome -- and I think whether you agree with his whole thesis in Blood Meridian possibly depends on your gender . . . but that's a discussion for another day.

Edited: Jan 7, 2007, 5:42pm Top

Well, I found the time to finish Them by Joyce Carol Oates this weekend, so that's one off my list. Truthfully, though, the only reason that I struggled all the way to the end of the book is because I admire the work of Oates so much. This one was probably not worth the effort but I'm happy to know that for myself now.

Jan 7, 2007, 5:33pm Top

strong work for slogging through SamHouston -- I looked at your list of Oates books -- we have alot of the same ones. I thought Wonderland was similarly abhorrent. I really liked We were the Mulvaneys, Tatooed Girl, and Because its Bitter . . Have you ever tried any of her gothic mystery ones?

Edited: Jan 7, 2007, 5:41pm Top

I haven't read any of her gothic mysteries yet. I've decided to concentrate on her short story collections for a while because I'm not generally much of a reader of short story collections and (by becoming a member of Library Thing) I've discovered just how many collections I own.

I'm reading Heat and Other Stories of hers at the moment and I've enjoyed the first half dozen stories so maybe I'll learn to appreciate the short story as opposed to the novel.

Jan 7, 2007, 7:55pm Top

I went through my library and tagged books I wanted to read this year with 2007 Resolution. My 5 big books turned into 26. Hmmmm.

Jan 7, 2007, 8:05pm Top

Don't worry, I already have about 40 books that I plan to read this year! Mostly ones that I bought very recently, too. They aren't tagged in my catalogue though.

Jan 7, 2007, 9:58pm Top

But are they all BIG books? I only listed the books I want to read in 2007 that are more than 500 pages long. If I listed every book I want to read in 2007 regardless of its size, well, heck! The list would be as long as my arm! :D

Jan 7, 2007, 10:22pm Top

I know I have a lot of books to read this year, but I'd say the big ones I would like to get through are:

1) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
2) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke
3) Clementine Churchill by Mary Soames
4) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
5) Babel Tower by A.S. Byatt

Who knows if I'll get around to these ones....but I'd like to :)

Jan 7, 2007, 10:35pm Top

This wasn't on my list, because I had already started it in 2006, but I just finished Les Miserables (now the touchstone says vol. 2, but mine was the unabridged paperback), and I want to tell the world! It was one of the biggest books on my shelves. Now I think I will begin The Tolkien Scrapbook for a light reprieve.

Jan 8, 2007, 12:31am Top

I hadn't considered having such a list, as I usually just read what I've around, but I think I'm going to go with books which are either bought-but-not-read or furiously recommended.

The Brothers Karamazov - my boyfriend's favorite book, and I hated Crime and Punishment. Well, I also read that in 10th grade and couldn't understand it, so perhaps I'll give Russian Lit another try.

Quicksilver - I like fantasy and historical fiction - though I seem to have mixed results with alternate histories. This and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell very much fall into the same category.

Jan 8, 2007, 10:53am Top

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George has been sitting on my shelf intimidating me since July, so I do solemly swear to give it a shot sometime soon.

Jan 8, 2007, 11:36am Top

I also have The Outlander in my TBR pile so that would be one.

The only other one is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I assume will be big (I hope!)

Jan 9, 2007, 4:35pm Top

I'm guessing that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be huge... but with all due seriousness, couldn't she have thought of a better name?

Jan 9, 2007, 4:54pm Top

Maybe the American version will have a different name... After all, "hallows" is an even more obscure word than "philosopher". :D

Jan 10, 2007, 3:08am Top

Last year I read War and Peace as my large book challenge to myself. The best parts were the war scenes, wasn't at all fond of the characters.
This year my cchallenge to myself is to read the entire 3 volume unabridged version of The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn. I have started it and like it very much already. Solzhenitsyn's sarcasm alone makes the book worth reading.

To reply to the above comment on Crime and Punishment, I will say that I am female and I loved that book very much. It's one of my all time favorites, in the top 10, perhaps even the top 5. Dostoevsky was brilliant.

Jan 10, 2007, 4:23am Top

Dostoevsky was brilliant.

Agreed. :)

Jan 10, 2007, 8:01am Top

How can you not love a novel that through the character of Profiry created the role model for Columbo?

Jan 10, 2007, 10:13am Top

BookAddict, if you enjoyed War and Peace, and are contemplating reading Solzhenitsyn, you might also like Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate. Sometimes described as a "new" War and Peace, it takes place during the siege of Stalingrad, involves multiple characters, and deals with issues of facism, Stalinism, the Holocaust, etc. A great book, although pretty grim in some parts.

Jan 10, 2007, 11:58am Top

Well, I promise to give Dostoevsky a proper shot this time around :)

Jan 10, 2007, 4:07pm Top

Thanks for your recommendation :) grim doesn't bother me, I like grim, torment, poverty, struggles, etc. The more horrible the story is the better I like it LOL I will check out your author.

Edited: Jan 11, 2007, 6:44am Top

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Idiot by Dostoyevski (yeah, I know that's not really a big one, but I'm guessing it'll be a big sort of read).

And I'm determined to finish The American Boy by Andrew Taylor (the touchstone doesn't work with that one, but never mind...) I'm interested in the story and what happens, but the writing's boring me, so I keep putting it down and reading other things in between.

Can't think of a 5th yet...

Jan 11, 2007, 7:05am Top

I bought 2 'whoppers' yesterday:
Middlesex, J Eugenides p560, and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving p656~ both £2.99 from Waterstones.
Should keep me quiet for a bit :)

Jan 11, 2007, 10:07am Top

Wonderlake: Middlesex goes fast and doesn't feel that big. Great stuff!!

Jan 11, 2007, 10:40am Top

A Prayer for Owen Meany is fantastic too, and didn't feel at all big. I think it might have my favourite first paragraph in a book ever.

Jan 11, 2007, 10:43am Top

>52 _Zoe_: I saw an article (I think in Newsweek of all places) where they said they are changing less and less of the British to American terms in the Harry Potter books because people were complaining that the changes were making the stories less authentic.

Jan 11, 2007, 12:05pm Top

Demonlover, I'm glad to hear that about Harry Potter. It doesn't effect me anyway because the Canadian editions have always been the same as the British ones, but I think the whole concept of changing them has been ridiculous all along. It doesn't hurt anyone to encounter some unfamiliar words and learn a bit about a different country :)

65paegan_53 First Message
Jan 11, 2007, 2:49pm Top

Hi All,
New to here. Hope to have some interesting conversations in the future.

The books on my To Read List for 2007 are sitting on my desk as I type. I'm halfway though the first on the list, so I'm making headway:

1. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
2. Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller
3. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
4. 3 book series of Byzantium - John Julius Norwich
5. American Prometheus - Kai Bird/Martin Sherwin


Edited: Jan 21, 2007, 6:11pm Top

Further to my own message (#20), here's my progress so far .. I think it's kind of funny how plans go awry.

I finished Bangkok 8 and enjoyed it a great deal.

I also finished Freakonomics and am very happy I did.

I finished Running with Scissors for my bookclub, and, while we all thought it was a grim book to read, we found some redeeming qualities -- mostly talking points -- that made it somewhat worthwhile.

Started What is the What by Dave Eggers but have misplaced it.

Started The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (not on my list) because I'd lost What is the What and I needed something to read.

Also have agreed to read Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich (not on my list) for a discussion with a friend the first week in February.

Will read What is the What if and when I find it. Darn it .. it was good and a hardback .. really hope I haven't lost it!

I think being able to be this flexible is one of the reasons I love to read.

Looks like my 5 choices were only for the first two months of the year!

Feb 2, 2007, 7:54am Top

paegan53: I've deliberately not read Shantaram yet because of its length so good luck. It's supposed to be good.
The only two big books in my TBR pile are: Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. They are about 670 and 430 pages respectively.

Feb 2, 2007, 12:10pm Top

But of course, the one 'big book' I forgot to put on my earlier list is the one I finished - Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin. From reading people's opinions online, most people do like it - and wonder what exactly it is about. To some extent it doesn't matter - it stands alone as a well written book, glorious for the storytelling on its own. At the least, it is a story with many threads, weaved inside of each other, and a single scarlet line running through it all - the life of Peter Lake, orphan, burglar, master mechanic, lover, healer. It's about love, loss, time, justice, honor, truth, and everything which makes us human. And, it's set in a New York too real to be true, which is wonderful for me as I'm living here at the moment.

It's my first Helprin book, and I look forward to many more. I think I've taken it too quickly this time around, and may very well reread it this month.

Feb 5, 2007, 5:37am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 19, 2007, 4:17am Top

I've recently started War and Peace, which, so far, is a lot better than I thought it would be.

I'll also consider reading Anna Karenina and Vanity Fair this year - which makes three big books. Add to those a couple by Dumas and I'll be there, I should think.

Edited: Feb 19, 2007, 4:53am Top

I'm just finishing up War and Peace, so that's my first. The other 4 will be Ulysses, The History of Western Philosophy, Dead Souls, & The Death and Life of Great American Cities. And probably there'll be more than that.

Edited: Feb 25, 2007, 5:33pm Top

Okay. I have picked a few of my larger books that I would like to read this year. They are:

First Five:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 542 pages.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James 789 pages.
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov 609 pages.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 529 pages.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen 557 pages.

And if I can manage it:
The Hitchhiker's Trilogy by Douglas Adams 839 pages
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood 513 pages.
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice 1182 pages.
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown 569 pages.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 449 pages
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen 476 pages.
Emma by Jane Austen borderline big book 395 pages.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez 448 pages.

Yes, it's a lot but most of those are on my 1001 books to read before I die list and so it will help clear that list some at the same time.

Mar 6, 2007, 2:04am Top

Guns, Germs, and Steel in progress

Rise and Fall of the Third Reich in progress

not sure about the other three yet. I've been wading through guns, germs, and steel for almost a year and a half now, so getting it done sometime this year will be really nice.

Mar 8, 2007, 4:31pm Top

Atlas Shrugged
War and Peace

I have other books to be read, but those 2 are the biggest ones I have yet to read. =)

Mar 13, 2007, 10:54pm Top

I'm in big book mode and I'm ready.

I'm currently reading From Here to Eternity by James Jones (#1). To follow this year are:
2. James Jones - Whistle
3. J.M. Frazer - The Golden Bough
4. Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind
5. Edward Rutherfurd - The Rebels of Ireland (does that one count?)

Mar 14, 2007, 9:25am Top

If you like good literature, and it appears you do, don't bother with The Historian. Or at least let me know your opinion after you've finished it.

78MarthaHuntley First Message
Mar 24, 2007, 10:52am Top

Did you get to (What is the What by Dave Eggers )yet? I've just finished it and thought it was wonderful, a very fine and significant book. Martha

79careagle First Message
Mar 29, 2007, 9:37pm Top

You will love the Sharon Kay Penman trilogy. She is a wonderful author and her characters come alive. Enjoy and read her other books.

Mar 30, 2007, 11:01am Top

# 77 amandameale:

My wife attempted to read The Historian last year and gave up after about 150 pages, she did not like it at all.

The story intrigues me, so I'll give it a shot. I've never not finished a book and I hope this won't be the first.

Apr 4, 2007, 11:10am Top

#81: Not sure if you were joking, but I don't think I'd count Animal Farm as a "big" book. My copy is 95 pages.

Edited: Apr 4, 2007, 4:55pm Top

Yep, I snuck that one in to see if anybody would notice! (April fools day)

My real #5: The Iron Tower by Dennis L. McKiernan

EDIT: Forgot my touchstones

Apr 4, 2007, 5:29pm Top

#82 There are some big thoughts in it though.

Apr 5, 2007, 6:37pm Top

Collected Essays of Montaigne

Aug 23, 2007, 9:33pm Top

This is a great thread. I've heard of people doing 50-book challenges and such, but 50 is a no-brainer for me since I read between three or four books a week. I think 5 big books is a great idea because there are a few books that I've always wanted to read but have never gotten around to even picking up-- not necessarily because they are long (I HAVE finished all seven books of HP, so I can't complain about that) but because I think they'll be boring even though it would do me some good to read them. So here are my five:

1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
5. 1984 by George Orwell

Wish me luck!

Aug 24, 2007, 12:55am Top

shewhowearsred - I do wish you luck, and I hope you find that you enjoy those more than you thought you would. They are some of my favorites! All except 1984, yet I'm not sorry I read that one. It really got me thinking and interacting with the thoughts in it.

I still have two on my list. The Churchill one and Gone With the Wind. GWTW is one I dread picking up. I've also added Othello to my list.

Aug 24, 2007, 10:15pm Top

Thanks, MrsLee! I've gotten copies of everything on my list, but I'm going to have to put them off for a while. I'm reading Time Traveler's Wife and Only Revolutions now, and then I've got to read at least House of Leaves before I get started on my big five. Okay, so I am stalling a little. I'm not looking forward to reading Lord of the Rings, because I hated the movie and I am unsure about Tolkien's writing style.

Gone with the Wind is a great read!! I read it when I was much younger. It's an easy read, mainly because it's a love story. Good luck!

Aug 25, 2007, 12:54pm Top

shewhowearsred - I'm not sure you should force yourself to read LOtR. Give it 5-10 chapters, and if it hasn't grabbed you, put it away, trade it in for a book you might like.

I'm a died in the wool LOtR fanatic, but I can see how it wouldn't appeal to everyone. Especially if fantasy is not a genre you enjoy. What I loved about it, was watching Tolkien create this world. I love seeing/reading creations of people which you know they've poured their hearts, soul and mind into. Going to Disneyland is like that for me too. To think of the imagination behind such things puts me in awe somehow.

Edited: Aug 25, 2007, 1:46pm Top

#88 and 89 Hi, she ~ Please don't judge LotR by the film version. So much was left out and/or changed that it bore only superficial resemblance to the novel. Now, I know there was no real choice ~ if the movie was true to the books, each of the three parts would have had to have been at least 12 hours long! Still...it was difficult to watch with so many of the wonderful characters and scenes and storylines omitted.

BTW, I got the extended versions of the movie as gifts and they were much better than those shown in theatres, but my imagination does a much better job when I read the actual books (which I have done at least a dozen times since 1970 when I read it the first time).

Good luck with your reading quest!


(edited to add:)

P.S. I agree wholeheartedly with MrsLee's comments, both about not forcing yourself to read LotR if you absolutely hate it and about the enchanting nature of Tolkein's accomplishment. It's not so much the action but the high fantasy world and characters he's created. Some of the most wonderful writing I've ever read came from LotR, and while there is action, it's not the main focus.

Edited: Aug 26, 2007, 1:02pm Top

This thread is exactly what I've been looking for as I've been trying to narrow down my reading list to a few books for this coming year.

Come November I will be going to Vienna, Austria for 5 and a half months and I can't take my library with me, nor do I read German. Not that I think Austria doesn't have it's share of English bookstores, or English sections in bookstores - but I'll be on a very low budget. I am hoping that if I have a proper visa/passport etc. the librarians will be kind and let me have a card... but I believe in planning ahead for all eventualities.

So I figured if I took about 5 really BIG books I might be able to satisfy my reading need.

I was thinking that I'd finally get around to War and Peace, I have a rather older copy and can't remember the translator. I also got the new translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses by Charles Martin. I was thinking I'd reread House of Leaves. I also have a beautiful collection of short stories by Vladimir Nabokov. I have a copy of Jane Austen: The Complete Novels that should take me some time. I've already read them but would know that they would comfort me when I'm away from hearth and home.

I also wanted some books on Vienna to read while I was there like The World of Yesterday by Stefan zweig and Fin de Siecle Vienna and Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913-1914 by Frederic Morton.

The problem is, I'm packing for quite a long trip and have a single 25 x 32 inch duffle bag. I have no problem narrowing down clothes etc. to provide for the necessities (books). But as anyone who's ever packed their library knows, books weigh A LOT, so obviously the bigger the books the fewer I can take. It's the picking and choosing that is proving to be an agonizing process. While not surprising my suffering remains acute.

So if anyone has any ideas of what I could take with me I'd love to hear some suggestions. While having a book to simply to have something familiar would be nice, I need books that are unfamiliar as well, to keep me occupied. I would especially like books about Vienna, Austria, Hapsburgs etc. Also - a good book (or books) to learn German from. I've never tried to teach myself a language before and really don't know what I'm looking at. I want something a little more rigorous than the Berlitz Travel books can provide. I can read, write and stumble through most Spanish and I have a fluent understanding of the IPA. Ideas anyone?

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Edit: I just realized that this post evolved and probably ought to be posted elsewhere... like Reading Globally or Language. Forgive, forgive.

Aug 26, 2007, 7:31pm Top

That's O.K. sollocks, it's nice to have people posting in here again! :) Do you have access to a laptop? Or whatever it is folks use to read now? That would certainly be a solution to the weight issue.

I just read a book yesterday which took place in and around Vienna, Austria. Blue Night, by Cindy McCormack Martinusen. I don't think it would suit your purposes though. It was a Christian Fiction suspense novel. It only took a day and a half to read. Also, it couldn't hold a candle to those you've listed above, but it was fine brain candy. :)

Aug 28, 2007, 11:52am Top

#91 sollocks: For Vienna fiction, I recommend John Irving's Setting Free the Bears. It's set in late 1960's Vienna where some college students attempt to liberate all of the animals from the Vienna Zoo. It's not long, my trade paperback is under 300 pages I believe, but it is topical for you.

Aug 28, 2007, 12:50pm Top

Re: 91 - sollocks, there's a rather new community revolving around suggesting books for certain cities. Vienna doesn't have a thread yet, but perhaps you could start one?

If (and only if!) you can stand to read from one, find a Palm Pilot on ebay. It'll be tiny, and as much as I love my more complicated Axim, the Palm battery life is quite a bit better. There are programs to read ebooks from text files, so you can store quite a few on a small device.

95alaskayo First Message
Edited: Dec 3, 2007, 9:01pm Top

Rarrrhhhh! These are five here I planned to read since 2006, as I know it's late by now, and have since read.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man -- Read Dubliners and Ulysses last year (or year before??), and had meant to read this before that particular year ended, but never found the time. Was kinda a letdown when compared to the other two. (8/10)

The Stand -- Just wanted a monster. The first book I read this year. Also a letdown...well...kinda...I don't expect much from a King book when I pop it open, but this wasn't nearly the best novel I've read by him, as I somewhat expected (that honor goes to 'Salem's Lot). (7/10 -- 'n' I go easier on him and similar authors... >_>)

The Road -- Also meant to read in '06 when it came out, but kept pushing it back. Excellent novel; deserves the praise it's since gotten. (9/10)

Gravity's Rainbow -- Idea of reading this beast scared me, so I just kept putting it off and off. Read and enjoyed V., The Crying of Lot 49, as well as Vineland last year. Swore I'd read this before entering a college, and I ended up doing it at the last second in August, so I read it. Loved it, not nearly as hard to read as I expected. Either going in to have fun or maybe just..."reading....experience"...since '06 had made it easier on me. (10/10)

The Diamond Age, or a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer -- Hrumph, read Snow Crash last year. Loved it. Wanted to read another. Not quite as good as S.C., but it was still an excellent story, well-written 'n' all that, with some real fancy character development, I'd say. (8/10)

And before the end of the year, I'm still planning to read three monster books:
1) The Sot-Weed Factor
2) Mason and Dixon
3) Infinite Jest

WOAH, I'm excited for the break. I really doubt I'll finish all these before the end of the month, though.

Group: Reading Resolutions

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