Bryan reads more BIG books.


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Bryan reads more BIG books.

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Edited: Dec 7, 2019, 1:27am

Very happy to be joining the Big Fat Book challenge for 2019.

My sixth year of the challenge, Ann-Marie from Sweden started the group in 2014, the esteemed John Simpson has continued things since then.

My Big Book totals 2014-23, 2015-17, 2016-9, 2017-14, 2018-19.

Have got plenty of 600 plus books sitting there waiting patiently to be read, I'll be happy to read 15 or more this year.

Have started The Recognitions at 956 pages and enjoying the sense of humour so far.

Good luck to all reading Big Books in 2019 !

1. The Recognitions by William Gaddis, 956 p.

2. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, 681p.

3. Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon, 773 p.

4. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, 779p.

5. The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell, 757 p.

6. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, 1041 p.

7. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, 786 p.

8. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, 803 p.

9. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, 698 p.

10.The Complete Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Anderson, 948 p.

11. Mrs Kelly by Grantlee Kieza, 604 p.

12. The Blue Cliff Record, trans. by Thomas Cleary, 648 p.

13. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, 830 p.

14. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan, 656 p.

15. Metamorphoses by Ovid, 670 pages.

16. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan, 1007 p.

17. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan, 907p.

18. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman, 689p.

19. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, 870p.

20. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan, 1023p.

21. A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan, 750 p.

Dec 30, 2018, 10:20pm

Wow! I thought my TBR pile was big! There is just not enough time to read all the book we want to read!

I have never heard of The Recognitions so just looked it up. Sounds interesting. There is an interview with William Gaddis where he says that the book isn't all that reader-friendly.

Look forward to hearing what you think of it!

Dec 30, 2018, 11:14pm

Not enough time Jayne but it is a good problem to have I think.

I seem to be a sucker for these big difficult reads, although so far The Recognitions is a breeze compared to Stein's The Making of Americans or Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, neither of which I recommend !

Dec 31, 2018, 2:05am

Welcome back, Bryan. Good luck with those BFBs!

Dec 31, 2018, 3:10am

>3 bryanoz: I remember trying to struggle through Finnegan's Wake in the distant past! I was going to give it another try at some point - maybe not!

Jan 1, 2019, 7:36am

I warned you Jayne ! Some readers say Finnegan's Wake is brilliant, and it ranks 31 in The Novel 100, so maybe I'm wrong...but Ulysses is a great read in my opinion and I hope to reread it this year or next.

Jan 1, 2019, 10:43pm

>6 bryanoz: I have put it in a category challenge so I will get to it this year! I also remember Ulysses being a more enjoyable read.

Jan 2, 2019, 4:50pm

<4 Thanks Connie, good luck with your big reads this year !

Jan 3, 2019, 6:30am

I see you're off to a good start with the BFBs, Bryan. Happy reading!

Jan 6, 2019, 3:29pm

Hi Bryan mate, nice to see you here again, I don't think anyone has ever called me 'Esteemed' and I thank you for that mate. Hope you have a good year with the BFB's, mine will be well down on last year BUT I have loads that fit this group and could do my Chunkster challenge at least twice more and may do it again.

>2 JayneCM:, Hi Jayne, my TBR pile currently stands at 2,507 books to read and that does not include my Cricket book collection that currently stands at around 400 books. At my current average reading rate I have enough books for about 27 years, I am currently 55 years of age and am determined to read the pile even though it is always being added to. You need something to keep you going and it keeps the brain active, lol.

Jan 6, 2019, 5:54pm

>10 johnsimpson: That is the problem with the TBR pile - there are always more being added! I am trying to picture a pile of 2,507 books on the bedside table! :)

Jan 7, 2019, 3:03pm

>11 JayneCM:, HA HA HA.

Jan 8, 2019, 9:48pm

>6 bryanoz: I was really surprised at how enjoyable and readable Ulysses was! I know a lot of the political and religious references went over my head but the basic story was pretty good. That being said, I am in no hurry to dive into Finnegans Wake. That may be a 2020 project.

Edited: Jan 19, 2019, 6:51pm

Agreed Yells, Ulyssess is a great read, and important too.

Good luck with Finnegan’s Wake, once was enough for me.

Jan 15, 2019, 10:58pm

Slow progress with The Recognitions... An interesting read although it demands an alert, discerning mind, a state I seem to be in rarely ??

Edited: Jan 18, 2019, 12:41am

>15 bryanoz: I have that one on the pile as well but I know I don't have the mental capacity to truly 'read' it. I am sticking with fluffier reads these days!

Jan 17, 2019, 11:57pm

Hi Yells, it just takes longer with these big obtuse reads, I’m trying for 30 to 50 pages a day, and only 180 pages to go.
A few fluffy reads are next, cheers.

Jan 20, 2019, 6:37am

The Recognitions is done, a big read but a rewarding one. Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, 681 pages, is next.

Jan 24, 2019, 8:32pm

Finished Killing Commendatore, any Murakami is going to get weird but this became a page turner as well !

Pychon's Mason & Dixon 773 pages is next, though probably won't start on it for a week or so.

Jan 29, 2019, 10:44pm

Mason & Dixon looks good - putting it on my list!

Jan 30, 2019, 11:26pm

Suspect it will be another 'incorrigible' read Jayne, good luck to us !

Feb 10, 2019, 6:59pm

Am enjoying Mason & Dixon, up to page 451, plenty of humour and innuendo here !

A timely warning for some of us...

..." I cannot, damme I cannot I say, energetically enough insist upon the danger of reading these storybooks,- in particular those known as 'Novel.' Let she who hears, heed. Britain's Bedlam even as the French Salpetriere being populated by an alarming number of young persons, most of them female, seduced across the sill of madness by these irresponsible narratives, that will not distinguish between fact and fancy. How are these frail Minds to judge ? Alas, every reader of 'Novel' must be reckoned a soul in peril, - for she hath made a D----l's bargain, squandering her most precious time, for nothing in return but the meanest and shabbiest kinds of mental excitement. 'Romance,' pernicious enough in it's day, seems in Comparison wholesome." p.351.

I think I have detected some minds "seduced across the sill of madness" on this site, just saying !

Feb 10, 2019, 7:52pm

** hangs head in shame **

Feb 11, 2019, 2:23am

quickly followed by **sings/screams in joyful exaltation** I hope !!

Edited: Apr 11, 2019, 7:15pm

Some of my big books to read this year :

Mason & Dixon, 773p, Feb.

The Way We Live Now, 779p, March.

The Dark is Rising, 785p., late April.

Being and Nothingness, 656p., on pause until I become much more intelligent...

Anathem, 937p.

Blonde, 939p., May ?

The Years of Rice and Salt, 772p., May ?

Fire and Blood, 706p.

Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1041p., April.

Letters, 772p.

The Tidewater Tales, 655p.

Iron Council, 614p.

Dream Songs, George R.R. Martin, 656p.

The Great and Secret Show, 698p.

Many of them have been sitting neglected on the shelves for years so will be great to read them..

Feb 15, 2019, 3:47am

Interesting mix. I really enjoyed The way we live now, hope you do, too.

Mar 2, 2019, 7:15pm

Thanks MissWatson, really enjoyed his The Last Chronicles of Barset so am looking forward to this.

Started The Way We Live Now 779 pages and The Corfu Trilogy 757 pages, will keep me busy for the next week or so.

Edited: Mar 3, 2019, 6:04am


Mar 6, 2019, 3:47pm

Add Being and Nothingness to current big reads, but that one will take a while...

Mar 8, 2019, 7:56pm

< 29. Or not... Read the Intro and first few pages, didn't understand much of it, so will leave it on the back shelf for a while, I will need to better understand the existentialist perspective/jargon to read the book profitably...

Mar 11, 2019, 7:40am

>30 bryanoz: LOL. I had to smile when I read that. But very understandable. Why start in a chunkster when you don't understand anything that is written.

Mar 11, 2019, 11:34pm

>31 connie53: very true connie, hope your big book reading is going well.

Mar 13, 2019, 5:04am

>32 bryanoz: Thanks, it is. Currently reading a 700+ pages book, which might take a while. And I did finish a 582 pages one a few days ago, but that doesn't qualify as a BFB. ;-))

Mar 15, 2019, 2:47am

Connie...582 pages is so close... I remember passing on a book last year because it was 598 pages...:(

Mar 15, 2019, 2:53am

Just begun The Blue Cliff Record, 648 pages and a Chinese Zen text which will also be beyond my understanding...

Will begin Gargantua and Pantagruel 1041 pages, and The Dark is Rising at 786 pages in a few weeks.

Mar 15, 2019, 4:03am

That is an ambitious program!

Mar 15, 2019, 6:20pm

Hi MissWatson, having 2 weeks of school holidays helps !
Also the Dark book is probably lightish reading.
Hope your reading is going well !

Mar 16, 2019, 12:00pm

Thanks, work interferes a lot with it, but I am making steady progress with a very fat book: Joseph Balsamo. (touchstone not working)

Mar 16, 2019, 12:14pm

>38 MissWatson: Touchstones aren't working today.

Apr 11, 2019, 7:05pm

It has been awhile, but holidays are here, so begins Gargantua and Pantagruel, classic from the 1500s, 1041 pages and "a feast of wisdom and laughter", sounds good to me.

Apr 12, 2019, 11:43pm

Gargantua is a fun, though often quite rude satire, some predictions from the Almanac :

"..those who lack money, the jealous, the mad, the evil-thinkers, the suspicious, the mole-catchers,....the melancholy..This year they will not get everything they would really like."

"Germany, Switzerland, Saxony, Strasbourg, etc. will do well unless things go wrong.."

"Austria, Hungary and Turkey : in truth, my good fellow, I have no idea how they will fare, and I care very little about it..."

"Mercury is bullying the parsley a bit."

There is wisdom there for all of us I'm sure.

Apr 22, 2019, 9:56pm

" behoves you to develop a sagacious flair for sniffing and smelling out and appreciating such fair and fatted books, to be swift in pursuit and bold in the attack, and then, by careful reading and frequent meditation, to crack open the bone and seek out the substantial marrow - sure in the hope that you will be made witty and wise by that reading..." more Gargantua wisdom.

Am well into The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, a younger person's fantasy of 786 pages.

Edited: Apr 30, 2019, 10:18am

>41 bryanoz: and >42 bryanoz: Fun quotes from Gargantua!

Edited: Apr 29, 2019, 6:48pm

Hi Lisa, Gargantua is a fun, satirical book which is often quite rude as well, I was surprised how 'crude' it was for the 1500s.
Your reading of the Wheel of Time series has reminded me that although I have read quite a bit of fantasy, haven't read any Jordan yet, will get to The Eye of the World a bit later this year, thanks.

Apr 30, 2019, 10:14am

I thought I had read Gargantua and Pantagruel, but I am doubting myself now and will need to add it back to my list!

Apr 30, 2019, 10:15am

And I have really enjoyed getting back to The Wheel of Time. He created a tremendous world with so many interesting characters. I hope you enjoy it as well when you get to it.

Apr 30, 2019, 7:20pm

Reserved a copy from the library, lets do this !

May 12, 2019, 6:36am

Library copy has arrived, so beginning The Eye of the World at 803 pages !

May 28, 2019, 7:19pm

Really enjoyed The Eye of the World, I realise I have been ready for a new epic fantasy series.

I have become used to the more explicit and violent modern fantasy of Erikson and Martin, so it is nice to slow down and appreciate a more traditional story. Will start The Great Hunt soon.

Am also slowly reading through The Complete Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Anderson which is 948 pages.
I am 'working' my way through the 'The Greatest Books' list and Anderson's tales is 88th on the list. My goal is to complete the first 100 this year, five books to go.

May 29, 2019, 3:42am

>49 bryanoz: Does the Complete Andersen include his novels and other non-fairy tale works? And which Greatest Books list is that? I'm always fascinated by these lists...

Edited: May 29, 2019, 6:05am

Hi MissWatson, my book just has the fairy tales, 138 of them at 948 pages. combines some 120 lists to come up with a 'mega list' !
It includes separate fiction and nonfiction lists, and is regularly updated, have a look and let me know what you think.

May 29, 2019, 8:06am

That's a very interesting site, Bryan. Quite a bit of double-counting, when collected stories are mentioned and individual examples pop up later, but this is a minor observation.
I was intrigued to see so many ancient classics there.
I can't quite share the enthusiasm for Kafka, to be honest. We had to read "The penal colony" in school and that gave me nightmares for years.
I am also happy to find quite a lot of my unread books on the list. A good incentive to tackle them!

Which are the ones you need to read to reach your goal? I can cross 32 of the first 100 off my list, so I've got quite a bit of reading ahead of me yet. Plenty of BFBs for the next years.

May 30, 2019, 1:18am

Well done on the 32 MissWatson, I have five to go..

88. Fairy Tales by Anderson, 948 pages, reading now.

90. Cousin Bette by Balzac.

91. A Sentimental Education by Flaubert.

95. Metamorphoses by Ovid, 723 pages.

99. Decameron by Boccaccio, 947 pages, to complete the first 100.

I tend to read one a month or so, no hurry !

May 30, 2019, 2:46pm

Great progress on those 50! Also glad to hear you liked The Eye of the World.

Jun 2, 2019, 3:05pm

Good luck with those five!

Jun 3, 2019, 7:48am

Thanks Lisa, I did enjoy The Eye of the World and well into The Great Hunt still going strong.

Thanks MissWatson, about halfway through the Fairy tales, some well known ones and many more obscure.
My next holidays are 2 weeks in July, I'll tackle Metamorphoses then.

Jun 11, 2019, 1:04am

The Great Hunt continues and develops the story nicely, looks like I'm in for the long haul, The Dragon Reborn -656 pages - is next.

Am plodding along with Complete Works of Hans Christian Anderson, some interesting tales, and am waiting for a library copy of The Blue Cliff Record - 648 pages - to come in so I can finish it.

Jun 26, 2019, 2:45am

Just begun The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon at 830 pages.

A 2019 epic fantasy that on the cover Laure Eve says "Deserves to be as big as Game of Thrones."

Not sure about that but an interesting start.

Jul 4, 2019, 8:26pm

So have finished the orange Tree book, it was quite good.

Have begun Metamorphoses by Ovid, 723 pages, as next in my Greatest Books challenge.

Also about to begin The Dragon Reborn, next in the Wheel of Time series at 656 pages, holidays are the best !

Aug 4, 2019, 9:05am

Finally began The Shadow Rising, fourth in the Wheel of Time series, 1007 pages.

Aug 13, 2019, 7:46pm

Just bought The Fires of Heaven, fifth in the Wheel of Time series, 907 pages !
Some library books to get through first and then very keen to resume the series.

Aug 20, 2019, 7:03am

Have begun The Book of Strange New Things at a paltry 585 pages, seems a good time to raise the question - why

is the Big Fat Book criteria set at 600 pages ? I suggest 500 pages is a better fit...something to ponder for next
year ?

Aug 21, 2019, 6:01am

If I remember correctly, it was a limit set by the OP of the first group year. I see no reason why we should stick with it, if we prefer a lower level. It would certainly widen the field of qualifying books...

Aug 21, 2019, 3:52pm

>62 bryanoz:, >63 MissWatson:, I followed the criteria set before I took over as administrator, I am quite happy to have it anything over 500 pages, last year my challenge on the 75ers group was big books and tea with a starting point at 500 pages or more, I managed 47 books but only 30 qualified for this group.

I will put it on my thread and ask for opinions but as I have a lot of 500 to 599 page books I would be for the change.

Sep 12, 2019, 4:58am

Been a while but another big book is looming, the next Wheel of Time The Fires of Heaven at 928 pages.
Have school holidays in 2 weeks, will be tackling The Decameron, 1072 pages.

Oct 3, 2019, 3:47am

Am in the middle of The Decameron, and about to start The Secret Commonwealth and Lord of Chaos so haven't finished the Big Books for 2019 just yet....

Dec 7, 2019, 1:29am

Just finished the 7th Wheel of Time book, enjoying the series so far, might not get another read this year, if so 21 big books for the year is fine.