Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Five Foolery - Five Fatties

Thanks to Les, I've been thinking about the "fat books" on my shelves and why I haven't gotten around to reading them. I'm intimidated by longer books, partly because I'm a fairly slow reader, but each book has its own unique excuse - or most do. "Fat", by my definition, is over about 400 pages.

Five Fat Books I've Been Meaning to Read:

1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - Really, there's just no valid excuse for not reading Gone With the Wind if you live in the Deep South. I have, in fact, picked the book up and started to read it on no less than three separate occasions. The first time, I was young and busy with high school activities; it didn't grab me and I chose not to fight to get through the book. The second time, I had a toddler running around at my feet and couldn't concentrate. The third attempt was during my bookstore-employee days and frequent interruptions thwarted my efforts. I'm hoping 2007 will be the year I finish Gone With the Wind.

2. God Is An Englishman by R. F. Delderfield - This is a fairly new addition to my TBRs, so I don't feel particularly guilty about the fact that I haven't picked it up and begun to read . . . yet. In fact, I've had the second book in this series for quite some time but decided that since it's historical fiction, order is crucial. My copy of God is An Englishman happens to be located in a prominent location, quite near the bed at nearly eye level when I'm reading. And, it's been hollering at me practically since the day it walked in my door. So, if any of my fat books have a crying chance of getting read, this one is probably at the top of the list.

3. The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George - 964 pages. What was I thinking? I have no idea, but possibly the words "inexpensive remaindered book" figure into the equation. I know I bought my copy at the outlet store that (sob) just went out of business (we're down to one bookstore, full price and very small - no used bookstores at all). Very seldom does a quick flip of a big book manage to get past my "This is too challenging for me," defense mechanism, so there must have been something intriguing about The Memoirs of Cleopatra or it never would have made the trip to the cash register.

4. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears - Recommended by my childhood friend, Diana, who has never disappointed me with any of her recommendations, I purchased this one and promptly plunked it on a shelf under my computer table. Then, I left it there for something on the order of 5 years. When I moved my computer to a different room and another surface, the book and the shelf both were shifted. I'm confident that God knows where An Instance of the Fingerpost ended up, but as to me . . . I'm completely clueless. I could have put it anywhere. There are books in every room of our house except for the bathrooms, literally.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Seriously, I haven't read Great Expectations. Hard to believe, isn't it? My copy is also nowhere near as attractive as the one shown at left, as I purchased a hardback that was missing its jacket, thinking (naturally) that looks didn't matter given the lovely employee discount coupled with the remaindered price. So, yeah, I bought it at the outlet store where I was once employed. That particular store closed about five years ago. We seem to have a bit of difficulty hanging onto our bookstores in this town. I'm also hoping to get to this one, soon. Possibly, 2007 will be a "fat book" challenge year.

Many thanks to Les for the idea of listing some chunksters I desire to read!


  1. Anonymous10:25 AM

    I've read 3 of these. I think I've read Gone With the Wind at least 4 times (first time was when I was in High School). Still love that book - the movie not so much - probably because I'd read the book a couple of times before I ever saw the movie.

    Memoirs of Cleoptra - I've read 3 of her books (Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scotland, and Cleopatra). The only one of those 3 I really loved was Henry VIII)

    Great Expectations I read in school so it's been ages.

    I have to be in the right mood to pick up a "chunkster" but I usually precede and follow them with a few quick reads to balance things out.

  2. You're welcome! And thanks for giving me a couple of ideas for my list. I have the Pears book somewhere in my house, too. I know I've thumbed through it several times. Not sure why I bought it, though. I've read Great Expectations and really enjoyed it, as did my daughter (I think she read it in junior high).

  3. SuziQ,

    Hmm, maybe that's part of my problem; I saw Gone With the Wind when I was in either junior high or H.S. (although, I really was a busy girl in those days) and that can spoil a book. I have read *some* big books but I'm not sure if I can come up with 5 (will have to ponder on that one) and I've always balanced them out with some short reads, as you've done.


    I have a feeling I'm being an enabler, here. LOL Maybe we'll get lucky and unbury the Pears book at the same time; you never know. In the meantime, you've inspired me. I've decided I'm going to try to set goals for reading some fat books and classics, starting right away (with the classics - fat books are good for January, I think). And, if a fat book I read just happens to also be a classic, it's party time when I finish. ;)

  4. I'm right there with ya. I may never get around to A Game of Thrones or whatever the first book is in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Huge!

    I haven't read Gone with the Wind or An Instance of the Fingerpost although I do own both. And I loved Great Expectations (Estella and all) so I would urge you to give it a go. :)

  5. I've read Gone with the wind a couple of times. It's a great read. Better than the movie.

    I have Cleopatra and the Iain Pears books on my TBR too. Someday maybe. Sigh.

  6. Hey Andi,

    So, that's where Estella is from? Oh, pardon me, my ignorance is showing. ;) I'm going to try very diligently to read all 5 fat books by the end of 2007. Note that I'm giving myself plenty of time because I know I'm so not good at reading the thick ones. If I beat you to any of them, I'll tell you what I think (but you knew that, right?).


    Everyone loves Gone With the Wind - or at least everyone I've met who has read it. There's apparently a reason they turned it into a movie. LOL Maybe we should have a fat book reading challenge in 2007? Would that be too long a time period, ya think?

  7. Gone With the Wind is my favorite book. I've read it more times than I can count (seriously). I've also read God Is An Englishman and loved it. I still love chunky books, but don't have the time for them much anymore.

  8. I want to read Gone With the Wind and Great Expectations, too. I loved Instance at the Fingerpost even though the ending was a bit weird - still a very good book.

    I've been thinking about doing a winter reading challenge, maybe call it Curl Up With a Classic. I thought Jan and Feb would be good. Read a BIG book challenge would be the kick in the seat that many of us need to read one. Count me in if you decide to do it. And please do it.

  9. Ex Libris,

    Thanks, you're nicely validating my choices for future reads. LOL I understand the time constraint. I tend to read in bits and pieces - while waiting for school to let out, at the pool, waiting for band practice to end, etc. That makes it a little difficult to dig into a big novel, although I did actually read a couple that could be used as doorstops, earlier in the year. :)


    I love your Curl Up With a Classic idea - go for it! I'll definitely join in! As to setting up a challenge; I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm techno stupid, so I could obviously issue a challenge in writing, but how do people come up with the cute little buttons to display on blogs? Let me know if you're more educated than I. I'm still a true novice and I have no idea how people create those things. I need to take a course on HTML or . . . buttonese . . . or, whatever!! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  10. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Oh - I'd be up for both a Fat Book Challenge and a Curl Up With A Classic Challenge.

    Both sound fun - I could finally read Les Miserables and count it for both, right????

  11. Exactly, SuziQ!

    I was just thinking about Les Miserables, a little bit ago. That's another one I've meant to read for a very long time; fat and classic. Two birds, one big rock. Works for me. :)

  12. I'm no techno geek either, but I do plan another personal challenge starting in January. It'll be my BFB (big fat book) challenge. I'm going to go easy on myself, though. I'll attempt to read one BFB every month for the entire year of 2007. That's 12 BFBs, folks. I'll post my list next week (with one bonus title to fill my Thursday Thirteen list). Stay tuned! :)

  13. Well, ya know, that's a great point, Les. I don't need some fancy button to issue a challenge. LOL I think I'm going to make mine more like 6 in the year 2007, though. I don't know that there are 12 fat books that I'm that interested in. You go, girl!

  14. Big Fat Books, hmmmm...First, I want to join that challenge. Secondly, may I offer the suggestion of a Russian novel? Crime and Punishment or Doctor Zhivago? He'd fit with January, and I love Russian lit. Just thinking out loud...

  15. Bellezza,

    Good idea. I haven't read either of those. Anna Karenina is another I need to get to, although I can't remember how thick it is. I'm definitely thinking January will be a good month to start on the fat books and will post about that closer to the time. Maybe I'll have learned how to make a cute button, by then. You never know. :)

    We were gone all day and a couple of fat books snuck into my trunk while I wasn't looking. Can you believe it?

  16. I loved "Gone with the Wind" and "God is an Englishman", "Great Expectations" not so much. I just finished a BFB -- "Abraham Lincoln." I don't know if any more of my A to Z list qualify. I like reading big books except they are so heavy and won't fit in my purse.
    And people are often compelled to comment on "Wow, that's a big book you're reading." Like it's a bad thing.

  17. I've read 2 from your list. I read Great Expectations a couple of years ago and I finally read Gone with the Wind for the first time this year- January to be exact. I have Pears' The Dream of Scipio somewhere- it's also pretty big. One of my big ones that I've been meaning to read since it came out is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Plus loads of big classics.

  18. Framed,

    Good point about the fat ones not fitting in a purse! I usually carry a tote bag with several books because I'm so fickle, but sometimes I'll just grab one on the go - my purse looks like a piece of luggage, but a fat book would be too much. There are probably a lot of people who think a big book is a bad thing!


    Did you like Gone With the Wind and Great Expectations? I seem to recall you and Chatty Jenn read Gone With the Wind around the same time, but I don't remember your thoughts. I've read very mixed reviews about Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell and will be interested to see what you have to say about it, when the time comes. :)

  19. I'm dying to read "Strange and Norell", you know the title I mean; I've owned it since last Spring and still need to open it up. If I didn't have my day job I'd have a lot more time available.

  20. It's been long enough since Strange and Norell was the "hot book" which everyone seemed to be reading that I've already forgotten what it's about. I do remember thinking it didn't sound like my thing.

    Bellezza, I'm not currently working but I still have trouble fitting everything in; at this point it's hard to imagine how the working parents juggle everything. I spend half my day taxiing the kiddo and most of the rest cleaning up after everyone.

  21. Nancy, I really liked both of them. Definitely worth the effort to read them. Gone with the Wind was my first book read this year so if you feel inclined click on my January archives.
    I really should read some more Dickens soon.

  22. Great post, bookfool! Needless to say, I haven't read any of the books you list because I am TERRIFIED of tomes! I know, I know, I shouldn't be, but it's so hard for me to pick out a book that's over 400 pages long. I have had Gregory Roberts' "Shantaram" sitting on my shelf for the longest time. It has had rave reviews, but I just can't bring myself to read it. I wasn't always like this - I remember reading Anna Karenina, Wild Swans and some other chunksters (love that word) with so much ease. Not sure when I grew afraid of big books!

    Good luck with your Fat books and I hope you get to read some of them soon!

  23. I read Gone with the Wind for the first time during my first week of college finals. Loved it, which is why I was reading it instead of studying.

    (I passed all the exams, by the way.)

    I've been wanting to read the Margaret George book, too. Thanks for the ideas.

    A few "fat" books I've been meaning to read (and here's a good blog post, so I might steal it) are:

    Atlas Shrugged (I've read The Fountainhead)

    Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell

    The Count of Monte Cristo (which I'm actually reading right now)

    and Through a Glass Darkly, by Karleen Koen (especially since she just released a new one!)

  24. Bellezza, I've read both Dr. Zhivago and Anna Karenina. Both are very good books, but I liked AK better than DZ.

  25. Button or no button, it sounds like there's resounding support for a "Chunksters Challenge". Terrific word, Lotus! I love that both the classics and BOB challenge can happen similtaneously. I'm not sure I can manage the button either, bookfool. Another learning event staring us in the face.

  26. Nat,

    Great to know - I'll check your January archives, thanks!!


    Maybe you have the same problem I do; I've had more trouble concentrating with age. I flipped through my calendar and was surprised to find that I've read more 400+ page books this year than I thought, though. I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks!


    Atlas Shrugged is another on my TBRs - thanks for the reminder! The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favorites. I tried to shove it on my youngest, again, yesterday and failed. Sigh. How on earth you read fiction during finals is beyond me. I could never have done that!


    I love that - "Chunksters Challenge"! I think that's what I'll call it. It occurred to me that I could go ahead and start now, but then I realized just how fast 2006 has gone and decided, naaah. 2007 will be here in no time and January is perfect for reading the kind of book you could build a sturdy wall with. Yep, there's also always the challenge of trying to figure out how to create a button! Maybe Carl can help. He did that great RIP button, after all. Are you starting to realize that the older you grow the more you become aware of just how much you don't know? I sure am!!

  27. Booklogged, so wish I could take credit for "chunksters" (such a yummy word), but I saw it on bookfool's main post and couldn't resist using it! Ahhh, a "Chunksters Challenge", just what I need - a really great idea, bookfool, you can count me in for sure!

  28. Lotus,

    So glad you'll want to join in on the Chunkster Challenge. I think the hard part is going to be just waiting to start, now. ;)

  29. I'm joining the "I Love GWTW" chorus. Just re re re re re re ??? read it again in 2005.

    The memoirs of Cleopatra looks great. I'm intrigued by that title, God is an Englishman...what's that about in 10 words or less?

    Didn't read Great Expectations in school and have a copy that's been languishing on my TBR shelf for over a year now.

  30. Bybee,

    God is an Englishman is an epic tale of one man's quest to form his own financial dynasty. Oops, is that more than 10 words? It's set in 19th-century India and England, near as I can tell - historical fiction. Looks great.

  31. It's been awhile since I left a post on your blog. I have been real busy and was off line for a time.

    Did you start the Christian novel that you were thinking of writing?

    I read Gone With the Wind when I was about 13 years old. I have also visited the apartment where Margaret Mitchell did her writing. It was very small. It is amazing to me that authors, such as she, could crank out thick books on those old type-writers. My typing skills are poor. Thank God for computers!

  32. you might be surprised at how fast GWTW and Great Expectations go. I read GWTW when Anna Quindlen included it in her "Books that will take you all summer to read but aren't beach books" list - and every book on that list so far has been a winner.

  33. I'd love to join in! I posted the list at Overdue Books.

    I made a simple little button if you want to use it. It isn't fancy but it works.

    What a fun idea. Can't wait to tackle these.


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