Friday, January 1, 2016

The Big Fat Book Challenge

My TBR list is overflowing with big books that I REALLY want to read, but fail to make time for in favor of new releases that can be read in a sitting or two.  In 2016 I really want to make time for some of the chunkers sitting on my shelves.

Obviously, what counts as a “Big Book” is somewhat arbitrary – not only because you have to set a number of pages that count, plus different editions of books can vary in terms of pages.  That said I’m counting anything over 500 pages as a “Big Book” and I’m going to use the number of pages from the first edition printed. 

My goal is to read 6000 pages of Big Books.  That could be twelve 500 page books or that could be six 1000 page books.

Planned Big, Fat Books

This is my plan with some alternates, but I could end up with completely different final choices if I end up DNFing some (life is too short to waste time on a bad/boring book).

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1079 pgs) 

2. Shogun by James Clavell  (808 pgs)

3. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer (1056 pgs)

4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke (782 pgs)

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (771 pgs)

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (767 pgs)

7. The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin (688 pgs)

8. The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (896 pgs)

9. Antarctic Navigation by Elizabeth Arthur (798 pgs)

10. Son of Shadows by Juliet Marillier (608 pgs)

Alternate Options

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (843 pgs)

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (944 pgs)

I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb (897 pgs)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (973 pgs)

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko (768 pgs)

Roots by Alex Haley (729 pgs)

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (701 pgs)

The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay (739 pgs)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (560 pgs)

Anyone else feel like they never tackle the bigger books on their TBRs?  I’d love company on this challenge if anyone else wants to join.


  1. Oooo! This is the sort of thing I'd never tackle... I rarely read books bigger than 500 pages because most of them are not worth the extra pages. That said, definitely try to fit in Son of Shadows. It's not Daughter of the Forest, but I did enjoy the romance in it. Also, I read I Know this Much is True about 5 years ago so don't remember much, but I love Wally Lamb and find him really readable. So hopefully you will try that, too!

    1. In general I agree - most long books didn't really NEED to be that long, but there are exceptions to every rule and so many of these have been recommended by people who aren't trying to impress me with the super long books they've read. When my mom recommended Shogun and I asked how long it was she guessed 300-400 pgs. Yeah not quite.

      As I've established, I definitely don't have a probably putting a boring book down so if I get 25% into these books and they just aren't working I'll move on.

      I actually own I Know this Much is True so I'm guessing it will make the final list.