I am rather fond of epic-length sagas--a good family drama or quest--no matter what the time period, though I don't seem to make much time to read many of them lately. I really like the ones I can literally lose myself in. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is a book that I have had on my bookshelves for ages, so it was a perfect choice for the From the Stacks Winter Reading Challenge, and I have heard impressive things about. It also weighs in at slightly more than 800 pages (a prime chunkster candidate). I have really only dipped into the book, but I am enjoying it so far. It is an Arthurian saga told from the woman's point of view. I suspect many of you may already have read it, so I probably don't need to give a summary. I am waiting for that moment of not wanting to set the book down. I am still reading background story, though. Arthur has yet to be born, but Igraine and Uther Pendragon have met, and I suspect they will be getting together soon.
I have many other chunkster types of books--some already read and some waiting to be read. In no particular order, here is a smattering of them (well, 14 anyway): Penny Vincenzi's Lytton Family Trilogy I am sure I have mentioned before. This is a great family saga set around the time of WWI about a publishing family (each book is about 600 pages). Diana Gabaldon has written The Outlander series, of which there are five so far (I have read the first three, each around 800-ish pages). I am a tad bit leery of anything having to do with time travel--I have read a few really bad time traveler sort of romances when I was younger to know what sorts of problems you come up against with this type of story, but Gabaldon pulls it off pretty well. Set in present day America and 18th C. Scotland, France and America, these are definite mind candy types of books. Paullina Simons has written The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander (both about 600 pages). They are set in WWII Russia and are the sort of book I stay up late reading and rereading. Both are nicely done historical fiction books with romance thrown in.
I love Wilkie Collins, and I have Armadale just waiting for me. It is another suspenseful thriller in the vein a The Woman in White--it sounds like another delicious Victorian soap opera (752 pp.)! I have heard the woman in this novel is quite a famous villain. Hmm. I want to read Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote (the new translation--all 900+ pages). It is called the first modern novel. It is one of those iconic sorts of books where you sort of know the story without ever having read it. I want to read it next year. Another planned read is Kristin Lavransdatter (I have the lovely deluxe edition with all three books in one--1168 pp.). This won the Nobel and it follows one woman's life in 14th C. Scandinavia. I am a little fearful of being confused by the names, but if I can handle Tolstoy's War and Peace (1425 pp.), which is actually highly readable, I can handle a few Scandinavian tongue twisters surely? I am thinking of W&P, and even picked it up and read a few chapters this week. I have less than 1000 pages left to read. Gulp. Maybe I should take that with me to Kansas City next week?! Approximately six hours to fill...I could make a little dent in it surely.
I read George Eliot's wonderful Middlemarch (880 pp.) this year. It is one of my favorite reads of the year. Dorothea Brooke surely has to be one of the best female characters in English literature? She is one of mine. Definite reread material, as is Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. This is another favorite read--an excellent (if somewhat long--1488 pp.) tale of adventure and revenge set during the Napoleonic Wars. Homer's The Iliad (704 pp.) and The Odyssey (560 pp.) are on my wishlist for Christmas and I plan on reading them both next year! I read them (well excerpts or abridgements) when I was in high school, and they have piqued my curiosity once again. And for something totally different, I have the first book by Neal Stephenson (The Baroque Cycle) Quicksilver (960 pp.) on my TBR pile. This was a recommendation--"Adventure, romance, politics, history, theology, magic, science, money and calculus". I am not sure how to categorize it--sort of fantasy? It is not one of my usual types of reads, but I hope to try some new things next year as well!
I could go on (you know how I like lists), but this is already too long. And I feel like I tend to write about the same old books over and over, but really they are that good, or they look that good! What is your favorite chunkster book?