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Ah! The Mists of Avalon is WONDERFUL, and if you enjoy that one, I have to highly recommend The Forest House and The Lady of Avalon (both of which I actually enjoyed more than Mists.)

Other than that, my favourite "chunkster" books are Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (700-some-odd pages) and Gone with the Wind (my copy is just over 1000 pages, but i hear that's long compared to other publications of the book.)


I've been in the mood for some kind of Arthurian fantasy--thanks for reminding me of "Mists of Avalon"! I think it'd be perfect for my mood.

Courtney--funny you mention "JS&MN." That's the book I'm currently reading, and I love it.

As for my favorite "chunkster," I'm going to say Robert Littell's "The Company." It's a sprawling, multi-generational spy novel weighing in at almost 900 pages, if I remember correctly.


I'm going to have to second Courtney's JS&MN and GWTW. Also, the Count of Monte Cristo is great. I loved War and Peace. Dang! Y'all stole all my ideas. I'll have to get back to you.


Courtney--I am liking Mists so far--are the other two books similar or telling the same sort of story? I think I have GWTW somewhere, but I have never picked it up to read!
Brandon-JS&MN is on my reading pile. I have heard good things about it, must move it up the stack!! I swear I have heard of The Company somewhere...or maybe it is just the sort of book you think you have heard of. I read the occasional spy novel so I will have to look it up.
Adrienne--I loved the Count of Monte Cristo, too! Definitely one worth a reread!

Sherry Early

Les Miserables is my favorite book period. Kristin Lavransdatter is a great book, too, by the way.


You've already named some of my favourites in Diana Gabaldon and Paullina Simons. I think Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose would count as chunksters.

The chunksters I've read this year and enjoyed are Mary Queen of Scots by Margaret George (870 pages), Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (862 pages), A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith (632 pages) and City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling (591 pages).


Gone with The Wind is mine :) followed by Forever Amber.

I read the Mists of Avalon years ago I can't really remember it anymore.

Dark Orpheus

Of the Wilkie Collins novels I've read, "Armadale" remains my favourite because of the villainess, Lydia Gwilt. It could her flaming red-hair, her strength of will, or the fact she possesses more dash and courage than any of the men in the story.

And "Kristin Lavransdattar" - I've been reading up on it, and it's definitely a book I will read next year.


Danielle, The Forest House & Lady of Avalon are more like prequels to Mists... The Forest House tells of how the priestesses go to Avalon in the first place. The Lady of Avalon is kind of a continuation of The Forest House; it tells the story of three different women who are the high priestess of Avalon between the time of The Forest House and Mists of Avalon (ending with Vivian, who's the high priestess in Mists).

Dorothy W.

Do tell us when you begin to read Don Quixote -- I'm planning on reading it next year too, and maybe we can get a reading group together? I'd like to read Kristin Lavransdatter too, but I have no idea when I'll get to it. I love long novels too!


I also love the "chunksters." You have a great list, with many of my favorites--Mists of Avalon, Don Quixote, and The Count of Monte Christo (close to my all-time fave). Good for you for planning to read The Odyssey. Which translation are you going to read? I found the new Fagles version to be very readable and a lot of fun.


Very excited to hear about the Gabaldon Outlander books. Call me cheesy, but I LOVE a good time traveler book. (And I agree with you--not all are created equal.) Also, I've been meaning to read The Count of Monte Cristo for awhile. I had it in my hand in the bookstore a few months ago but the Toddler flipped out and I had to ditch all potential purchases and remove him from the store. I loved War and Peace.


Danielle, I'm eager to hear about Armadale. I've never read it, but love Wilkie Collins and am re-reading The Woman in White right now. Thanks, Dark Orpheus for mentioning the red hair...I love it, too, and love characters with any shade of red.


I love the term 'chunkster'! I'm a chunkster wimp - I get very cold feet at books over 500 pages, and am hoping that reading along with you will get me through the Mists. I suppose I have read Stendhal's The Red and the Balck, and Flaubert's Education Sentimentale (both over 500 pages). And I'd like to read both The Forsythe Saga and Olivia Manning's Fortunes of War.


What great choices!! Perhaps you should run a new Chunkster Challenge for 2007 - All Chunkster, All The Time or Classic Chunksters.

Carl V.

I write about the same things over and over again as well but its because they enchant me and I cannot help it. You're in good company.

I have only recently begun to overcome my aversion to 'chunkster' books. I think the number of books that I feel like I want to get through in a year makes picking up monstrous books a daunting task. I remember a few years back being so happy that I picked up and read Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein...a book I had been eyeing for years...and it was only 608 pages! I loved it though and it has at least somewhat lessened this weird dread that I have. I am hoping that when I finish Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell that it will have been one of my favorite 'chunksters'.


Oooh I love chunky books! Mists of Avalon is one of my favourites, as is JS&MN and I have a nostalgic affection for Diana Gabaldon. :-) (I didn't like Gone with the Wind at all. Scarlett is thoroughly annoying, and Rhett is such a mysogynist! Iconic, yes, romantic, no.)

I second Dorothy re. Don Quixote. I'm meaning to read it next summer as well...shall we do it together as a project?


My favourite relatively recent brick of a read, aside from Middlemarch, is Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I have all of The Baroque Cycle lined up, waiting for me. And I've designated Monte Cristo as my must-read classic for next year. This year's chunksters for me were MM, W&P, and Strange & Norrell (which I didn't like as much as most people seem to).


No fair - I already have my chunksters list made up and you just tempted me with all these others. We'll just have to keep the chunkster idea going forever so we can read all those juicy fatties we want to.


I just realized that there already is a Chunkster Challenge! Where have I been? Oh geez...another challenge I want to join.


Sherry--I bought Les Mis this summer. That is another that I would like to read. Someone else gave an excellent review of it. Glad to hear you also liked Kristin L!
Marg--I also read Mary Queen of Scots, and her Henry VIII book which was really good. I have heard of Forever Amber--must look up the other titles, thanks for the suggestions!
Janice--Another Forever Amber reader--it must be good. I love historical novels, which if I remember correctly this is!
Dark Orpheus--I sort of want to pick up Armadale now--love your description! Let me know when you pull out Kristin L! It would be nice to read it at the same time as someone else!
Courtney--I am finding that I like reading about this time period and subject, so I will have to check these out next time I am at the bookstore...or mooch them!
Dorothy--I would definitely like to read Don Quixote in a group. I tend to do better in groups with big reads like this!
Bikeprof--I am glad to see another Count of Monte Cristo fan!! I have asked for the Fagles translation of Homer! It was at the top of my wishlist, so I hope I get it. Otherwise I am sure I will get a gift certificate!
Camille--If you haven't read the Gabaldon books you should--at least the first three that I read were hard to put down. I loved the Dumas and highly recommend him!!
Jenclair--I think I will be moving Armadale up in the pile--I love hearing something is good from others!
Litlove--I borrowed the phrase from other bloggers! Although I love big chunky books, I don't always choose them as I know it will take me time to get through them, and I feel like I am in such a rush to get through books lately! I forgot to mention the Forsyte Saga--another one on my pile. The Manning sounds interesting--I will have to look it up!
Heather--I am planning on reading some of these next year, but I probably won't join in a challenge specifically. I should have share the link:
Carl--I think some books are just so good that it is hard not to be enthusiastic about them. I know there are some I am constantly recommending and would love to reread. I don't read a lot of really long books, but I do enjoy a good epic tale! I have Jonathan Strange on my pile, too!
Victoria--I would love to be part of a group reading Don Quixote. When I started blogging there was one, and I wish I had known about it. This would be a great book to read in a group!
Isabella--I would also like the read the Baroque Cycle. Are you enjoying it so far? It sort of looks intimidating, but I am interested anyway!
Booklogged--Sorry--these suggestions always throw me off track too, but it is nice to hear when someone enjoyed (or not!) something!
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

Les in NE

Two of my favorite Chunksters are Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd and The Stand by Stephen King. Oh, and I suppose I could throw in Aztec by Gary Jennings and Swan Song by Robert McCammon. All are excellent!!


Favorite chunkster: Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (688 pages)


Les--just last week I added both Sarum and London by Rutherford to my wishlist! I am glad to hear they are good--they certainly look epic! I have never read The Stand, but isn't that one of King's biggies? I have to look up the other two--thanks for the recommendations!
Musing--I agree--I loved Ahab's Wife! That is one I would like to reread!


I just finished my first Chunkster for the challenge this morning, was half an hour late to work to finish but could not put the Crimson Petal and the White down without finishing. And didnt he just leave us hanging! Must order the Apple today from Amazon UK or the Book Depository which I found out about here last week! Thanks for the enabling!


I realize this is late for this post...but I loved An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears so much, that I had to post it!

(and I enjoyed The Stand too..only King that I liked, even though the ending is typical King fizzle out)

East of Eden by Steinbeck is quite a chunkster too...and it wonderful.

Great non-fiction (which reads like fiction) is Nicholas and Alexandra by...Robert K. Massie?..been awhile, but I stayed up not being able to put that one down....completely fascinating.


Joannie--I have had the Pears book on my shelves for a long time! I have heard good things about it--not sure why I have not yet picked it up. I need to read Steinbeck--another one I think about reading (need to read more American classics!)!! Thanks for the Massie suggestion. I love Russian history. It is hard sometimes to tell if NF will be really interesting or rather dry! Especially the big, thick books!

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