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So many good ones to choose from! Moby Dick is great. I've read it twice and my husband is listening to it right now and enjoying it. And of course, having just finished Homer and in the middle of Clarissa, I think you should read those too! :) Have fun deciding!


I'd be up for a group read of Les Mis as long as it doesn't start this month. :)


Stefanie--I think I would enjoy Moby Dick--probably wouldn't have when I was younger, but now...It would be fun listening on tape, too. I'd like to do what you did with the Iliad and read, but also listen along. I need to find out which translations/audio you read/listened to.
Susan--I am thinking really far ahead here. I wasn't actually planning on starting until Spring-ish, maybe March or April. I really do want to read Hugo!


I adored Les Miserable. I vote for that one! I'd like to reread it myself, this time unabridged. The first time I read it, I read it abridged and didn't realize until I finished it. I was a little bit ticked off, let me tell you!

I tried to read Moby Dick. I made it about halfway before putting it down. I just couldn't take it any more. ;)


I'd be up for most of these as far as group-reads go: Les Mis, The Divine Comedy, Homer, The Tale of Genji, Moby Dick, or Clarissa. :) Or more than one, if it's spaced out over the year!

Sam Houston

Your picture of "An American Tragedy" caught my eye tonight. That's one of my all-time favorite books, one of the few that I've read several times, in fact. It is a powerful story and I've always felt that it was ahead of its time in the honest and frank way that it handled the to find my copy now. :-)

Kate S.

I would definitely join you in reading "An American Tragedy." I recently came across some court documents relating to the real-life story that the novel is based on and I've been thinking about writing a law & literature piece that brings the two together.


I think it's wonderful that you've been able to tackle such lengthy novels and have enjoyed them. I tried reading The Magic Mountain - it was good but somehow I lost my steam with it just as I did with Don Quixote and only got half way. One of these days I will finish both of these books. Have fun with whichever book you take on!


I utterly love tying into the bigger novels! The ones you can wade around in. I've had that Dreiser book on my shelf for a century and have not read it yet.
I think you will really enjoy Anna K. [It's my favorite novel, ever].
And I have wanted to read Middlemarch since Noah was gathering animals!
All the best to you in 2008, Danielle.
Happy Reading!


I've been toying with the idea of reading Ulysses, but it's rather daunting. I will start it some time this year! I really must sort out a reading plan soon as I keep thinking oh yes I must read that and that and that ...

Happy reading, Danielle, I'm sure you'll be reading something good, which ever you choose to start with.


Can I just put in a quick word for Clarissa? Yes, it is bigger than a doorstop and looks daunting, but believe me it is a most wonderful book.


I would definitely be up for another group read of a good big book. I seem to be a glutton for 600+ pagers as well having started Les Miserables not long after finishing DQ, KL, and rereading The Illiad. Anna Karenina and Ulysses are already on my list but I'm game for another. If you go for Homer, I highly recommend The Teaching Company's classes by Elizabeth Vandiver (12 30min lectures apiece on both Illiad and Odyssey.) They are available in many public libraries and are terrific; listening to the lectures while reading added immeasurably to my understanding and enjoyment of the books.


I think the only ones I've read from your list are The Forsyte Sage and Clarissa (and incidentally, I have a daughter named Clarissa, but not because of the book).

Les Miserables has been on my to-be-read list for years, and that's the one I'd choose. Might even join a group if one got started, although I was dismal with Don Quixote and only read 100 pages.

David King

I have read Joyce's Ulysses 1.5 times, the .5 being the first attempt. Proust scares the pants off me, but I might be up for it...depends! I am planning to read War and Peace again, but that's as far as my big commitments go at this stage.

Bride of the Book God

You really should try the Forsyte Saga. I put it off for years but found it really rewarding and wished I had read it sooner!

Dorothy W.

It looks like you might have some company for your big read! I'd been thinking about Moby Dick -- I read it once for grad school, but I'm not sure I did it justice then. That one would interest me, as would An American Tragedy. But at any rate -- you have lots of good books to choose from!


Thanks for that! The pages of my copy of Magic Mountain were separating from the spine by the time I worked up the courage to read it. It was my grandmother's favorite book. She was reading it again in German before she died. It is a beatiful but effortful read. I'm hoping for a new translation before I attempt it again.


My book group tackled Moby Dick last year. I was fairly sure I'd enjoy it but was surprised by just how much I did and how hard I found it to put down. A very rewarding reading experience and one of our group's best discussions in the 15-plus years that we've been meeting.


I am planning to read Les Miserables over the course of 2008. I have a copy of it sitting right beside my chair at this minute. We might do it and alternately blog our thoughts on an informal basis.

Of course, you'll manage to get through it more rapidly than I (based on comparative reading speed) but it would be interesting to learn what piques your interest.


Heather--I think I will read Les Mis this year. I've got the little Signet classic, which is unabridged--I made a point of checking it out as I hate abridgements, too. I will have to read Moby Dick eventually. I think I can get on better with it now than I might have when I was younger.
Eva--I think Les Mis is going to be a definite, but I'd like to maybe read a couple of others--like you said, though, spaced out. Not sure which others to pick yet, as they all sound appealing to me. If you are curious about The Tale of Genji I read a really good fictional book about the author, written by Liza Dalby called The Tale of Murasaki. I have been interested in The Tale of Genji ever since I read that book!
Sam--Your enthusiasm makes me want to grab it from my shelves as well. I enjoyed what I read, but I just didn't apply myself to such a long book and let myself be distracted. I think I would do much better with it now!
Kate--That sounds interesting--I'd love to read it if you write it! Have you read the Jennifer Donnelly book (Northern Lights) also based loosely on this true story? It was really well done--but it is a YA book.
Iliana--I've lost steam on more than a few books myself, so I understand how that goes! In a few cases I've gone back later and had more success. Sometimes it seems to be a matter of timing! The choosing part is always fun!
Cipriano--Ah, so I'm not the only one who manages to think about reading something for ages and ages! I'm looking forward to Anna K--I wonder if I will like it better than W&P? Middlemarch is great, I think you'll love it when you get to it! Happy New Year to you as well!


Booksplease--I keep thinking of all the books I want to read this year as well--there are so many that I think I'll have my work cut out for me. Everything sounds so good!!
Harriet--I think Clarissa sounds like great fun. I will get to it eventually even if it is not right away. I've found that I really like 18th century novels! And I actually sort of like those long, epic sorts of books (as long as they don't overlap!).
mary--It would be great fun if you'd like to join in. I think Les Mis is going to definitely be one of the books, and maybe also An American Tragedy, but I can't quite decide beyond that. I'd love to read The Iliad--I had not thought of listening to lecture tapes in addition--I really like that idea. I'm all for using aids to get more out of a book. That's part of the reason I like reading big books in a group as then you can knock ideas and questions around with other readers. Everyone comes to the discussion with some different perspective. When are you going to read Anna K?
David--I don't thin I am ready for Ulysses, but I should really give his short stories or shorter novel a go! I'd love to read Proust. Did you see there is a group (Involuntary Memory--link on my sidebar) for reading all of Proust? I didn't initially join as I knew I couldn't take on the books when they formed the group last year. I'd also like to reread W&P eventually--maybe when the new translation comes out in paper.
Bride of the Book God--I think I will really like it as well. It has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while now. I've seen parts of the BBC adaptation, but I've held off watching the whole thing as I want to read the book first.
Dorothy--I think I've only ever read one of Melville's short stories! I've heard it's chock full of symbolism, so I've put off reading it as I'm always afraid it would go over my head. I think I'm finally at a place where I could appreciate it. I think I am definitely going to give the Dreiser another try this year, and there might be a few others who'd like to read along. In any case, you are right, all the books sound tempting.
Ted--I've often picked up Magic Mountain and looked at it, thinking this must be a really good book. And then putting it back on the shelf!! I'm not sure which translation I have--is there more than one? Can you imagine being able to read it in German! A bad translation can make it really hard going!
Kathryn--It's always so satisfying reading a book like that--usually there is so much to talk about, and I bet there was lots with Moby Dick! I'm not even sure I own a copy--I'll have to get one next time I hit the bookstore.
Jill--That sounds perfect! I think I'm going to read Les Mis for sure now, as there is lots of interest. I have to finish Armadale first though, as I don't want two chunky classics on the go at once, so it will be a few months before I start. Are you already reading? And I'm really not all that fast. It took me something like nine months to read David Copperfield and I started War in Peace in July of 2006 and finished by the end of March in 2007! Some books just need more time it seems.


Wow Danielle-that was some marathon replying. Very impressed. :) Tale of Murasaki is now on my wish list-it sounds really good! I'm looking forward to reading Les Mis in a group. I love, love, love the musical, and I remember trying to read the book in high school, getting about half way through, and just giving up. It'll be good to have some support! (Hugo makes me a bit nervous-he goes on such long digressions)


I really wish I were better at reading long books. I really struggle with anything over 500 pages if it isn't a family saga. I'd very much like to read The Forsyth Trilogy, that being said, and I'd love to read something by Dreiser. I got through Buddenbrooks in my youth so The Magic Mountain would also be possible, I should think. Still, I'll be very interested to see what you go with!


I loved Les Mis, and Proust is heavenly. I've just been given the new War & Peace!! so that will be my big read for the next while. But I'll see what you pick and just might have to follow along as well.


I would recommend the Forsyte Saga. The fact that it consists of 9 separate books means that you can read it in a few easy steps. I admit that I have only read the first 3. I found them very addictive, though and raced through them.


Eva--Whew is it! I don't usually get so many replies to my posts, so it was a little overwhelming, but I hate not leaving a comment back, so I broke it into two sections! :) We'll have to figure out a timeline for Les Mis. I've not seen the musical nor read any of the book. Is this the one that has Jean Valjean? If so, my grandmother raved about the book (or maybe that was another Hugo??).
Litlove--I'm sort of surprised that I've been reading so many long ones--I was very similar only being able to read epic family sagas as well. It's no wonder so many classics went unread by me when I was younger! I think I'd like to give the Dreiser another try, and I'm not sure what else. Perhaps at some point in the year we can choose one to read together? I also want to read the Forsyte Saga (perhaps a good choice as it is a family saga?).
Melanie--I'm looking forward to Les Mis! I think a lot of people are reading War and Peace this year. Did you join Ex Libris's Russian Reading group?
Ed--I like addictive when it comes to books! That's actually a good way to approach the novel--perhaps I could try for one section a month? I'll have to see how my copy of the novel is broken up.


I read the Fagles translation of The Iliad and listened to the Fitzgerald translation. Both of them were really good. Fagles reads in a very straightforward manner. Fitzgerald is a more poetic. Fagles sometimes chooses some real clunker modern words. Fitzgerald can sometimes be flowery and on occasion uses some archaic words that made me go huh? But you'd do well with either translations. It's a matter of taste.


It's funny, because I just started Moby Dick a few days before your post and I'm enjoying it so far. There is a new pop-up version, which I guess was partially an incentive to read the real thing. I'm up for reading Anna Karenina becaus everyone says I should. I read War & Peace a while back and I wanted to tear my hair out at the end with all the philosophy. I just don't think it's fair to tack that onto the end of a novel. Anyway, I guess the philosophy in Anna Karenina is more a part of the novel. I've never read Victor Hugo, so I might be willing to join in on Les Miserables. Of course, we can all use these for the Chunkster Challenge too.

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