Nothing makes me happier than a big fatty of a book! I’ve been stockpiling many of them too since the start of the pandemic, and it is my two recent purchases that prompted this post. So many great and epic chunksters are written by women and I’ve got quite a collection of them sitting on my shelves.
So many chunksters long awaiting for me to dig into, but today let’s look at the ones I’ve most recently purchased. They are ones I DO plan on reading this year. (I will, I will, I promise you!)
Do we go in chronological order of purchase date?
If we do, that would mean Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) is mentioned first:
I started reading this series in 2018 after repeatedly being told by a book club friend that it was so very good. It didn’t take long at all to completely fall in love with Cormoran Strike! I ran out and bought Troubled Blood the moment it hit the shelves. I was previously always listening to the audiobooks (beasts as they were even before she hit her stride with Lethal White (650 pages of 5-star reading for me) because Robert Glenister is the perfect narrator for this series, he IS Strike. However, I did buy the hardcover of Lethal White because the page count jumped considerably for it, and true to the way she wrote the Harry Potter series, it meant buying Troubled Blood as well. Because there was absolutely no way I could listen to 32 hours or read 944 pages and have that back to the library within their loan periods! And now, with the announcement of #6 in the series coming this year, The Ink Black Heart – I NEED to read Troubled Blood! (Just how long do you think The Ink Black Heart will be? Are you scared – like me?)
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox is definitely not in my regular reading wheelhouse – epic fantasy? science-fiction fantasy? – however, the synopsis sounded so very good and at 640 pages sounded like an epic door stopper so I ran out and bought the hardcover! Have I read it yet? Of course not! (But this may very well be because I did read another fantasy novel last year that was released around the same time as The Absolute Book. I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue so I wasn’t being too quick to reach for Knox’s book so soon after Schwab’s.) The Absolute Book has some murder mystery, cold case elements to it that appeal so I’m looking forward to diving in sometime this year.
Ruth Ozeki’s was another one I ran out and bought the moment it was released. I so adored A Tale for the Time Being that this was an absolute must have! I thought I would have gotten to it already, but it just means all the goodness inside is waiting for me now. “With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.” (Surprising to me was this one wasn’t featured on any prize lists last year when it was released. A Booker-nominated author overlooked by Canadian literary prizes? That made me sad.)
Tenderness by Alison Macleod was another one eligible for Canadian literary prizes, but this 640 page novel didn’t make any of their lists. I did read Macleod’s collection of stories in All the Beloved Ghosts and loved them, I also read Unexploded which was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Unexploded contained exquisite writing so I’m hoping for the same here in Tenderness. I found it on the shelf in the bookstore while browsing and was attracted to its heft and then I noticed it contains bits of letters and weaves Jackie Kennedy with the classic novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I was texting these bits of goodness to Hoarder Elizabeth while standing in the aisles. Her response of, “Gimme, gimme, gimme” meant how could I not buy this one?? “Alison MacLeod captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century from war and censorship to sensuality and freedom. Exquisite, evocative, and grounded in history, Tenderness is a testament to the transformative power of fiction.”
To Paradise released today. Yanagihara’s A Little Life crushed my soul and this one has been described as just as relentless for it, so hurray? To Paradise also promises a story just as epic and all consuming as A Little Life, with its span of three centuries, written with three different versions of America, contains slips in time as well as her characteristic and gorgeous imagery, and it is already being heralded as a book of the year. Will it live up to the hype?
Finally, we get to the one that saw me racing to the bookstore so I would be the first person there when it opened. My long, long, long awaited next instalment in the Lynley series by Elizabeth George. She made us wait four long years for this one! Something to Hide will push my planned read of Troubled Blood to the side. I have to finish our book club’s pick, John Boyne’s The Echo Chamber first and then will immediately dive into Something to Hide. (Troubled Blood was going to be THE book I tackled after our book club book, but sorry, the new Lynley and Havers takes precedence. I will read you Strike!)
Do you know how many others I have on my shelf just waiting and waiting? I really need months off to devote to reading! Send me off to a secluded island or cabin in the woods and leave me alone! Please.
Some of the books (those brilliant, big, fat, chunky books) I have are: The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili (I bought the e-book and it says it’s 1,071 pages), The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch (she has a 2nd in this series as well and that one clocks in at 752 pages), Middlemarch (!) by George Eliot, Barkskins by Annie Proulx, the entire Labyrinth trilogy by Kate Mosse, plus her 2nd in the Burning Chambers series: The City of Tears, The Goldfinch and The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset….and, and, and…. Women truly do write big books!
So, so many great and hefty books waiting for me. Do you love a good chunky book too? Which ones do you recommend?