Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wrapping Up: Big Book Summer Challenge

Hosted by Sue at Book by Book, this has become one of my favorite challenges.

 I did pretty well on the Big Book Summer Challenge--all you have to do is read a book over 400 pages.

Here's what I planned and how I did - 3 out of 5 completed by Labor Day!

1. Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens - loved rereading this wonderful early Dickens novel. 

2. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck - still reading this, just over half done, and enjoying it so much more than when I was in high school. Definitely a masterpiece and clearly a contender for The Great American novel, and so sadly still pertinent today.

3. Men to Match My Mountains, by Irving Stone - non-fiction, exceptionally interesting, very detailed.

4. Devil's Brood, by Sharon K. Penman - loved this book so much. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, Medieval history is one of my favorite periods to read about, and Penman is the queen of her craft. Immensely satisfying novel about Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, RIchard I, John and so many others.

5. A Dance to the Music of Time, 1st Movement, by Anthony Powell - didn't even attempt it. Maybe next year.

I do like big books, and since I tend to read books in parallel rather than serially, I can spend weeks or months on a book and really feel like I've experienced the book and it will stick with me.


  1. This is an impressive list of books. I need to get to some of them myself including The Grapes of Wrath.

    Nicholas Nickleby was really a wonderful book. I am glad to read that you enjoyed it.

  2. Hi Jane, Great choice of books. Men to Match My Mountains has always been on my radar. High time I give it a read. Agree about Grapes of Wrath. I read it in high school too and I believe that was too young. Also so much has changed in America and particularly now this is probably a very relevant book.

  3. Cheers for all the good books you read! I like your reading themes. It's great that you still give attention to some of the bestselling authors of the recent past, whose works are still able and interesting. My husband might like to read the Irving Stone book, since he is a railroad buff. This summer I gave him James' Michener's novel on the Space program ("Space") and he liked it pretty well. Michener puts a lot of nonfiction content in his fiction, so it was the rare novel he picked up. Stone's book might be just what he would like.

  4. Congrats on getting so many 400+ page books read this summer! The Grapes of Wrath is one I still need/want to read. Maybe I'll tackle it next summer. :)

  5. You did a great job finishing these long books! I'm about to finish Pachinko which has taken me awhile at around 480 pages ... that's my one long book this summer. It's very readable though ... I have about 80 pages left!

  6. Impressive! I loved Nickleby and Grapes of Wrath. I did start the Powell a couple years ago, I got through the first book of the first volume and then got annoyed with the characters. I do want to finish it someday but I guess it was just the wrong time. Will try again someday, maybe next summer?

  7. Congratulations on another wonderful Big Book Summer, Jane! So glad you enjoyed the challenge again - and that is one of your favorites!

    Wow, you read some great books this summer. I also read a Dickens (David Copperfield), whose novels I love, but I haven't read Nicholas Nickleby yet - maybe next summer! And you've inspired me to re-read The Grapes of Wrath - I enjoyed it in high school, but that was a looong time ago!


    Book By Book

  8. That's impressive! Nice work. Good luck with your reading goals this fall!