Monday, September 14, 2020

Big Book Summer Wrap-Up

Summer is officially over, and so is the Big Book Summer Challenge hosted by Suzan at Book By Book. I'm very pleased because I finished ten very long books this summer! Eight were from my original list, and two were e-books that I'd been wanting to read. Here's what I read: 

Altogether I finished ten big fat books, seven in print, two on e-book, and one (mostly) audiobook: 

Nonfiction: (3)

Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman (592 pp)
Roughing It by Mark Twain (592 pp)
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (622 pp)


Imperial Palace by Arnold Bennett (769 pp)
The Twisted Sword by Winston Graham (646 pp)
The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili (944 pp)
Temptation by Janos Szekeley (685 pp)
John Caldigate by Anthony Trollope (656 pp)

The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton (652 pp)

Short Stories: (1)

East and West: The Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, Vol. I (955 pp)

Of course, some of these books were actually not as long as expected, due to margins, font size, illustrations, etc. The nonfiction books also had indices and appendices. 

The longest book was The Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, and the shortest was actually The Fruit of the Tree, though it doesn't look it.  Altogether, my total number of pages read for this challenge:  7,113!  (I also read some shorter books this summer to break it up). 

I enjoyed all the books for the most part. I think my least favorite was Roughing It and my favorites were Temptation, The Warmth of Other Suns, and Imperial Palace. I still love big fat books and plant to keep reading them -- there's still almost 30 books left on my original list! I have some other challenges coming up this fall and hope to finish some more by the end of the year -- and some shorter books too. 

Bloggers, how was your summer of reading? Did you finish any great big books, and what's on the horizon for your fall reading plans? And thanks again to Suzan for hosting, I hope we'll do it again next year!


  1. I'm in absolute awe of your reading list! What a fabulous set of books and what a very rewarding summer of reading. I'm a big Trollope fan (I've read the Palliser & Barsetshire series and most of the stand alone biggies) but I've never heard of John Caldigate. I checked out your excellent review, which I enjoyed very much; the book sounds interesting but a bit of an oddity.
    I'm also a big Wharton fan but have never read The Fruit of the Tree. Every time I want a Wharton novel I always seem to end up simply re-reading Age of Innocent (one of my favorite novels of all time). Your review reminds me that I need to break out of my Wharton rut.
    I haven't been much of a non-fiction reader for many years, but Isabel Wilkerson really tempts me. I had a copy of Warmth for many years but, alas, never got to it. These days I'm seriously considering her new one, Caste, which has gotten fabulous reviews. The Colette bio sounds quite interesting as well, particularly since Colette is a writer that I've been meaning to explore for some time. In the past, I've found that a good biography can be a nice lead-in to an unfamiliar writer (Edell's biography of Henry James was my introduction to James' work).

    1. Thank you! I loooove Edith Wharton but The Age of Innocence is oddly enough not one of my favorites. It was the very first book of hers that I read so maybe I should read it again? It's possible I just didn't get her style at all until I read House of Mirth, which I love.

      The Warmth of Other Suns is so, so good! The way Wilkerson interweaves the life stories of three different people with historical facts and statistics is just brilliant, I could hardly put it down and finished it in just a few days. I definitely want to read Caste as well. And I do want to read more author biographies, I have Wharton, Trollope, Dickens, and Zola on my TBR shelves. I tend to read bios after I fall in love with an author's work, I should try it the other way around!

  2. Congratulations on a fabulous Big Book Summer, Karen! Wow, 10 hefty tomes - well done!

    I really want to read The Warmth of Other Suns - I heard so many rave reviews of it this summer.

    Glad you enjoyed the challenge again this year!


    Book By Book

  3. Wow - that's a lot of big books and a whopping page count! Warmth of Other Suns appeals to me - I will have to get a copy. I hadn't heard of that particular Wharton or Trollope. Always great to mix in some classics with some non-fiction, etc. Good mix.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.