Let’s Talk Books: Big Fat Novels I’m Reading or Want to Read, Plus Recent Reads, Past Favs, & My Ever-Growing TBR Stack(s)

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This week, at the request of a friend, I was creating a list of big fat novels I’ve recently ordered either online or from my local library and am looking forward to receiving. Somewhere along the line, I decided to include links. Then before long, of course, got carried away with the project.

Then I started debating with myself whether I should expand the list to a full-blown article and publish it here…but then thought: what the hell, hardly anyone reads this blog anyway, so why not?

So, if you’re one of the few souls who happened to stumbled onto this list somehow, I hope you at least find it interesting and informative…and maybe you’ll even discover a good read or two! (you’re welcome 🙂)

So, enjoy!

A Note: I prefer trade paperbacks (aka “quality paperbacks”) over hardcovers, simply because they’re lighter and more flexible, and therefore more comfortable to read. So most of the links in the list will direct you to the paperback version, though HCs are available in most cases if that’s what you prefer.

Another note: When I was younger, I read predominantly horror (as evidenced by my own collection of “dark fiction” Rolling The Bones: 12 Tales of Life, Love, Loss, & Redemption, as well as the inclusion of my story “The Road Home” in Crystal Lake Publishing’s Shallow Waters Horror Anthology), but as the years progressed, so did I, and I seldom read much straight horror anymore. So the horror novels mentioned in the following lists were likely read in my youth—but as you can see by the majority of the listings, I’ve since greatly expanded my reading!) 🙂

Anyway, here goes:

Recent Reads & Past Favs:

Recently Finished:
A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava (also referenced in my article Ending The War on Drugs by Criminalizing ALL Drugs)
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Smoke by Dan Vyleta (I’ve also purchased the sequel Soot, have not yet started it)
December Park by Ronald Malfi
Moon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale
The Ceremonies T.E.D. Klein
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons (I also enjoyed his novel The Terror some years ago)
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, (finished Book 1: Annihilation, which was also made into a movie, though I saw little resemblance to the book, but again, I digress…)
The Vanished Trilogy
by B. B. Griffith (finished Book 1: Follow The Crow)

Past Favorites:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (probably my all-time favorite novel)
• Note: I was working at the Borders Bookstore in McCarran International Airport when I read McCarthy’s The Road, and I was raving to customers about how good it is and why, enthusiastically recommending it. Well, apparently I was on to something, because it soon became an Oprah pick, and then went on to win the Pulitzer! (On the other hand, the movie was lame (IMO), apparently the screen writers didn’t understand what made the novel so good, totally missed it. But I digress…)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Body by Stephen King (a novella included in the collection Different Seasons)
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewsky
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (I’ve also purchased the sequel, The Mountain Shadow, awaiting arrival)
The Town That Forgot How To Breathe by Kenneth J. Harvey (also purchased Harvey’s Blackstrap Hawco, have not yet started it)
A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava (also referenced in my article Ending The War on Drugs by Criminalizing ALL Drugs)
The Ritual
by Adam Nevill (also made into a movie, which originally aired on Netflix, again nowhere near as good as the novel)
IT by Stephen King
Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
The Dark: New Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow (collection)
Rolling The Bones: 12 Tales of Life, Love, Loss, & Redemption
by Yours Truly, 608 pgs (sorry, I had to do it! 🙂)

Big Fat Novels:

Finished Reading:
A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava, 864 pgs (see favorites above) (also referenced in my article Ending The War on Drugs by Criminalizing ALL Drugs)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, 944 pgs (see favorites above)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewsky, 584 pgs (see favorites above)
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, 736 pgs (see favorites above)
The Ceremonies T.E.D. Klein, 614 pgs
IT by Stephen King, 1068 pgs (see favorites above)
The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, 672 pgs (see favorites above)
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon, 880 pgs (see favorites above)
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, 608 pgs (finished Book 1: Annihilation, which was also made into a movie, though I saw little resemblance to the book)
The Vanished Trilogy
by B. B. Griffith, 624 pgs (finished Book 1: Follow The Crow)
Rolling The Bones: 12 Tales of Life, Love, Loss, & Redemption) by Yours Truly, (collection), 608 pgs (sorry, I had to do it! 🙂)

Currently Reading:
War and Peace (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation) by Leo Tolstoy, 1296 pgs (primary)
• Note: When I decided to read W & P, I went online searching for the best translation. From what I gathered, it seemed to be a toss up between the Constance Garnett Translation translation or the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. My understanding is that Constance Garnett worked directly with Tolstoy during the translation (though more recently I’ve been unable to confirm this), and that Pevear/Volokhonsky are a married couple, Pevear from the US and Volokhonscky from Russia, and have won awards for their collaborative translations. So what I did was ordered a copy of each, and began reading them side-by-side. Read a scene in one, then read the same scene in the other. Though they were both quite readable, it didn’t take long for me to realize that for me, the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation was much efficacious, for a simple reason: if you’re not familiar with Russian culture, Russian history, the Russian military, etc., you would be totally lost reading the Constance Garnett Translation, whereas the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation is loaded with footnotes explaining all of this for context and richer, fuller understanding by the reader. So that’s the one I’m reading now—and as a matter of fact, I’ve ordered a second copy to keep aside, open to the notes section in the back of the book for quick reference, instead of having to jump back and forth as I read.

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, 992 pgs (secondary)
The Instructions
by Adam Levin, 1026 pgs (somewhat active) (also referenced in my article Rendering Unto Caesar)
A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles, 968 pgs (somewhat active)
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, 640 pgs (somewhat active, 2nd attempt from years ago)

Started Reading But Shelved For Later:
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1276 pgs
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, 917 pgs (I also own the complete The Baroque Cycle Trilogy set in HC, got lucky & scored at library bookstore cheap!)
1Q84 The Complete Trilogy by Haruki Murakami, 1318 pgs
The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, 1037 pgs (I also own the complete Border Trilogy set in HC, another library bookstore score!)
Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas, 1153 pgs
2666 by Roberto Bolano, 893 pgs
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, 1079 pgs
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Suzanna Clarke, 864 pgs
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, 608 pgs (finished Book 1: Annihilation, also made into a movie, though I saw little resemblance to the book)
The Vanished Trilogy
by B. B. Griffith (finished Book 1: Follow The Crow)

Own/Haven’t Started Reading:
Anna Karenina (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation) by Leo Tolstoy, 864 pgs
The Catholic School by Edoardo Albinati, 1263 pgs
The Eighth Life: for Brilka by Nino Haratischvili, 994 pgs
North and South Complete Trilogy (HC) by John Jakes
The Baroque Cycle Complete Trilogy
(HC) by Neal Stephenson (Although I’ve started book 1: Quicksilver PB as listed above)
Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey, 832 pgs (see The Town That Forgot How To Breathe in favorites above)

Ordered/En route From Abebooks/eBay:
Unintended Consequences by John Ross, 863 pgs (awaiting arrival)
The Little Friend (Bloomsbury Modern Classics Edition) by Donna Tartt, 720 pgs (active, sampled from library then ordered a copy)
Citadel by Kate Mosse, 720 pgs (active, sampled from library then ordered a copy)
Insular Possession (Picador Books Edition) by Timothy Mo, 672 pgs (awaiting arrival)
Moby Dick
(Norton Critical 3rd Edition), 736 pgs (awaiting arrival)
The Mountain Shadow
by Gregory David Roberts, 880 pgs (sequel to Shantaram listed in favorites above, awaiting arrival)

Ordered/En Route From Library:
Mordew by Alex Pheby, 624 pgs (awaiting arrival)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Trilogy
by Elizabeth Moon, 1040 pgs (awaiting arrival)
The Crimson Petal And The White
by Michel Faber, 928 pgs (awaiting arrival)
4 3 2 1
by Paul Auster, 880 pgs (awaiting arrival)
Hawaii
by James A. Michener, 937 pgs (awaiting arrival)

I also downloaded a Kindle sample of Salka Valka by Halldór Laxness (630 print pgs), but after reading the sample (which was actually pretty good) I was not able to ascertain whether I like it enough to purchase a copy, all the used copies I’m finding online are a little pricey, so I don’t know…I suppose I’ll keep it under consideration…

But That’s Not All!

This list is by no means exhaustive; for instance, aside from Tolstoy, I have a hoard of books by other Russian authors in my TBR stack:

Fyodor Dostoevsky:
Crime and Punishment, 565 pgs (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation)
The Brothers Karamazov, 832 pgs (Bicentennial Edition, Pevear/Volokhonsky translation)
Demons, 768 pgs (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation)
Notes From Underground (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation)
The Adolescent, 608 pgs (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
In The First Circle (first uncensored edition), 784 pgs
The Gulag Archipelago, 498 pgs (3 vols. abridged, and yes, non-fiction)

Vasily Grossman:
Stalingrad, 1088 pgs
Life and Fate, 896 pgs

Not to mention multiple bookcases full of books, from the past and for the future, that I obviously didn’t have the time or room to mention here.

So that’ll be all for now!

And believe it or not, I enjoyed building/linking this massive list! (And, I’m sure I’ll be updating it on an ongoing basis…) So if you’re still here, thank you for your extended attention, and I hope it was worth your time, that you’ve found this list to be interesting and informative, and (hope!) you’ve even discovered a novel or two you’d like to add to your own TBR stack!

So little time, so many books…


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Rand Eastwood

Rand Eastwood is an author & blogger, artist & craftsman, and business owner currently residing in Las Vegas, NV. Certified in both nutrition and ancestral health, he is a healthy nutrition & lifestyle advocate. Ideologically, he describes himself as an Individualist, Consensualist, Syncretist, and Autarchist. Under Eastwood Innovations, LLC he owns/operates Lifeology Store, an online store that offers exclusive, unique, specialty printed products & gifts of his own design. Also, much of his fiction—including some award-winners—is included in his book Rolling The Bones. He also has an extensive novel under development (working title Primeval), along with various other writing projects. To follow his work, you can subscribe to this blog (form in sidebar & below each post, or simply use this quick sign-up form), friend him on Facebook, like/follow the INSIGHTS Blog FB page, like/follow his Lifeology Store FB page, follow his author page on Amazon and Goodreads for future book releases, and visit/shop his Lifeology Store. His Mantra: "To seek, discover, assimilate, and disseminate Truth."

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