The Sunday Salon: Chunkster-thon

Many of my blogging friends took part in Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon this weekend.  I didn’t, but I have my own “thon” going.  Quite by accident I find myself reading chunksters, one after the other.  In late March I read Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady,  and followed that with Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time (links will take you to my reviews).   I was planning to read a couple of short Viragos next, but I received notice from my library that Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken was waiting for me.  This was a surprise, since I was #58 in queue two weeks ago.  Whatever!  What’s another 400+-page book, eh?  I don’t mind too much, but I really do think I’ll be ready for those short Viragos soon.

As a slight antidote, before starting Unbroken I turned to Iris Murdoch’s Bruno’s Dream.  This is not a chunkster, and it’s also my first experience with an e-Book.  I’m reading it on an iPad using the Bluefire reader app.  The book is in PDF format.  I like the portability, a lot, and can see its potential especially for those pesky chunksters.  I’m not wild about the iPad’s backlighting; it causes glare that can make reading difficult in certain lighting conditions.  The PDF format is a little clunky, too.  There seems to be a lot more text on an individual “page” than I’ve seen in e-Pub format samples.  This means the print is quite small, and I have to adjust the size to read comfortably (oh, my aging eyes!).  And for some reason, the table of contents is off by 3 chapters.  I’m curious how much of my experience is due to the format, the app, or the device … because I do feel pangs of e-Reader lust which may need to be satisfied someday. 🙂

Technology issues aside, the book is quite enjoyable.  Bruno is an elderly, bedridden man, estranged from his son who is also his only living relative.  While Bruno is a central figure in the story, most of the plot concerns others in Bruno’s life:  his son-in-law, his caregivers, his son and daughter-in-law, and so on.  Like most of Murdoch’s work, sexuality and morality are central issues, and the characters all become tangled in various muddles.  I’m about halfway through and am really curious to see how all the tangles get sorted out.

And then I’ll return to my chunkster-thon!

What are you reading this weekend?


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.


6 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Chunkster-thon

  1. I’ve been reading books on my Nook, and I’ve noticed the free-for-download classics have really easy-to-read formatting (as long as you get them from a site like Gutenberg or, rather than Google book’s horrible scans, lol). But I just started trying out some e-arcs from NetGalley, and the formatting on them is a bit whackier; one book I read had footnotes, which led to a bit of craziness, and the current one I’m reading will suddenly switch to small print randomly just for a ‘page.’ I’m not sure if the ebooks for sale are like that, though, or if it’s because they’re arcs. Haven’t bought any ebooks yet!

    • Aha. You have shed valuable light on this, Eva! My book is a NetGalley review copy. I bet that’s the reason! Thank you …

  2. I do love a big chunkster but I must admit some times they are just too big. The one I am reading at the moment is more than 990 pages long!

    • Well yeah Marg, 990 pages is pretty darn long. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a super-sized chunkster like that. I hope you are enjoying it!

  3. I have some chunksters that I must get to and SOON. The largest one I read recently was the 680+ Freedom. It had a whole mid-section that was tedious, so next time, better pick! I read quite a few 400+ books and yesterday read Jodi Picoult’s newest one, Sing You Home, with 466 pages.

    I used to read chunksters all the time, as a young person; Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc.

    I’d like to reread some of those, but first, I have a whole TBR pile to get through…some of which are unread chunksters.

    Reading on my Kindle is something I’m still adjusting to…it’s nice and light, and there aren’t any issues about font size that I’m encountering. But it’s just not the same as a real book…sigh.

    I do love the ease of downloading, though, and not having to WAIT for a book.


    • Laurel-Rain, I read quite a few 400+ books too so I probably shouldn’t count those as chunksters. 500 or 600 or more, now we’re getting chunky indeed! Thanks for the perspective on kindle-reading!

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