Thursday, September 03, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Big

This week's Booking Through Thursday topic is big books: What’s the biggest book you’ve read recently? (Feel free to think “big” as size, or as popularity, or in any other way you care to interpret.)

I suppose the "biggest" book I've read recently, in just about any way you can think of, would be the book I just finished – John Updike's Rabbit Is Rich. At 467 pages of text, it rivals Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angel's Game, which I read earlier this summer; although I believe that one is officially over 500 pages in length, the ARC I read was about 470 pages long.

Rabbit Is Rich spent 23 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list when it was first published back in 1981 – so you could say it was pretty popular. And it won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1982 (one of only half a dozen books ever to win both awards), as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1981. So it's definitely had its share of honors.

Hope to get a review of the book posted today or tomorrow. I was nudged into reading it by the Battle of the Prizes reading challenge, and it's been something of a stunner for me – I hadn't expected to like it at all, but I've been very pleasantly surprised. And I've become very fond of the book's main character, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, even though he cheats on his wife and is really hard on his son. He represents a sort of Everyman (or, make that Everyperson) I find quite annoyingly easy to sympathize with. Especially when he comes up with thoughts like these:
There always comes in September a parched brightness to the air that hits Rabbit two ways, smelling of apples and blackboard dust and marking the return to school and work in earnest, but then again reminding him he's suffered another promotion, taken another step up the stairs that has darkness at the head. (p. 171)
The thing about those Rotarians, if you knew them as kids you can't stop seeing the kid in them, dressed up in fat and baldness and money like a cardboard tuxedo in a play for high-school assembly. How can you respect the world when you see it's being run by a bunch of kids turned old? (p. 275)


  1. I've never read any Updike, but The Witches of Eastwick is on my tbr list right now. Here's my BTT.

  2. Rabbit Is Rich does sound like a very famous book, but I don't think I've heard about it. But then, I don't know much about Updike either. I must get myself updated on his books.

  3. I look forward to your review. I've never read any Updike but I really should. :-)

  4. Great post! I promised myself to read more Updike this summer, but never got around to it.

  5. I'm not big on reading big books. I prefer my books around 350 pages at the most.

  6. Everytie I see you reading one of these books I feel like such a slacker :-)

    Come on by and pick up an award when you have a chance

  7. The biggest book ever would have to be Moby-Dick and, yes, I've read it.

    2666 by Roberto Bolano also proved to be a big book due to its length. But I like the idea of "big" being flexible. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is a very meaty read - one you'll probably return to in order to pick up what you missed the first time.


Welcome and thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to hear from visitors.

Also, please note that while I appreciate the thought, I don't play the blog awards game. I think you all deserve awards! But you might think about becoming a follower of my blog -- that would really be the best award.