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Sunday Salon: A Giant Book and a Secret Project

October 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon.com

This Sunday, I have two fun things to tell you about: a giant book and a secret project.

The Giant Book

I recently discovered that my sister and I have both been thinking about reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. After a brief discussion, we decided to read it together so we can provide moral support for one another along the way. We each requested a copy from our respective libraries.

I knew going in that the book was rather hefty. But when my copy came in at the library, I felt an irresistible urge to break out my ruler. Behold, the 1474-page, 2.75-inch-thick book I will soon attempt to read:

A Suitalbe Boy and a ruler

I’m actually looking forward to tackling this tome. I think having my sister to hold me accountable will keep me going. Though, I’m thinking I may have to buy my own copy, just in case the library wants theirs back, you know, sometime this year.

Here’s what the back of the book says:

A Suitable Boy end view

“Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find–through love or through exacting maternal appraisal–a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.”

Has anyone read A Suitable Boy? Is it worth the fear it inspires? What’s the longest book you’ve ever tackled?

The Secret Project

When not (a) working up the nerve to tackle the behemoth pictured above or (b) frantically trying to finish the books I’m supposed to have done by the end of the month, I have been hard at work on an exciting secret project. It’s not quite ready, so I won’t be sharing it today. But! Do check back tomorrow, when the secret project shall be unveiled!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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24 Comments
  1. October 24, 2010 7:26 am

    ooh I love secrets :-)

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:33 pm

      :-D Me too!

  2. October 24, 2010 10:04 am

    Ah, doorstoppers. They should be classified as weapons when they’re in hardback.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:39 pm

      I’ve never seen A Suitable Boy in hardcover. It would truly be scary as well as lethal.

  3. October 24, 2010 11:31 am

    Good luck! I don’t know if I will ever have the fortitude to try to read A Suitable Boy. It will be nice to have your sister reading it along with you.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:39 pm

      I’m not sure I could get through it without moral support! I’m really interested in the book, though, which is a good motivator for me. There’s no way I could tackle a book like this just to say I had read it.

  4. October 24, 2010 12:44 pm

    That is indeed a mammoth undertaking – I can’t help but admire you for it. I have a few friends who have been urging “A Suitable Boy” on me for years, and the spirit is willing, but the flesh is too weak to transport it from my parents’ house in Washington, DC to my house in Canada. I have read other thing(s) by Seth that I enjoy, however. Maybe I will just have to start lifting weights by way of training.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:41 pm

      You’d probably have to check a separate bag just for the book! I’m thinking I will have to rig up some sort of support system so I don’t break my wrists holding it up. This will be my first of Seth’s novels, although I do have An Equal Music.

  5. October 24, 2010 1:44 pm

    Wow, that’s giant! I’ve never read it, but I hope you like it. The biggest book I’ve ever read was Infinite Jest, last summer, and it was a lot of work. I was glad to have an online support system as I worked on it.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:42 pm

      Of all the legendary mammoth tomes out there, I think Infinite Jest is the one that interests me most. If I survive A Suitable Boy and need another chunkster, I’m considering picking it up next! I will absolutely need a support network for that one.

  6. October 24, 2010 2:36 pm

    Whoa, good luck! It sounds a good story though. I’ve read books of around 700 pages, but Shogun (1100 estimated pages) remains on my TBR. Reading it with your sister will make it easier no doubt.

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:43 pm

      I’m interested in the story, which is why I think I’ll make it through. I’m not the sort of person who can muscle my way through a massive book in which I have no interest just to say I read it. I’ve never read Shogun, but I’ve heard good things about it. I think the 1000 page mark is about where I start thinking, Whoa, do I really want to read this?

  7. October 24, 2010 2:45 pm

    That is a serious chunkster!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:44 pm

      Yes! If I end up buying a copy and hating it, I already have plans to use it as a doorstop / intruder incapacitation system.

  8. October 24, 2010 3:35 pm

    Sigh, unfortunately it’s not a “single sitting” read. I read the first chapter of this for a literary guide I was writing for a publisher a few years back, and it was simply stunning. Just gorgeous. I think this is one of those books you’ll definitely want to read.

    Maybe I can do it chapter by chapter for my site :) Along with the Remembrance of Things Past!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:46 pm

      Ha, no! Definitely not for a single sitting. Although it is broken into 19 parts, each of which would probably make the single-sitting cut. You could go part by part — that would be fun! A massive book read in single sittings :-)

      I’m happy to hear you liked the writing. That can be a deal breaker or maker for me.

  9. October 24, 2010 4:35 pm

    Whuh. That is definitely a chunkster. Not sure if I could do it, but I’ll look forward to reading your progress!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:47 pm

      “Whuh” was pretty much my reaction when I picked up my copy at the library! We’ll see how it goes!

  10. October 24, 2010 5:23 pm

    Whoa! What a whopper! I just finished “Under the Dome” by Stephen King, which was 1074 pages, and I’m heading into “The Passage” by Justin Cronin, also very big. I want to read Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, too … I don’t know, if a book is really good, it doesn’t seem as huge a task!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:50 pm

      Oh, yeah, Stephen King has some killers in terms of size! I have The Stand on my list. That’s true — a good book never feels as long as a bad one. They always seems to end too soon, no matter how many pages they have!

  11. October 24, 2010 5:40 pm

    Ooh, I love tomes! And I never heard of The Suitable Boy before! It sounds wonderful! Lots of layers and family dynamics! I think Diana Gabaldon’s book Outlander might be the biggest I’ve read – over 1000 pages. I have both Under the Dome and The Passage in my book pile too. I did convince my reading group to Read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, which was almost 1000 pages…. I think it will be fun to have a reading partner and it’ll keep you both on track.

    And as for the secret… I love secrets too! :-) I’ll be waiting for the big announcement!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 5:53 pm

      Yes, I hear A Suitable Boy is very complex: love story meets sweeping history of a country. My sister, who has read the first few chapters already, said there are almost too many characters to keep track of! I would love to read the Outlander series. I keep hearing about how good it is, but I’m reluctant to start a big series when I have so many other things I’m supposed to be reading. I loved Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without End. Neither felt long to me — they were too fast-paced! That’s a pretty hefty novel for a book group, though. You must all be brave readers :-)

  12. October 24, 2010 8:19 pm

    Oooohhh…an exciting secret project! I’m curious!

    And YIKES! I saw “A Suitable Boy” in the book store once and thought “OH MY. That is the biggest book I’ve ever seen.” If there is a book made for an e-reader, that is it! You’re going to need to do strengthening exercises before you read it!

    • Erin permalink*
      October 24, 2010 9:49 pm

      Mm, yes…I’m working on the secret project as we speak…

      Yep, that’s about the reaction I had! I won’t have an eReader until at least Christmas, though, so I’d best start cross training :-) The good thing is, the book itself is all you need to work out!

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