Monday, June 25, 2007

Chunkster Challenge Wrap-Up

The Chunkster Challenge, hosted by Bookfoolery and Babble, is the most challenging of the challenges I have participated in this year. The challenge was to read as many chunksters (over 400 pages) as you choose from January 1 through June 30. I chose to read five, and successfully read four of my original choices and one alternate. I did not finish one book.

My finished challenge books are:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Red Earth and Pouring Rain - Vikram Chandra
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco
East of Eden - John Steinbeck

However, I also read 8 other books that fit the criteria as a Chunkster. And one that fell one page short at a mere 399 pages.

The best book: That is really hard, as I loved them all. If I had to choose one, I guess it would be East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

What book could I have done without: The only book I could have done without is the one I did without. I did not finish The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, which was on my original list. It was horrible.

Any new authors? Yep, Vikram Chandra, Haruki Murakami, Umberto Eco and Ayn Rand. I hope to revisit all of them except Ayn Rand.

If there were books you didn't finish, tell us why. I did not finish The Fountainhead because I discovered, while Ayn Rand may have been a highly competent philosopher and intellect, a writer she was not.

What did you learn -- about anything -- through this challenge? Other than my discovery about Ayn Rand, I learned that I sometimes need discipline to confront daunting books. Foucault's Pendulum sat on my shelf for three years, until I finally picked it up for this challenge (and the TBR challenge). But once I did, I was immersed, and loved it. Same goes for Red Earth and Pouring Rain. I hope to participate in this challenge next year, even if I do it as a personal challenge.

I also learned/discovered the crazy world of Haruki Murakami and his pop-culture literature. And, I reacquainted and reaffirmed my love for John Steinbeck.


Literary Feline said...

The Chunkster Challenge was one of the more challenging ones. You did well though from the sounds of it. I really want to try something by Vikram Chandra and my husband is trying to get me to try Umberto Eco. Maybe one of these days. :-)

Dewey said...

I hope all book challenges have questionnaires like this at the end! I'm in 6 now, but it's my first time.

I feel the same about Rand, though I wouldn't even grant her the "great philosopher" concession.

Nyssaneala said...

@literary feline - you seem to have whizzed through it pretty easily! ;) I hope to read The Way the Crow Flies, as I really enjoyed Fall On Your Knees.

@dewey - I took this questionnaire from the Spring Reading Challenge, and just decided to use it for all of my challenges.

I didn't mean to say that Rand is a great philosopher, only that I respect her intellectual capabilities. But I disagree with basically everything she's ever said!

MyUtopia said...

I agree with you on Fountainhead. I tried reading it a couple of years ago, because I was told it was one of those MUST reads. It was a total dud to me.

Bookfool said...

I love your "report" - wish I'd thought to come up with questions, as Katrina did. All of these are books I hope to read, except for Grapes of Wrath, which I read about 5 years ago.

tanabata said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge! Sounds like you had some good reads too. I need to read some more Murakami. I'd recommend Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I think it's my favourite of the ones I've read so far.