Summer Big Fat Book Readalong

Back in March, Sunita and Keishon planned to read big books from their TBR pile and invited others to join them. I loved the challenge and took it as an opportunity to pick up and read a book that I had started and laid aside several years earlier, Hilary Mantel’s wonderful Wolf Hall. I liked the accountability and fun of reading alongside others. And I liked having the deadline to aim for. I read a lot of shorter fiction, these days, and I don’t read much non-genre fiction either. Big books can feel burdensome when you’re used to finishing things quickly. If you’ve got a large TBR pile, it’s tempting to stick with the things you can cross off quickly, rather than the hefty tomes which can make it feel as though you’re making no progress. But there’s another thing going on for many readers, I think. Sunita’s talked about that too: The Way We Read Now. Digital content packaged in smaller pieces, with links enabling constant switching from one thing to another. If you’re reading a book on a tablet, are you also checking your email/twitter feed? I love immersive reading. I love sinking into a book and forgetting the world around me. I love reading for so long that I’ve no idea what time it is and I’m only brought back to the real world because I have to go to the loo or get a drink. That’s one of the things I love about LONG books: you can spend a long time with them.

So, with the northern-hemisphere summer, it seemed like a good idea to have another Big Fat Book readalong in July. The rules are the same as before: there are no rules. Well, okay, there is one rule: it has to be a book. Audio is fine. TV miniseries is not. It can be genre fiction, nonfiction, classic fiction, whatever you like. It can be the same book you started but didn’t finish in March, or it can be something completely new. There is no minimum page limit. If it feels like a Big Fat Book to you, it counts. I am planning to read the sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies. We’ll start on July 1st and aim to finish by the end of the month.

I found that having the book on my Kindle really helped in March. I could easily track my daily progress – read 3 or 4% each day and you know you’ll be done by the end of the month. Plus you don’t have to lug a big heavy book around. And if you have a dedicated e-reader, it minimises the temptation to just check twitter again… But you don’t have to do it my way. Some people find that audio books work well for them. Others love the feel of a beautiful hardback.

I’ll try to put up a check in post once a week so we can talk about what we’re reading and how we’re finding the experience. If you’re chatting about it on twitter, use the #summerbfb hashtag.

So, are you in?