Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big Fat Books!


by Anna Campbell

Recently my critique partner the fabulously talented Annie West lent me a book she'd enjoyed called RIDERS by Jilly Cooper. It's about 900 pages long, it's got a cast of thousands and reams of sex and conflict and intrigue. And I devoured every steamy word of it! Especially the bits about the sex-god antihero and all-round cad Rupert Campbell-Black. What a fun character! These big juicy books have a larger than life quality that I still respond to.

My reading over recent years, especially with romance, has concentrated on books that focus on a principal couple and the ins and outs of their relationship (as the actress said to the bishop!). You get that intense read and a big emotional experience in return for the narrow range the book covers.

But when I read RIDERS, I had a flashback to a much younger me who used to devour these thousand-page sagas like they were going out of style (which sadly they were by the time I'd finished!).

My mother was a big reader. She loved Mills and Boons and she loved long, long stories about intrepid heroines facing all kinds of catastrophes and emerging triumphant. Catherine Cookson, Josephine Cox, Danielle Steel. Rarely was she not in the middle of some poor woman's struggles against a hostile world!

I must say my taste in sagas was slightly different. I loved the glam ones like the Judith Krantzes. The sex and shopping books of the '80s? Gimme, gimme, gimme! I remember just adoring PRINCESS DAISY and SCRUPLES. Lots and lots of passion and intrigue and generally at least two really great love stories (with copious nooky) to keep me amused for hours. RIDERS was kinda sex and saddles rather than sex and shopping but it definitely falls into the category I'm talking about.


Almost inevitably these books were made into miniseries which was part of the fun too. I can remember the first time I saw Rupert Everett, he was Daisy's evil and oversexed half-brother in the TV adaptation of PRINCESS DAISY. Appropriately he was called Ram (snork!).

One of my favorites, both as book and miniseries, was Barbara Taylor Bradford's A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE. It was the ideal combination of what Mum liked - plucky lower-class girl beats the rich at their own game and ends up queen of all she surveys - and what I liked - lots and lots of glamour and drama and sex and shopping.

I certainly don't think I'm going back to a solid diet of these books. But it was so interesting to read a story that encompassed a whole world, that was long enough to span years of action and character development (or not as the case may be!). There was a sweep and a broad canvas to the story that I don't get with the more intense stories.

Which reminds me of my favorite saga! Definitely a sweeping tale and a better read than you might imagine, especially the bits about Natasha and Prince Andrei who is a wonderful hero!

So over to you! Did you ever read these books? Do you miss them? Or do you still seek them out? Most of these writers are still publishing. Do you prefer the broad sweep of a saga or the concentrated experience of a book just about one couple? Do you have a favorite big fat book? Did you watch the miniseries of these books? Did you have a favorite TV version? One lucky commenter wins a $15 Amazon voucher - perhaps so you can go and buy some big fat books to augment your collection!

152 comments:

Nancy said...

Is it me? Really? I never had the old boy before!

Nancy said...

Woo-hoo! It apparently IS me! Now I'll just have to keep the dog away from him.

Anna, this was a fun post. I used to read multi-generation sagas, but I'm afraid I gave most of them away to make shelf space. I do, however, still read sweeping fantasy sagas.

I just finished NYT Bestseller The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which appears to be the first of a sprawling saga. I struggled valiantly to keep pace with the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, but as thousand-pager after thousand-pager came and went, and the gaps between lengthened while Rand never came near the mountain where the climactic battle is to occur, I had to start stockpiling and stop reading. When the last book comes out, I'll spend a month or three rolling straight through.

I think romance probably works best focused on the couple, but I also love books that go beyond that. BTW, that's an eye-catching cover. I'll bet lots of people picked that baby up and read the cover.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was a huge book but probably not a saga in the sense you mean. I thought the worldbuilding and the authorial voice were wonderful, but I eventually began to miss feeling more anchored in characters' viewpoints.

And I still think the ultimate saga is LOTR.

Jane said...

I've never read these books, but I have seen some of these movies on the WE network. One of them was Princess Daisy, I remember the actress who played Daisy was very beautiful. I've seen a bunch of Danielle Steel movies, too. I also remember reading an excerpt of Judith Krantz's Spring Collection in Cosmo, but for some reason I never got a copy of the book.

Trish Milburn said...

I was never one for the glitz and glam books. The sagas I liked (and I usually watched the TV mini-series versions rather than read the books) were things like North and South (the John Jakes, American Civil War story, not the British one) and Colleen McCollough's The Thorn Birds. There were lots of those historical mini-series when I was a kid, and I ate them up.

Annie West said...

Anna,

Fascinating post. I have to say I was never a reader of the glitz and glam blockbuster. My big fat books were more likely to be Tolstoy or Tolkein or RF Delderfield. 'Riders' was fascinating though perhaps a bit too long. I loved the horse stuff and Rupert was an excellent antihero as you say, but I think I'd prefer a great big juicy romance.

Looking forward to seeing what others recommend.

Annie

Christine Wells said...

My golly, I thought this post was going to be about big fat something else beginning with B when I saw that picture. Thank goodness it's not. The less I think about my big fat B the better!

Anna, what a great post. I remember seeking out the longest, most turgid books I could when I was younger and nerdy and trying to prove how clever I was, but they tended to be the classics. I think Gone with the Wind has to be one of my favourite doorstoppers, along with LOTR. Bit more low-brow than War & Peace, but anyway...

I missed the excesses of the 80s and I've never been into those designer name dropping glam books, but I did read A Woman of Substance and the sequels and loved them. Empowering stuff! A more recent fat book I enjoyed was Diana Gabaldon's Cross-Stitch. Oh, and a couple of the Harry Potters are quite the door stoppers, too.

Strange coincidence that my BFF Vikki also lent me Riders a couple of months ago. I still haven't read it but it sounds like a real romp. Looking forward to it!

Congrats on the rooster, Nancy!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nancy, congratulations on the chook! That cover does take the, ahem, eye, doesn't it? I dread to think what I'd look like in tight jodhpurs like that! Ack!

Jane, the miniseries were huge fun, weren't they? Completely unrelated to anything like real life - and man, often the shoulder pads were better actors than the actors!

Anna Campbell said...

Trish, I started North and South but it went on longer than the actual Civil War, I'm sure of it! Give me the Richard Armitage version any time. Um, just give me Richard Armitage...

I could never come at the Thorn Birds miniseries. I loved the book - that was another big doorstopper covering hundreds of people and several generations. I remember reading it on holidays with the family - the family had a very QUIET holiday that year ;-)

I never read R.F. Delderfield but they had some wonderful BBC adaptations of his books. I remember crying my eyes out over To Serve Them All My Days. And I didn't read LOTR until I was in my 20s. War and Peace is funny - well, not really! The way I came to read it was kinda funny. A good friend of mine got sick of me being self-deprecating about my writing and saying, "Well, it's not War and Peace." She said I should read WAP and that she bet I liked it. Guess what? She was right! It's a really emotional read which I hadn't expected at all. I remember being on the bus when Prince Andrei dies (sorry if I'm spoiling it for anyone) and having such tears in my eyes, I missed my stop.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Christine, given my bit fat B is bigger than yours, that's the last thing I'd blog about!

I haven't read Gone with the Wind - tried several times and just can't get past that first 100 pages. Yeah, I know, I'm about to be drummed out of the corps of historical romance writers! And I haven't read Cross Stitch/Outlander, although it's on the bookcase. Interesting you bring up the Harry Potters. I think there is a hunger in us for that feeling of a whole world presented to us that we get when we read a doorstopper. Or at least a good one!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats Nancy! After P226's training, I'm pretty sure the GR can handle himself around your dog. ;-)

QUITE an eye-catcher of an opening there, FoAnna! And no visible panty lines... Could it possibly be Kirsten?!?!?! ;-)

Since I've never read WAP, I guess I can forgive you for not reading GWTW, Fo. I read the latter over Christmas vacation my junior year of high school, and yes it was a very quiet holiday around my house.

The other really sweeping saga I remember reading was "Evergreen." I was fairly newly married then (the first time) and my hubby asked what was so great about the book, so I gave him a brief run down. A couple of nights later as I was sitting with my nose firmly buried in the book, I let out an audible sob and the DH said, "Uh oh, what happened to Anna NOW?"

Christine Wells said...

Anna, Gone With the Wind is NOT a romance and I'm told Gabaldon says her books aren't romances either, so you're fine! We will let you stay in the corps:)

And yes, the HP world is one you don't want to leave in a hurry so it's no hardship at all to read a zillion pages. As someone who writes v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, I admire writers who can last the distance of those zillion pages and come out with something that isn't flabby or incoherent and ties up all the loose ends. I'm lucky if I can remember the end of a sentence I just started these days.

Christine Wells said...

Trish, my dh has just finished watching the entire mini-series of North and South. It took HOURS! And I wasn't there at the start so I was hopelessly confused when I tried to watch an episode. LOVED the Cookson North and South mini-series (of course) but I haven't read the book. However, I might read it, since I can spend the whole time thinking of Richard Armitage.*g* Sorry, but Patrick Swayze simply doesn't compare.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, AC, give WAP a go. I'm serious - it's much more approachable than a lot of classics I've read, like Henry James for example. My problem with the Gabaldon is that it's set around the Jacobite Rebellion which I just find too sad for words. It's like going to Titanic - you know the boat is going to sink.

What was Evergreen about? Who wrote it?

My theory about the success of the HPs is that at least half the appeal is that world rather than any actual details of the story. What an amazing writer to be able to create something that resonates so strongly with so very many people.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, C, was there a Cookson North and South miniseries too? THREE miniseries all called NandS? That's overkill, surely. I introduced a good friend of mine (hello, Sharon!) to the glory that is Richard A over the weekend. Her verdict? "What a smashing fellow!" Actually there were some great Cookson miniseries - one had Admiral whatsits from Pirates of the Caribbean in it - you know, the guy Keira is meant to marry? Tall, dark and handsome. He was a wonderful Cookson hero - really strong and gutsy and honorable. And another had the gorgeous Sean Bean running around falling out of his loose shirt. Sigh.

Gillian Layne said...

Go Nancy! You can teach the old bird some new tricks. :)

When I was young, it was Gone with the Wind. Then I obsessed over Thorn Birds. I still think that book is amazing. I read it until the pages fell out and I had to go buy another copy. The miniseries was fine, but it's hard to watch anything on TV when you can quote bunches of the book. (Except for LOTR. OMG--Loved every bit of that movie.)

For a more recent big book, I really liked the Historian.

Harry is such an obsession we don't speak of it as fiction. It's a sickness, really. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, which particular old bird do you mean? I hope it's the rooster and not ME!!!!

Hey, I heard about the Historian. I must read it. Another one that sounded interesting was The 13th Tale.

I think it's wonderful when you love a book to death. My copy of Lord of Scoundrels looks like it's been through World War II. AND LOST!

Eva S said...

Thanks Anna for reminding me of those times long ago when I read all the sagas you mentioned, although in the ´70s and ´80s I read everything I could find!I have seen the miniseries too, but I don't miss them.I loved Thorn Birds on TV back then but I've tried again and can't understand why! Nowadays I prefer books focused on one couple...

But there is one book I'm still waiting for and that's the last one of Robert Jordans' Wheel of Time. I loved the first books in the series, got disappointed in the middle but I'll have to know how it ends..

Helen said...

Congrats Nancy

Great post Anna I used to love reading those sagas many moons ago some of my favourites were Rich Man Poor, Man Winds Of War and The Thorn Birds all of which were made into mini series on the TV and Mum and I loved them and North and South that had Patrick Swayse in it Winds Of War had Robert Mitcham in it loved him
Have Fun
Helen

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Eva, I must see if I can get the Robert Jordans. I haven't read them but you're the second person to mention them. At one stage, I used to read those huge fantasy books but I seem to have moved on. I think we both must have read every single thing we could lay our hands on when we were younger and establishing our tastes. I know I did!

Helen, I remember the Winds of War. It was on when I was at boarding school and I was really cranky I couldn't watch it. People raved about how wonderful it was. Same with Rich Man, Poor Man. Actually I miss the age of the miniseries. I used to really enjoy a lot of them.

Eva S said...

My fantasy sagas still have their places on my shelves and sometimes I even reread them. I was very sad when I heard Robert Jordan had passed away although I had the feeling about his books that he had a very good beginning but never found a proper way to end the story. It kept growing and he added more and more secondary characters and plots and twist. It will be interesting to see how his follower will end it...Still I strongly recommend it for everyone who likes fantasy!

Christie Kelley said...

When I was younger and had way more time than I do now, I loved to read sweeping historical sagas. Now, there's no chance of me reading something like that. I'm lucky to get five minutes to pick up a book.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, congrats on the GR! Never fear, he will be gentle with you since it's your first time. *g*

Fo, I ADORE those big, juicy books. Scruples is one of my favorite books of all time! I have read it about five times. Billy was an inspiration to me!

I also liked some of those horrible Harold Robbins books, like The Stallion. Um, subtle much? *g* They were fascinating in a way that is both anthropological and visceral, if that makes any sense. You can't help but be pulled in, but then feel guilty for it and want to analyze WHY it happens.

I think NY publishing must have decided those tomes, like the old Judith Krantzes were too long and people wouldn't hang with them. I would! I would buy one and dive right into it. High fantasy! (I'm looking for Riders, too!)

I slogged through Jean Auel's tomes, as well as those of Diana Gabaldon, J.R.R. Tolkein and...well, name someone and I probably read it. One of my favorite books that no one in the world seems to have read is a WWII novel called "Gone To Soldiers" by Marge Piercy. It follows a number of different characters and their personal experiences of WWII. Great stuff!

Carol said...

Hi to all,

Diana Gabaldon says her books ain't romance...what!!! no way! course they are! how can you love a guy for 30 years and not call it romance!
And through the course of Um...6 giant books...or is it 7...I've read them all, LOVE them!
And just to rest my case ...DG was in the romance section of Borders!

Nancy watch out for that rooster ...he can be tricky! keeps wanting to round up the dogs, gets them completely bamboozeled!

Cheers Carol

Anna Campbell said...

Eva, I didn't realise Robert Jordan was no longer with us. How sad.

Christie, I think even the romance novels were more 'sweeping' back then. I mean, the Rosemary Rogers and Jennifer Wildes and Kathleen Woodiwisses were sagas in their own right, even if they did concentrate on a central love story.

Caren, I remember reading Scruples on the bus and getting rather embarrassed. I haven't read it for years but I certainly remember it was fairly explicit for the time! I was really surprised when I went looking for covers to discover that a lot of the Krantzes are out of print. They were HUGE hits in their day.

My mum was a Harold Robins fan. I never really got into him. But I remember really enjoying some of the Sidney Sheldons. He was a master plotter. I still remember the twist at the end of The Other Side of Midnight!

I suspect you'll like Riders if you liked those others. There's another couple in the series - I've got Polo on the bookcase.

I remember seeing Gone to Soldiers in bookshops. Never bought it.

Actually another writer who did great big sweeping sagas, although definitely not of the sex and shopping type was M.M. Kaye. Her historicals like The Far Pavilions and The Shadow of the Moon were fantastic, full of exotic detail and derring do. As there's a Raj backstory in my current book, I'm going to re-read The Far Pavilions. Found it for 50 cents at an antique shop recently. How the mighty have fallen! It was a huge hit in its day too.

Anna Campbell said...

Carol, you're clearly a Gabaldon fan! I must read them - people keep telling me that I'll just adore them. I've just got to get over my Culloden phobia!

Nancy, how are the dogs coping with the chook?

peggy said...

i would read these books.but i dont think i would watch the series
.i think the books have more detail in them.and they hold my interest longer than tv shows

Bunny B said...

I don't really read all these big, fat books anymore. I don't have much time to even the thin books I have :P But I would love to read them if someone recommended a nice one.

Cheryl said...

Gosh, there was a time when I wouldn’t buy anything but a doorstopper! Like you, Anna, I enjoyed all the books you and others mentioned (haven’t read Riders though). I still have many old favorites on my bookshelves such as Reay Tannahill’s and James Michener’s tomes. Then there’s Herman Wouk’s Winds of War, and War and Remembrance, Galsworthy’s Forsythe Saga and Helen Hooven Santmyer’s “…And Ladies of the Club”. Sadly, who has time for 1000+ page books these days!

My GWTW copy sounds like your Lord of the Scoundrels one. :) I guess if you can’t get into the book, you haven’t seen the movie either. Not to worry – the number of times I have will make up for it. LOL! (I heard recently there’s a GWTW musical on in London. The mind boggles…)

I hope you read Outlander soon – you’re missing such a treat in Jamie. :)

Caren, I remember Harold Robbins. Carpetbaggers was a favorite. I used to sneak his books off my parents’ shelves. *g*

Deb Marlowe said...

Oh, Anna, I love me a big fat book!

My copy of Thornbirds was so tattered! My mom even bought me a new copy for my 35th birthday as a joke. North and South. Ah. Outlander series, Jean M. Auel, I still love them all, I just don't have the time I used to have for them!

Carol said...

Hi Anna,
Re Diana Gabaldon.
Actually there's hardly any Culloden in the books...just heaps of other great stuff!

Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet -Don't drop it on your foot... plaster would be required!

He wrote it 18 years ago and has finally written a sequel, The first was absolutely wonderful, about building a huge cathedral, sort of like Exeter Cathedral... and had a character in it ...a priest who was an absolute bastard.
The sequel is on my to buy list!

Gillian Layne said...

***Gillian, which particular old bird do you mean? I hope it's the rooster and not ME!!!!***

Certainly not, dear. We all know you are a Spring Chicken! :-) (bobbing a curtsy and running away to work...)

flchen1 said...

Hi, Anna!! Very fun topic! I've definitely spent some time reading some huge books in the past (Shogun, Follett's Pillars of the Earth, Mists of Avalon...) but haven't nearly as much recently. Part of it is that I just don't have enough time, and I can't stand reading the same book for weeks on end--I tend to prefer ones I can zip through in a few days, max. I haven't even thought about starting Outlander, etc. because I can't imagine when I'd have time to and then I'd lose track of everything that's happened in the whole saga... And Nancy, I haven't started any of the Robert Jordan ones--my BiL recommended them, but I prefer to have the whole series lined up before I start; plus each one is so unbelievably long that it was daunting just thinking about all that reading ;) Congrats on the GR! What tome is he reading today?

Lois said...

Heck, when I want to read, I want to read -- so if I'm in the mood for something short, I'll go for that, but if I'm in the mood for a longer book, why not? Although, admittedly most of the fiction books I have are the usual size. . . ah, 300/400/+ pages, I guess? It's my science books that can be nice and big. :)

Lois

doglady said...

YAY NANCY!! Have fun with the GR!

Read them? At this point it feels like I'm writing one! SHEEESH!


And yes, I did read them, especially when I was in college. I think my favorite both book and film would have to be The Thorn Birds. Rich Man Poor Man was good too.

Recently read The Historian and it was quite good and definitely a sweeping story.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Nancy! YOu got the GR!! Congrats!

Anna--This is such a timely post! I've been thinking about something similar for a couple days now. I had an epiphany about my reading style recently & this is the perfect opportunity to find out if I'm weird or not. :-)

Okay, so I just figured out that I read because I like the experience of reading. I love being caught up in a story, skimming all the non-essential description & such in my haste to get back to the unfolding action. The satisfying wrap up. Where the boy gets the girl & the villain gets his due. So yeah, I love me a big fat book. They just last & last & I actually miss the characters when I have to leave them behind.

That said, I don't remember much about the plot or the specifics of character usually. I don't retain the details about what happened or who it hapened to because I don't read for INFORMATION, I read to enjoy the experience of being caught up in a book. Is that weird? I just realized the difference & it explains everything about why my husband & I don't usually enjoy the same books. He totally reads for information.

Oh & btw: AC--about Kirsten being today's cover model? heheheheheh.

And Christine: I too try to spend as little time as possible dwelling on my big fat b. I like to keep that, ahem, behind me. :-)

Kirsten said...

Anna, you have mentioned SEVERAL of my favorite books from my ill-spent youth. Yes, Scruples, and Princess Daisy, but why has no one mentioned LACE? He put the goldfish WHERE? I remember my best friend in 7th grade showing me certain scenes in that book that took a little of my innocence with them...which I adored, naturally! And what about Mistral's Daughter? Ah, another favorite. The paint! The colors! The models!

Eva, Nancy and I are big Robert Jordan fans. You can't read one of his books and not be astonished by his capacity to keep all his characters straight! He did seem to have trouble wrapping things up, though. ;-) I wouldn't mind having someone finish the series for him, though I wonder if anyone else will be able to do what he did.

Cheryl -- a GWTW musical? Wow. There's something to imagine.

I'm not sure I can curtsey as gracefully as Gillian, but I'm off to work! Have a great day everyone!

Kirsten said...

AHEM! I resemble that remark! ;-)

It is spring, and I admit, I've got the bike shorts out of the closet...

sarah said...

I think the closest thing to a sweeping saga would have to be Outlander... but I stopped reading after book four.

And I fear I haven't heard anything good about the series after book four... :(

Nancy said...

Annie and Anna, I also read Delderfield, long, long ago. So long ago, I'd forgotten about him.
Christine, I'd also forgotten I'd read Gone With the Wind. I have the copy that belonged to my grandmother, and I'm sure I'll re-read it at some point. When I teach my 1920s class, I talk about Margaret Mitchell (who was writing this in the '20s, as I learned when RWA was in Atlanta) and who worked as a journalist when that wasn't common.

AC and Anna C., the dog seems a bit leery of the rooster, and the bird looks bored. Unfortunately, I'm giving exams today and can't be here to entertain him. I hope he's not going to tear up the furniture or some such. If he goes for the couch she's sleeping on, the dog may gather her courage.

Christine, I suffered through the TV run of North and South because a friend of mine who's an actor had a bit part. He had a line and a "reaction shot," so the whole town was waiting for it. It's a wonder ratings didn't drop off after his appearance. I wouldn't do that for just everyone, but we've known each other, literally, since the cradle, so it was sort of obligatory. I liked the topic (and James Read, who went on to be rejected in favor of Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele), but I didn't really have the time to watch the whole thing

Aack! Of course Harry Potter is a saga! Ack! How could I overlook it?

I confess to never having read WAP either. But I did watch the movie with Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda and a cast of zillions. Does that count?

Gillian, I loved the LOTR movies so much, I have the extended editions, and I promise myself I'm going to hole up one day and spend the ENTIRE DAY watching them in sequence. Haven't read The Historian. What's it about?

Eva wrote: But there is one book I'm still waiting for and that's the last one of Robert Jordans' Wheel of Time. I loved the first books in the series, got disappointed in the middle but I'll have to know how it ends. I felt this way, too. As you also said, the saga kept growing, and I honestly didn't feel the need for a huge story line involving every one of the fabulous cultures he created or every one of the main characters.

Carol, maybe the bamboozling thing is why the dog is avoiding the rooster. People keep recommending Pillars of the Earth, and I keep meaning to read it. I liked Eye of the Needle, brutal as it was, and I love the medieval period. Brutal as it was. Hmm, that could be a disturbing theme.

Caren, I read the first Auel, but she kind of lost me after that. I suspect you're right about why those honkin' books don't come out so much. Though Edward Rutherford's SARUM would qualify.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, someone IS finishing Wheel of Time, author Brandon Sanderson. Robert Jordan had a blog, www.dragonmount.com, and the details are there. Not long before Jordan died, he told the last book to his wife, who was also his editor, and to Sanderson. So Rand will get to the mountain, and it will all wrap up in a book currently called Memory of Light, according to the blog. I just checked, and it's still up. I suspect it will be until some time after the book's release.

I also loved the late Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai series (military SF), which culminated in the Childe Cycle, which Dickson never finished because he died of an asthma attack. So his hero, Hal Mayne, seems fated to guard the installation known as The Final Encyclopedia, awaiting the climactic battle, forever. I'm wishing Dickson hadn't detoured into writing a book about the antagonist's story, but I'm sure it made sense at the time. Darth Vader was huge back then, and exploring villains' psyche was the rage. Not with me, but with a lot of people, apparently. Oh, well. Maybe someone will finish it someday.

Linda said...

Well, I have to admit I've never read the BIG literary sagas that we are supposed to have read, according to those lists of the classic books you are supposed to have read...so WAR and PEACE, uh, no. But the glittzy ones of the 70's and 80's? Oh my, yes! They felt like such a guilty pleasure and the sex, oh my, again!

I no longer have patience for sagas, unfortunately. I wonder if it has something to do with getting my sagas in manageable sound bytes from weekly television? I can do a saga that is done in a series. I know I'm a person who needs almost immediate gratification. I can read one book fairly quickly and can then move on to the next in the series. But I need to be able to close a book, the end, in a nice clip.

And someday, maybe, can't promise, I'll get to WAR AND PEACE and all those other Russian writers and Dickens. So for now, give me an Anna Campbell!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, great post, Anna! And congrats on the GR, Nancy. He had a lovely day here in DC the other day, so I'm sure he'll enjoy NC now that the politicos are all moved on. Grins.

Before I forget, Susan, you are weird. :> That's why you're here and not there. It's one of the many in a long list of reasons we love you. Snork. We're all weird. (I resemble that remark!)

Now...sweeping sagas...ah. The Far Pavillions, Green Mansions, anything by Dickens, War and Remembrance, Moby Dick, 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lost Horizons, Harry Potter (talk about door stoppers!). I read a lot of the glitz novels of the 80's, devoured anything fantasy, doorstopper or not. I love Edding's Belgariad series and they're pretty hefty, tho' not as solid as Jordan.

I couldn't get into Jordan because of what someone already referenced...nothing tied up. Ever. In any book. URK! No closure? I must have SOME closure... But my DH loves them.

Loved North and South, A Woman of Substance, etc. Didn't like Gabaldon as much as some do, not sure why, maybe it's the Jacobean thing, like you, Anna. My puir countrymen were aboot gettin' slaughtered. :>

Speaking of slaughter did anyone else read Umberto Eco? Name of the Rose and Focault's Pendulum?

LOTR. Sigh. LOVED the books and the movies. Blew through those one week, hardly slept, then re-read them immediately. My mother about had a fit because I wouldn't come to dinner, lunch, anything. Just read. Ha! Of course, that was long before I had a big fat *b* so I guess I could afford to sit around on it more! Heehee.

As the late Bob Hope would say, Thanks for the Memories, Anna! :>

Anna Sugden said...

Oh Anna - wonderful post - brought back so many fond memories! I loved all of the books you mentioned - especially the Woman of Substance series (although I didn't like the last one). Loved the TV series too - Liam Neeson - yum.

And I loved the Delderfields - To Serve Them All My Days and Diana *sigh*. John Duttine in TSTAMD was wonderful.

Catherine Cookson was great for a while - The Mallen Streak was compulsory reading when I was young. But after a while, the stories got very same-y. Valerie Wood started a similar kind of series about Hull (yes, I know - but it was actually very interesting!).

I absolutely adored Elizabeth Elgin's sagas - all based around WW2. All The Sweet Promises is wonderful - about women as WRNs. As is the one about the land girls.

I love books/sagas about a group of characters set during the wars - for us, such a fascinating if brutal time. Must be why one of my fave books of all time is A Town Like Alice.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning, Anna. What fun to revisit some of my favorite reads from the '80's. I adored both Judith Krantz and Barbara Taylor Bradford. But I think I went to shorter more fast paced reads in the early 90's because my kids were so busy then. I wanted something I could read in a day or two at the most. While I don't read too many category books, Jane Sullivan and Tawny Weber being exceptions... :), I find books between 300-400 pages the perfect length for me.

Gillian Layne said...

My description won't do it justice, but The Historian is a very powerful story about a girl and her father, and her mother, and a book, and a vampire. The subtlety of the paranormal elements and the lush description lend such an air of "reality" to it that I was looking over my shoulder by the end of the story.

You need to at least check it out and have a peek. I'm betting it's one of those books people either love or hate.

We're having massive rain here, so most of my meetings have been canceled. A lovely day to catch up on paperwork and peak in at blogs, while hoping the sump pump in the basement can keep up with the water...(crossing fingers and toes)

ruth said...

Your post today brought back such great memories of all the wonderful family sagas that I devoured. I enjoyed many juicy, large books and those fulfilled my imagination. I read all of Penny Vincenzi's novels, all of Dickens, D.H. lawrence, Thomas Hardy and my favorite of all recently Jennifer DOnnelly's beautiful stories. Thanks for this special post today. Just delightful and sweet.

petite said...

As far as novels go, the bigger the better. I enjoy tomes that are large, engrossing and keep me going for days. My favorites are Herman Wouk's series which kept me enthralled and captivated. I did read The Thornbirds and all of Barbara Taylor Bradford's novels. Judith Krantz was light but fun to read. Enjoyable blog today and thanks for this inpur.

anne said...

I love the title of today's blog. Big Fat Books appeal to me greatly and always have especially wonderful sagas. I always looked for them at bookstores and the library. When I found them I was in heaven. They kept me immersed within the pages for days and that was what I needed and still crave.
I enjoyed every single novel that Wilbur SMith wrote. When I was younger and found Susan Howatch I read all of her historical novels which kept me riveted from start to finish. Just what I needed as an escape.

diane said...

The blog today resounds with me. My reading tastes have always been the same and I purposely read huge books which were addictive, wonderful and so beautiful in their descriptive passages and storyline. I cound never resist a large, juicy novel. Philippa Gregory was a favorite and still is as well as The Delderfield novels which were sweeping family sagas that I read ages ago and still lament over. I believe that there is much less of that type of book available now due to the changes in our lifestyles and technology. I still hunt for them and grab onto them with both hands.

principessa said...

What a great surprise to come upon this unique blog. Something that I can relate to and understand. When I began reading novels, family sagas and historicals were there for me in abundance. It was great being treated to this cornucopia of delights. Sadly it seems to have waned in the intervening years. I still pine for these amazing books. I long for more of ones like The Forsyte Saga and what I loved were all of the novels by Theodore Dreiser.

Kim said...

Congrats Nancy! Treat the ole boy good. He likes Doritos quite a bit ;)

Hey Anna! I ADORE those big sweeping sagas. Sadly, I don't have as much time for them as I used to but I still love them.

To Dance With Kings--A MUST read! Totally made me fall in love with Marie Antoinette and Versaille. Okay, not so much love but a lifelong obsession.

Rightfully Mine by Doris Mortman. OOP but easy to find. Awesome book! I often pick up copies just to share with friends.

Thornbirds--Can you believe I've never read this book? A friend and I listened to it on audio a few years ago. It took us weeks.

I love the Danielle Steel movies but I can't read her anymore. Too cookie cutter for me.

Cookson's North and South movie is awesome! I watch it often and yes, I heart Richard Armitage.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Fo,
Evergreen was by Belva Plain and followed the character of Anna from the time she was a young teen until she was a grandmother, with all the angst and struggle (poor working/servant girl to well-off matron) along the way. It was made into a mini-series with Leslie Anne Warren, whom I could never quite picture as Anna, so I didn't even finish watching it. :-P I did watch and LURVE Rich Man Poor Man and Captains and Kings (of course the hero of C&K was Irish!) but I do think Roots was my favorite mini-series of all time.

AC

terrio said...

Holy Toledo, I'll never catch up. And my head is still spinning from learning of my crit win. (Get out!)

I have to say, that cover, I don't like it. His hand is way too...you know. I'm becoming a prude.

I used to love the big sagas. To Dance With Kings is one of my favorites. That counts, right? It's funny because just the other day I was complaining that I prefer my romance to focus on just the h/h, but this reminds me it wasn't always that way.

I miss the longer books. Authors could do so much more, take us on more sweeping rides. The 400 page ones now still manage to do that but maybe with a little less sweep. And those old mini-series. Where would we have been without all the glamour and shoulder pads in the 80s?

Claudia Dain said...

Am I the only one who read Valley of the Dolls? What a fun read that was! Very steamy for its day. A lot of fun to match the fictional characters with their real world counterparts.

My lips are sealed.

How about the Mary Stewart series; The Crystal Cave, et al? Very fun stuff, if you love Arthur legends, which I do!

I lived and breathed The Far Pavilions while reading it. I actually think it was my first romance novel, not that I knew it at the time. I love that book! I still have my copy, hardback, and dust it lovingly.

Read a mighty tome again? I don't seem to have the time! How truly sad that is.

MsHellion said...

I don't think I've really read these kind of sweeping books. Harry Potter has HUGE books and lots of characters, so that'd be my answer. HOWEVER, I have read Gone With the Wind (took me like 2 weeks though, ugh) and that's the next best example I've got. *LOL* I think I like a slightly smaller spectrum.

OH, and I have read The Thorn Birds. Loved it. Up until some chickie poo saw me reading it (and I was literally 20 pages from the end) and said, "Isn't it horrible when the son dies?"

Yeah, I hadn't gotten there yet. I threw the book at the chalkboard in a fit of rage as the Commenter hid to her side of the room. (I haven't really forgiven her. I hate that sort of thing. For God's sake, you see I'm READING, why are you talking to me?) My professor was bemused by my behavior too.

I haven't reread that book.

MsHellion said...

Oooh, I'd forgotten To Dance With Kings! That was a good one...and also, "Through the Glass Darkly"--another sweeping one.

Margay said...

I used to read Judith Krantz when I was younger - and I did watch the movie versions of her books to see if they came close to how I pictured it - but I don't think I would today. I actually tried to read something of hers not too long ago and it didn't hold the same appeal for me as it did then.

Keira Soleore said...

Nancy, w00t! You sure nabbed him early.

Foanna, what a delightful trip into memory. All those rich, sprawling books I used to read. My teenage self was more patient than my thirties self.

Can you say "Thorn Birds"? Ooh là là. That Richard Chamberlin. (fans self) And Rupert Everett in "An Ideal Husband"? (fans self harder)

I have read the 1300-page version of "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers." What marvelous stories.

Then there's always GWTW.

But I surely get a pat on the back for grimly hanging on and working my way through "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kim! You answered a riddle for me. I had the GR a couple of days ago and then went looking for the Doritos today. You guessed it. All gone. Hmmmm. Now I know it was that sneaky wooster!

BTW, I'm with you on Steel. Too formulaic these days. Same with Patricia Cornwell. Her first three? Bloody awesome! Thick, intense, rich with (gory) detail. The endings weren't as sharp as I like but the rest of the book made up for it. After Body Farm tho? Not so good. I gave her up.

Oooh, AC, I forgot about Captains and Kings.

*Waving at TICD* I read and enjoyed Valley and Crystal Cave. I also loved The Once and Future King series by T.H. White. All the Narnia books (more saga in multiple books than a Big Fat Book)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Keira! Just saw your post. Oooh, I adored Monte Cristo and Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Ivanhoe, The Black Arrow, Captain Blood, all those. BTW, the book Capt. Blood is SO much better than the Errol Flynn movie. :>

*Pats Keira on the back* There, that's for the Fountainhead which I too suffered through. As well as Atlas Shrugged. What was I thinking? Urk.

The Musketeers reminds me too of Swiss Family Robinson, Flicka, etc. Wonderful!

Maureen said...

I don't think I've read a big sweeping saga in many years. Once a book goes past 400 pages that seems like a big story to me.

Keira Soleore said...

Claudia, count me in the numbers of those you've read "Valley of the Dolls."

Also Jean Auel, Elizabeth George, PD James, "Roots," and "The Far Pavilions."

Here we go again: "North and South" with Richard Armitage. (starts the electric fan now)

AC said, "QUITE an eye-catcher of an opening there, FoAnna! And no visible panty lines... Could it possibly be Kirsten?!?!?!"

Har. Har. Har. We haven't given Kirsten flak for her infamous post off-late. Thanks for correcting that oversight.

Cassondra said...

Oh, gosh I admit my lack, and you all will smite me I'm certain. I don't.

I don't read those big tomes.

It's the time involvement. Something always interferes.

Here's the thing. When I read I become a zombie. Nothing gets me away from the book short of blood (and there has to be a lot of it) or fire (any amount will do). I disappear for days when I read. I stay up all night to finish a book and with these sagas, you can't finish in one night. At least I can't. I'm not that fast a reader. I absorb every word. It would take me days and days to finish one of these things. No sleep, little food, nothing done except read....

It just doesn't work for me.

I think less available time to read is why these tomes are less popular than they once were.

It's not that I don't want to. I swear. I just don't have the time.

And who said GWTW was not a romance? YES, YOU'RE SO RIGHT! WHY do people refer to this as a romance? Why?

Keira Soleore said...

(pats Jeanne on the back) "Atlas Shrugged" was even worse of a slog. My roomie at the time was a serious Ayn Rand believer. Glad we didn't room together after that one year. Ufh!

Yes, yes, yes to all the books you've mentioned. Most of them are THE Classics (remember those twenty I had to read? ah!).

Anna Campbell said...

Peggy, I always liked the books better too. The characters seemed to have a lot more substance. Although I must say the miniseries of A Woman of Substance is great. It features a very young Liam Neeson before he became such a huge star and he's great.

Bunny, I wonder if we've all just got so much busier and that's why we don't read this huge books any more. I must say when I read Riders, I kept thinking how lovely it was to wallow in a story that I couldn't finish in a few solid hours of reading. As I said, I don't think I'm going back to those books on a permanent basis but it was fun to revisit that feeling of a huge,luscious read with a cast of thousands.

Anna Campbell said...

Cheryl, so glad my post brought back fond memories. I have actually seen the movie of GWTW - it's not one of my favorites but I can certainly see why it's considered such a classic. I love Reay Tannahill. She wrote a medieval called The World, The Flesh and the Devil that's absolutely marvellous with the best love story as the central pillar. I think for historicals, a really long book works well because it gives you a real flavor of the times.

I remember my Ma had a real thing for the Pirate. It's about a sheikh, I think - and I think it must have been full of naughty bits ;-)

Hiya Deb! Always lovely to see you. I read the first two Jean M. Auels - remember really liking the Valley of Horses. Not sure why I didn't read any more. Perhaps that was about the stage I started fading on books that weighed more than your average supermodel! Thorn Birds sounds like it's a favorite with everyone. It's such a sad story, isn't it? All that frustrated longing!

Anna Campbell said...

Carol, maybe the Gabaldon can be my next project once I've got the current manuscript up, up and away. Everybody tells me Jamie is an amazing hero! Laughed at you mentioning Ken Follett. Gave me a flashback to Christmas when I visited a friend and we spent days trying to hunt down Pillars of the Earth for her dad for Christmas. He'd read the sequel and absolutely adored it and so must everybody else in Australia and then they bought the first one so there was a run on it.

Gillian, sending a very youthful squawk in your direction! ;-) If storks bring babies, do squawks bring little chickens? Ahem!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Fedora! Must say one of the things scaring me away from the Gabaldon is the length. I only read Riders because someone lent it to me and I was sick of staring at it in the TBR pile. Borrowed books tend to get read a lot more quickly in this house than the ones I've bought. I couldn't get through Shogun! I think it was too much of a boy's book for me, though! The miniseries was great of that, too.

Hi Lois! I think most books are that length you're talking about 300/400 pages. And I think if you're telling a good love story that means you can't really do much else in that length. Mind you, sometimes I love short things too - sometimes only a category romance will do!

limecello said...

I have to say that I love and miss sagas. Although, now that I have no time and too much to do, they could be bad news. Still - it'd be nice to find a good one and devour it over a free weekend.
As to series... nope- can't think of a tv show or anything that is a saga - at least, not in English - but I'd definitely watch one.
Haha, I think the last "sagas" I read were the Sweet Valley ones... [someone break out that timestamp...]

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Pam! Maybe we all read this stuff when we were in college/uni because we had time to get through them. I remember I read a lot of these huge books on my long summer holidays which is perhaps why I remember them so fondly.

Susan, how interesting! I think we all have different reading styles. Didn't someone blog about that her recently? I read every single word and I wallow which is why if it's a GOOD big book, I'm as happy as a pig in mud. But I love being swept away in the characters' worlds which is why I love those books that really concentrate on the central couple.

Yes, I'm sure Kirsten WAS the model for Riders! Snork!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Kirsten, I'd forgotten Lace! What a fun read that was! And I loved Mistral's Daughter because I loved all the pseudo-Picasso detail in the story. And again, both of those were miniseries! Don't work too hard!

Sarah, I haven't heard so much about the later books, but definitely Outlander has a huge fan base. One of the things I admire about the Harry Potter books is that she really did keep the mojo going - although I'm yet to read the last book.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I find Margaret Mitchell really fascinating. It's that one book thing - like Harper Lee. Sorry the rooster's having a quiet day although I think with all his action lately, he might enjoy just a veg day! Laughed at your North and South story. Had a similar experience with a lovely man I used to work for. He was Spanish and everyone Spanish in Sydney was recruited for the festival scenes in Mission: Impossible 2. If you're ever watching it, Javi's in a yellow shirt and carrying a torch. His sister features in the prison scenes!

Anna Campbell said...

Linda, Anna Campbell strongly approves your reading plans! I did lit at uni so I was forcefed a lot of long books. Gosh, I remember Victorian literature - at least 1,000 pages a week! Ack! But I'm so glad I did it - I don't think I would ever have read a lot of those books otherwise. I wonder also if we use series of books, which seem to be so popular right now, are the way to read a great big long saga but in manageable chunks.

Duchesse, you're right - weirdness is required for permanent membership of this particular club! Aha, sounds like you used to read like I did! I read a lot of the Belgariad but honestly, I could see it was turning into a lifetime commitment so I stopped. I love Green Mansions - have you seen the gorgeous movie starring the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn?

jo robertson said...

Great post, Fo. Sorry I'm so late to the party today.

I used to ADORE those sweeping sagas and my favorite of all was The THORN BIRDS. I loved every teeny, tiny minute of that book and made myself read it very sllloooowwwly to draw out the time I spent with it.

This was long before the mini-series on TV, but when I saw that, I also fell in love with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward.

Honestly, I don't think Colleen McCullough has done anything else quite so well.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh yes, Claudia - read Valley of the Dolls [and Emmanuelle and all the Harold Robbins and Story of O/Story of I etc etc] I won't say how old I was when I read them - but I will say I was also reading Mills & Boons and Denise Robins as well as Georgette Heyer and Anya Seton!

Oh and also read Ludlum, Higgins, Follett et al. Never liked Tom Clancy's stuff - the detail made my eyes cross.

Never read Diana Gabaldon - didn't really appeal.

LOL about LACE, Kirsten - I remember the goldfish scene!

jo robertson said...

Oooh, Nancy, I didn't know you were a GR virgin! Congratulations. Be gentle with him.

Uh, Christine, I have to tell ya, when I think of turgid, I do NOT think of books . . . I'm just sayin'.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I used to like door stoppers but haven't run across any for a while other than the ones that have come to the lair. The only saga I can recall right off the top of my head is the Macgregors(sp.).

Anna Campbell said...

VA, John Duttine was quite a honey in To Serve Them All My Days, wasn't he? He had those lovely spaniel eyes! There was another great one of A Horseman Rides By that had some gorgeous Devon scenery in it. We used to get the BBC adaptations on the ABC on a Sunday night and they were a real institution in our house.

Must say the whole WWII thing doesn't really grab me. Not sure why. Perhaps because it's such a big part of Australian history and for some reason, Australian history just never turned me on. Yes, shoot me as a traitor! Mind you, having said that, I was nutty about Leon Uris at one stage and a lot of those are based around World War II. Remember crying my eyes out over Mila 18.

Suz, I think we all changed over at the same time to the shorter books. Perhaps it was at the stage we all started devoting so much time to the computer!

jo robertson said...

Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, Anna, for not having read GWTW! I read it the summer after 9th grade. I think I was probably the only person I knew who'd never seen the movie. And NO, I wasn't alive when it was made!

Then when I did see the movie in my late thirties, I was so disappointed. I guess my young mind remembered it more powerful. I mean, seriously, who DIDN'T like the GWTW movie?

jo robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jo robertson said...

Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, Anna, for not having read GWTW! I read it the summer after 9th grade. I think I was probably the only person I knew who'd never seen the movie. And NO, I wasn't alive when it was made!

Then when I did see the movie in my late thirties, I was so disappointed. I guess my young mind remembered it more powerful. I mean, seriously, who DIDN'T like the GWTW movie?

jo robertson said...

A contemporary writer that I'm enjoying is Jennifer Donnelley (she visited in the Lair, if you remember). Her books are door-stoppers for sure, but very accessible and readable. THE TEA ROSE and I forget the second one.

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, you almost make being at work sound glamorous! Thanks for coming by again!

Hey, Ruth, thanks for saying how much you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Mum was a huge Penny Vicenzi fan. I don't think I ever read one but I do remember a great miniseries where the twins swapped lives. I'm looking forward to reading the Jennifer Donnelly stories. She was a guest here and her story was so inspiring.

Hey, Petite! Still a tome fan? Great! You're right - a lot of these books were light as a feather, in spite of the page count. Riders is pretty light too, I must say. The weird thing is the most exciting scenes are the ones in the arena with the horses. They're more exciting than the sex scenes. It's a bit like Pretty Woman, where the shopping is more exciting than the sex! The horse scenes had me on the edge of my seat (or perhaps my saddle!).

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Anne, I forgot Wilbur Smith. I haven't read him for years - I think my tastes changed in my 20s. But I remember being absolutely riveted during yet another summer holiday by Where the Lion Feeds and The Sunbird. And crying my eyes out over Eagle in the Sky. I read a couple of Susan Howatch - I think those were too long even for me back in my long book days!

Diane, I hadn't thought about the Philippa Gregorys. But they definitely fall into the category I'm talking about - even to the fact that they include a lot of genuine historical detail that I think gets skimped a bit in a lot of shorter books just because of length. And they're terrifically popular. Clearly there's still a huge market for a big wallow read.

jo robertson said...

Sarah, I think I agree about Gabaldon. I adored the first two books, but the story became more focused on the history for me (which I usually LOVE, but it was just too much). But OUTLANDER, wow, that's superb, even if you dont read another book after that.

I think Gabaldon has never considered herself a romance writer in the traditional sense. She's always been more of an historical fiction writer. I know way back when, she attended maybe one or two of the RWA meetings, but never felt she really fit in. At any rate, that's the apocraphal story.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Principessa! Another saga fan! I've only read one Theodore Dreiser - a bit too dour for me. Sister Carrie! There was a great UK TV adaptation of the Forsyte Saga on recently that was full of gorgeous men like Ioann Gryffyths (sp?). Did that make it to the States? It was fantastically well done.

Kim, I think you might mean the BBC North and South which is based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell written in the 19th century? That's definitely the one if you're talking about the gorgeous Richard. I haven't read the Doris Mortman. I've read To Dance With Kings. I can't remember the writer but I remember she had some amazing historical details in her stories. There's one about a girl who works for Worth in France and another about a girl who gets engaged to Christopher Wren in the English Civil War. I learnt so much from those detailed books - turned me into a killer Trivial Pursuit player! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

AC, I think my mum might have read Evergreen now you describe it. As I said, she loved those rags to riches sagas. I loved Captains and Kings - there was a great miniseries of it too. My favorite Taylor Caldwell was Dear and Glorious Physician. Thought that was an amazing read. I seem to have narrowed my reading in recent years to nonfiction and romance. I should look a bit beyond that occasionally.

Hey, Terrio, are you a crit winner! And a Jane Porter winner too???!!! You'll move into the lair, the way things are going! Congratulations. Some of those shoulder pads are seriously scary in the miniseries, aren't they? And the bit hair - eek! Another to Dance with Kings fan, I see! Who did write that?

Anna Campbell said...

Claudia, it IS sad that we don't take the time to immerse ourselves in these big books, isn't it? I remember just loving The Far Pavilions too. Ash was the sexiest hero. In fact, my Raj guy is kinda based on him. You know that quiet nobility. Sigh. And Ben Cross was just so hot in the miniseries! I had quite a crush on Ben Cross back then. I never read the Mary Stewart Arthur books but I was a huge fan of her romantic suspense. Yet again, I always learnt something when I read her books. And she was a master at using setting to convey atmosphere. I still remember the Alps in Airs above the Ground or that dry heat of Madam, Will You Talk? And it has to be more than 30 years since I read those books.

Ms Hellion, something similar happened to me with the second-last Harry Potter which is why I think I haven't got around to read the last one yet. It just absolutely destroyed my experience of being lost in the enchantment of the whole story. Why do people do that??!!! Grrrr!

Anna Campbell said...

Ms Hellion, wasn't a fan of Through a Glass Darkly. It was marketed as a romance here and a romance it definitely wasn't! Expectations have a lot to do with how we read something, haven't they?

Margay, I definitely think our reading tastes change over the years. Although I think a really fantastic book can conquer any changes.

Wow, Keira, you've read the Fountainhead? You're the only person I know who has although it's a book people TALK about reading. And I've seen the film - there's a great scene in it that wouldn't be out of place in Claiming the Courtesan, snork! Maybe that's it - our teenage selves were more patient. I know a lot of these BIG books go back to teenage me!

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I loved the Once and Future King set. Cried and cried! Never read the Narnia books! And another Fountainhead girl! I loved the Mary O'Hara horse books. Still got them in hardback on my bookcase. Did people overseas have access to a wonderful series by Elyne Mitchell about Silver Brumbies in the Australian Alps? Definitely kids' books but man, they were a great read! Mind you, I was a horse-mad kid so anything with horses in it got read in a jiffy! I haven't read Captain Blood but gotta say Errol sure filled a pair of tights!

Maureen, that's why it was such a nice surprise for me to get tied up in Riders. I've got very used to the Avon-length romance. 370 pages and we're done!

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, I haven't read Elizabeth George. I'm pretty sure Madame has and likes them. There was a VERY weak TV adaptation that I didn't like much. I LOVE P.D. James - Adam Dalgliesh is such a wonderful hero, a poet and a man of action.

Cassondra, I think it's horses for courses with this stuff. I think of GWTW as a romance - mind you, I've only seen the movie. Because the main concentration is a love relationship.

Anna Campbell said...

Limecello, laughed at your definition of a series being Sweet Valley! I never read those - too old!

Jo, never mind about being late! It's always lovely to see you. I'd say The Thorn Birds is winning the vote of popularity in this discussion. I think it had a depth and a truth that some of the other books didn't reach. I think it's still a classic now. I think Rachel Ward is very beautiful - she still is. She occasionally pops up on Aussie TV as she married Bryan Brown, her co-star in the Thorn Birds. I remember reading an amazing article of hers in a paper here (she's a great writer). She's an earl's daughter and she fell in love with this rough Aussie and it was heartwrenching and funny all at the same time when she told the story.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Anna, I was a HUGE Anya Seton fan. Katherine just took over my life at one stage. And I had a huge thrill in 2004 when I went to Lincoln Cathedral and saw her grave. It's one of the few that survived intact the Reformation because she was an ancestress of the Tudors. It's not what you know, but who you know, huh? And Green Darkness was amazing. I lent that to someone when I was at uni and it never came back. Still a sore point. In 2004, I went to Ightham Mote which is supposedly the house Green Darkness was based on. The legend is they unbricked a wall and found a woman's skeleton behind it and that's where AS got the idea. Creepy, huh?

Jo, you saucy wench!

Dianna, what's the Macgregors? I don't think I know that one.

One day, I MAY read GWTW, Jo. But honestly, I've tried a few times and it just doesn't grab me. And I've already got a TBR pile that blocks out the sun!

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, I've heard a lot of great things about Jennifer, aside from her fantastic visit here. Will have to check her out.

Phew, caught up! Thanks so much to you all for a really interesting discussion of big fat books! I'm going to have trouble picking the Amazon voucher winner!

Caren Crane said...

Fo, I loved The Far Pavilions! (Told you I had read all those huge tomes. *g*)

Kirsten, Mistral's Daughter was one of my VERY FAVORITES! And how gross was the concept of the one dude being the lover of the mother and the daughter? *shudder* But it SO TOTALLY WORKED!

Cheryl: Harold Robbins really was soft porn. Well, not so soft sometimes. *g*

Nancy: Auel got better after the first book. Mainly because there were other PEOPLE around. Not sure if I could hang with her now. All that detail! Man, we found out about every stone, grass and seed in prehistoric times! I'll never forget in there that the women used strips of leather when they were menstruating, then buried them so animals wouldn't come after them. Thank goodness for Always with wings!

Jeanne: I think men have a higher tolerance for Jordan and the no-resolution thing. My husband LOVED Jordan and read all of his books. He was upset when he died, because he was waiting for the next tome.

Gillian: Hope you don't get washed away!

Claudia: Mary Stewart, how could I have forgotten? I spent a whole summer immersed in those. I didn't come up for air except to go the library and get the next one. Loved it! No Valley Of the Dolls for me, though. I was a child in the 70s, you will recall. *eg*

Keira: I, too, suffered through Ayn Rand. I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. My father and stepmonster raved about Rand so much I thought there must be *something* there. Uh, no. They just liked her because she advocated putting oneself first. Like they did. Oh, well.

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I was trying to remember Taylor Caldwell's name and THERE IT WAS! She was a HUGE favorite of mine in high school. I took three years of Latin, so Dear And Glorious Physician made Rome feel quite real to me. Maybe that's why I'm so enamored of Joan's Romans! Blame it on Taylor Caldwell: a masterful storyteller.

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

Cassondra, I think it's horses for courses with this stuff. I think of GWTW as a romance - mind you, I've only seen the movie. Because the main concentration is a love relationship.

Agreed. It is horses for courses.
But there's no HEA. Granted it's not a wallbanger ending at all. It's a great story. Epic. BUT no HEA. That cinches it for me these days. Call me a wimp if you must, but I need my HEA. "Happily maybe someday" doesn't cut it. :-/

Anna Campbell said...

Eww! I'd forgotten the one dude with the mother and the daughter! That kinda creeped me out at the time too, now I think of it. Actually that was one case where the book was MUCH better than the miniseries. Caren, you make Ayn sound SOOO attractive - NOT!!! Everyone I know who advocates her philosophy is a mean, horrible SOB so that kinda turned me off her too. But it's not fair to do that - I mean, Hitler liked Wagner and it's magnificent music! Although I must say even with how beautiful the music is, I have an ambivalent relationship to it.

Do you think she gets him back in GWTW? My feeling is she doesn't! She doesn't deserve to! But again, that's only based on the movie.

Marie Force said...

Loved North and South (read the books one summer when I was in college) and then sigh, Patrick Swayze played Orey Main. YUM. Patrick in breeches. (Did I spell Orey right? Can't remember) Also loved The Thorn Birds (book and movie) and Princess Daisy too! Great post, Anna.
Marie
(One of Aunty's Casablanca sisters)

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Marie! And congratulations on being among such a great group of Casablanca authors. I really enjoy visiting your new blog. Aunty Cindy has joined a blog of Casablanca authors - her first book The Wild Sight comes out from Sourcebooks soon!

http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/

Thanks for popping by the Banditas. Pull up a chair, grab a cabana boy and a margarita!

alissa said...

I have been crazy about large, very juicy and all encompassing sagas forever. They entice, enthrall and hold my complete interest. I enjoy all of them. Maeve Binchy, as well as Daphne Du Maurier, Janet Tanner and Audrey Howard, Helen Forrester. These books were the foundation for me upon which I based my choices all my life. I have always been able to become totally absorbed with these wonderful and unique stories. Thanks for this special blog today which reminded me of the many wonderful hours spent with these extraordinary books.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Alissa! Great to see you here. Sounds like you're a saga fan from way back. Mum was like you - in a way, this post was a tribute to her reading tastes which had so much to do with forming my own, it's wonderful when you grow up with a big reader in the house. She loved the emotional complexity of those big books and the fact that they covered such large areas of life.

Kate Carlisle said...

Great topic, Anna! But I can't believe Gillian called you an old bird... ;-)

Nancy, congrats on snagging the *other* old bird!

Oh Helen, WINDS OF WAR and WAR AND REMEMBRANCE were my faves! I was a big Leon Uris fan, too. QBVII and EXODUS and TRINITY. All huge door stoppers and wonderful stories.

Kirsten, LACE was fabulous, with one of the greatest lines ever! Which I won't repeat here, because I wouldn't wish to offend. Hehehe

Jackie Collins, anyone? I was addicted to her Hollywood books like HOLLYWOOD WIVES and HOLLYWOOD HUSBANDS. I was so hooked on her, I had to make a deal with myself to read something literary in between her stuff. I got through LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA before deciding to just stick with Jackie. LOL

Sending a hearty welcome to Aunty's Casablanca sis, Marie!

Anna Campbell said...

Yeah, Kate, that Gillian is MEAN!!!! ;-) Squawk! I meant snork!

Kate, what I loved about the Leon Uris was how he created such a vivid, intense world. And he needed all those pages to do that properly. I don't like padding in a book but he had so much story, he needed 800 or whatever pages!

Couldn't ever really get into Jackie Collins. I never liked any of the characters. Horses for courses again.

Beth said...

I used to read those big epic novels when I was much younger. I loved sitting down to a thousand page book and getting lost in it. That's not really the case anymore but I do remember two authors who wrote some pretty spectacular books. Jean Auel's Earth's Children series The Clan of the Cave Bear, etc. Ayla was amazing and her love story with Jondalar is something I still remember. The other author who wrote great family epics is Susan Howatch. Cashelmara and The Rich are Different are two titles that stand out to me. I miss having the time to dedicate to reading a great epic, but if it is good enough I will make the time.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathalie said...

I have never read any of these books... I think I am a bit younger than the average reader, I think these sagas where loved by the fans of Dallas and Dynsaty!

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, as you say, perhaps those long books were a luxury of our youths (although I'm still youthful, do you hear me, Miss Gillian? Do ya??!!!!). I remember I did kinda lose my will to read them eventually which was why it was fun to plunge into Riders which had a great story and lots and lots of character conflict. And as I said, I found the horse stuff just fascinating. I remember loving Jondalar and Ayla's romance in Valley of the Horses. As I said, not quite sure why I didn't read any more after that.

Nathalie, Dallas and Dynasty were huge when I lived in the UK and didn't have a TV. By the way, it's amazing what you'll do in your spare time if you don't have a TV! So I missed out on the craze. It's really sad - boarding school means I missed out on a lot of the 70s crazes like Starsky and Hutch and Kojak too. One thing you do when you don't have a TV is read! So no wonder I got through all those thick books!

Lily said...

Anna... I really liked your post!

I remember used to love the sagas written by Barbara Taylor Bradford, Diana Gabaldon and Brenda Jagger. I have never really tried them as I usually do not like to see the characters age through out the book and see them in an other tome much older.

However, I have to say I read some historical romances trilogies and really have enjoyed them.

Nathalie said...

Not having a TV! I could not be able to do it!

I know that they tried to publish some books after Dynasty as it was such a success, and those 'fat books' really remind me of those primetime soaps with the big drama of the wealthy!

terrio said...

Anna - To Dance with Kings is Rosalind Laker and if you like that one, I highly recommend Circle of Pearls. Another great one from Laker.

Forsythe Saga did make it to the US a few years ago. I adored that mini-series. But I've never read the book. The mini-series reminded me of The Magnificent Ambersons. I think that's the name. It's an older movie about a very wealthy yet dysfunctional family. Much like the Forsythes.

catslady said...

I always went for the huge, long sagas and to this day they are my favorite. There aren't as many any more and I buy so many books now that I tend to put them aside unless I know I'm going to have a lot of reading time. I've read most of the authors everyone has mentioned except I still have the 6 Outlander series put aside waiting for a good time to start.

I'll watch the movie only if I've read the book first.

Anna Campbell said...

Lily, I think you're confirming me in my theory that people read romantic trilogies and quartets, etc., for the same reason that people read the sagas. You get to visit characters over an extended period of time and see how life is going for them.

Nathalie, I think Dynasty and co and the sex and shopping books were all part of that whole 80s Zeitgeist of conspicuous consumption. It was fun at the time!

Terrio, I've got a feeling I've read a Circle of Pearls. That's not the one set in Restoration England is it? And they embroider ribbons and restore the family fortunes by selling them? If so, I really enjoyed it. Rosalind Laker! That's definitely the writer I was thinking of. I haven't seen the Magnificent Ambersons and I haven't read the Forsyte books. But the TV adaptation was amazingly good.

Anna Campbell said...

Catslady, sounds like you know exactly what I'm talking about when I describe the pleasure of one of these bigger books. Reading Riders was a good lesson to me - I'm going to drag one out every so often and relive the pleasures of my youth!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

All right, Jo. I guess I need lashes w/ the wet noodle too. I liked neither the book nor the movie of GWTW. Not a romance, no HEA. It's more of a love/hate relationship. Urk. Scarlet's less whiny in the book, but as a Southern woman, who considers herself *somewhat* genteel, I find Scarlet to be too spoiled, too narcissistic, too everything. I always preferred the Olivia de Haviland character. :> I love the rich detail Mitchell puts into her book, the clear and elegant imagery, but...ugh. There's Scarlet again.

I know, I know. Sacrilege.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, thankfully Ioan Griffiths did make it to the states but not in that adaptation. He was in all the Masterpiece Theatre productions of Horatio Hornblower. *sigh*

Caren, I had forgotten about Dear and Glorius Physician. Great book. Have to admit that I too am a child of the 70's and only read Valley of the Dolls because it was a "banned" book at our school. Got it out of the public library, of course. Grins.

And oh, yes, I saw Green Mansions with Audrey Hepburn. For once an actress did justice to a character from a book that I adored...ah!

Like you, Anna, I was horse mad, so I read all the O'Hara books, but never got the Silver Brumbies over here. Pout.

Alissa! Gosh, how could I have forgotten about Maeve Binchy and Dame Daphne? (Welcome, btw)

Nancy and Kim, have you announced your Daphne finals? Hmmm???? Do I need to get Aunty C's crop?

Ann M. said...

I like both the fast reads of Harlequins (M&B) and the longer sagas.

I had to giggle seeing War & Peace. My history teacher assigned it to me as the 'novel' I had to read for the class. I remember thinking I'd hate it but loved it.

p226 said...

It just dawned on me, that I haven't read a book (ANY BOOK) since... ... October of last year?

And it was nonfiction geopolitical crap. Blech. Oh... wait, no, I read one in January... also nonfiction geopolitical crap. And they were mostly just that. Crap.

I'm ill equipped to comment on questions like these. I'm lucky I haven't forgotten how to read! I think I have forgotten what I like to read. Though, I somehow feel compelled to read some of the nonfiction stuff out there. It has little to do with the enjoyment of reading. The compulsion comes from a different place. A will to ... understand something I don't get.

I need to go find some fiction. I've completely forgotten the joy of reading a good story. It's kind of sad, really.

terrio said...

That's the one, Anna.

The Magnificent Ambersons is a book from the 1920s by Boothe Tarkington that Orson Wells turned into a beautiful film in the 40s. I love old movies like that.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, that's OK. I didn't take to Scarlett either, especially when I was too young to see the strength underlying the selfishness. Liked her more when I saw the film as an adult. But yeah, I have my doubts if I'll ever get around to trying GWTW again. Life's too short and there are too many books I KNOW I'm going to like!

Jeanne, wasn't IG just gorgeous in Hornblower? I'm not spelling that name again for quids! I notice he's now on the big screen in a few things. He has a very interesting face, don't you think?

You would have loved the Silver Brumby books (they're children's classics over here). But I suspect your time for reading them has passed, my dear!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Welcome back P226! Well, you'll find lots of incentive and opinions on good books here, as you know. Grins.

Loved The Magnificent Ambersons movie. Didn't read the book, though.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Ann! At last someone who's read WAP. It's really romantic, isn't it? Do you remember the ball scene where Prince Andrei realises he loves Natasha? Although that love needs to mature and deepen before it really can be called 'love'. I really just started it thinking, "Well, if I start it and hate it, at least I can say I tried. And then I loved it." And I think it's a much more warm-hearted book than Anna Karenina. There is the possibility for a happy ending which I really like. I must read it again one day.

Anna Campbell said...

P226, great to have you back! We've missed you! I bet you've been off training a whole platoon of roosters in commando techniques! But of course, that secret is safe in the lair.

I know what you mean about needing a good story. I think there's something in our soul that responds to what really is "once upon a time..." I read a lot of nonfiction and sometimes, I get a real hunger for it. It feeds a different part of my brain. But there's nothing to replace getting swept away to a different world with a great piece of fiction.

Anna Campbell said...

Terri, I'm a huge old movie fan too. Just watched the Philadelphia Story again over the weekend. James Stewart is really, really sexy in that. Sexier than I think he ever was in anything ever again, although he was always a marvellous actor. Imagine having to choose between him and Cary Grant! What would a gal do?

terrio said...

Cary - no contest. LOL!

Oh, was that a rhetorical question? *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Anna, don't be too sure that I won't look up those Silver Brumby books and read them. :> Love that sort of thing still.

I just have one thing to say about Anna Karenina. Bleeeeech.

Oh, and I can appreciate Scarlet's strength, but I believe a TRUE Southern Gal can be strong w/o driving everyone away by being a complete bi..annoyance. After all, we want the gorgeous men to STAY, not go...

Jimmy Stewart.

Nancy said...

Anna Campbell appears to be current on comments, and we can't be having that, so I'm back.

Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on the rooster. I can report now with certainty that the dog does not like him. He made himself rather obnoxious at supper, something she considers her divinely bestowed and exclusive right, and she can't wait for someone else to take him over tonight. We narrowly averted flying feathers.

Jeanne and Keira, I read The Three Musketeers and loved it. Also had an Ayn Rand period and slogged through The Fountainhead AND Atlas Shrugged, which a writing teacher once cited as having one of the worst writing techniques in history, John Galt's 60-some-page speech near the end. We the Living was just depressing. I do pat you on the back, Keira, for getting through it.

Jeanne, you know I liked early Eddings, too. And of course we're all weird. We're just all wonderfully weird. *g* I read The Name of the Rose but wasn't enough in love with it to read more of Eco. If you're gonna diss Errol Flynn, we may have to get into it. Nobody can buckle a swash quite the way he did.

Anna C., I can't believe neither of us has mentioned the late, great, fantabulous Dorothy Dunnett! Considering both of us are mad for Lymond, how could we have let her slip through the cracks? Aack! I also read Anya Seton. Margaret Mitchell is a really interesting person (and of course GWTW is not a romance. It has a downer ending. Duh!), not at all a Scarlett type. Maybe we should do a joint blog about her one day. I'll watch for Javi in MI2.

Terrio, I teach a class on movies of the 1920s. I also love newer old movies. If you're willing to try the silents, there are some great things out there, like It (starring Clara Bow) and Wings (best picture of 1927).

Gillian, thanks for the brief on The Historian. It sounds interesting.

Yes, ma'am, Duchesse (saluting), I did report my Daphne final. Yesterday, as ordered. But KJ's away, so she didn't. I think Donna is sitting on some good news, too. Go after them! *g*

Claudia, if it's Arthurian, there's a great chance I've read it. I loved those Mary Stewart books! Also T. H. White, The Once and Fugure King. Even the movie Camelot despite the rather lamentable singing of the principals. I saw Robert Goulet do King Arthur on stage about 13 or 14 years ago. Arthur's songs were, of course, written for the non-singing Richard Burton. Goulet's voice was wasted on those, and the kid who sang Lancelot couldn't hold a candle to Goulet in his prime.

p226, there's lots of geopolitical gunk out there. I hope you find your way back to fiction soon.

Anna Campbell said...

Normally, I'd agree with you, Terri. But in this film, he's really young and quite gorgeous.

Jeanne, hope you find the Silver Brumby books! I'm not sure I could take talking kangaroos anymore ;-) It's so sad to get old. But not THAT old, Gillian! Hmm, you'll never live that down will you, my friend?

Anna Campbell said...

Sheesh, just when I thought I'd caught up, along comes that teasing Nancy!

Ooh, meant to say I absolutely loved The Name of the Rose. Much more than I liked the movie. There was a lot of philosophy and history that seemed to get dumped from the movie. I guess that's inevitable when they make a two hour film out of an 800-page book! I read a couple of others but they seemed to lack the heart of TNOTR so I drifted away from him. He's obviously a frighteningly clever man, though!

The Dorothy Ds are definite door stoppers. But good as Riders was, I really felt I couldn't mention the sainted Dorothy and Rupert Campbell-Black in the same blog! But definitely those books fall into the sweep you away into a vivid and colorful world category.

My godfather gave me an original cast recording of Camelot with Goulet singing. He really was great as Lancelot! C'est moi! He saw the production when he went to America in the early '60s. Imagine seeing Richard Burton live, whether he could sing or not!

Kirsten said...

Keira, we missed you! I'll even ignore your comments about my..er..indiscretion!

(Actually, can I object to being compared to the lovely behind on that cover? I think not.)

Anyway, I adored the Count and the Three Musketeers. I kept wondering why I hated "good" literature but loved those books. They were just darn good stories! Why does "good" literature have to forget that? Made it through Fountainhead, which I loved, but not Atlas Shrugged. You've got to be at the right stage of life for Ayn Rand -- young enough to miss the scary parts of her message, but appreciate the celebration of the individual.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jeanne, I just realized you signed your post Jimmy S because you were making a choice. My favorite Cary Grant quote goes something like, "Everybody wishes they were Cary Grant. So do I." He really was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome - and charming!

Anna Campbell said...

I read the Musketeers and really enjoyed them - although I never thought Constance was a good love interest for D'Artagnan. Never got around to the Count. I think it's sad that people equate quality with the amount of suffering it takes to read the book! It's like this stupid thing at the moment that people should read because "it's good for you." Give me a break. People should read because it's fun. If you make it the equivalent of codliver oil, nobody will EVER pick up a book and find out what enjoyment there is in the activity! Sorry, off my soapbox now.

Joan said...

Just got my big B in from work and wow! y'all have been yakking!

My next thought is ...where the h*ll was I in the 80's??? I've read few of the big tomes mentioned though I have distinct memories of miniseries of them:

Shogun (STILL not over the fact that Richard Chamberlain is playing for the other team...SOB),

Valley of the Dolls. Didn't Patty Duke get zoned on Valium in that?

Winds of War...vividly remember a concentration camp scene in that that still makes my gut twist.

Sorry, Duchesse but I do like GWTW and actually liked the miniseries of Scarlett (READ that one!)

Maybe we could do a mini series of "Romance Bandits: The Lair"

Let me rustle up those shoulder pads.

Anna Campbell said...

The lair is gonna get mighty cramped with all those killer shoulderpads, JT! They really were de rigeur. I even worked in a dress shop where we used to sell them to put into clothes that DIDN'T have shoulderpads! Crazy stuff! And seriously, on someone short and round like me, big shoulderpads make look like a box!

jo robertson said...

Well, here's the saucy wench saying what the heck! Ya'll are ready in party mode today!

Here's something I was thinking about. When I was NOT writing, I was really more into the long reads, the sagas, the Ayn Rand-ish tomes, the European classics, but now that I'm writing like mad, I find I like the quick reads better. Hmmm, maybe I'm too impatient?

What do ya'll think?

jo robertson said...

Ah, Jeanne, yes Scarlett was selfish, self-serving and self-centered, but my gosh, what a strong woman. And her transformation was far more internal than external. I ALWAYS thought she'd get Rhett back.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Jo, that's interesting. Maybe you're right. I do know I tried to write a couple of sagas. Don't think I finished either effort - it's really hard to get the emotional intensity and still keep the cast of thousands and the years of time span going. Good lesson! And in the end, I decided I was more interested in writing the shorter time span, more intense book.

I think Scarlett is interesting because she's so flawed. It must have been a wonderful part to play!

Nancy said...

Ms.Hellion, ruining the ending of a book (or a movie) should be an actual crime!

Anna C., I'm going away soon because I have to write an exam for tomorrow, and it'd be nice to go to bed with that done already.

Joan, I couldn't resist the shoulder pad remark. I got Season 1 of Highlander for my birthday, and watching it makes me wonder what on Earth we were thinking--if we even WERE thinking--back then. The clothes are so unflattering on so many of the women. Ginormous shoulder pads, pants baggy at the waist and hips and then tapering to the ankle (the hippopotamus silhouette, one might say). The front line of the Carolina Panthers has nothing on those shoulder pads.

Of course, I not only had suits with the huge shoulders in the 80s but wore bell-bottomed pants and had long, frizzy hair in high school (and the glamorous and trendy (NOT!) cat's eye glasses), so I don't have much room to talk. *sigh*

Anna, this was a fun post!

Ann M. said...

I love WAP. I was into Taylor Caldwell books. Another favorite of mine.. although maybe not saga was Katherine by Anya Seton.

Also wanted to tell Anna that I just purchased her book Untouched today. My goal is to try to read a sampling of the RITA nominated books this year. Congrats on your double nomination.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Urg. Shoulder pads. Did I mention URG? I have broad shoulders for a woman, already. I spent the 80's cutting shoulder pads out of blouses, suit jackets, vests, etc. I had this stack of shoulder pads....it was frightening. I could have made an IKEA couch out of them.

Nancy, did you HAVE to remind me of Galt's speech. Oh, URG again. And no fighting on the suaveability of Errol in Tights, I'm right there with you in the Errol Fan Club, but the book's still better than the movie. So, being a fan, I'll blame the director, not Errol!

Joanie, I'm waving the hankie and sayin' AMEN on the sorrow over Richard Chamberlain's orientation. There are several of those that its just such a downright shame...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, Nancy? I'm there with you too on the Panthers. Go Carolina! (I know, I know, it's BASEBALL season. I'm early)

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

And I still think the ultimate saga is LOTR.

I dunno how I missed this when I read through the first time, but here's a big hanky wave and a loud AMEN to that one sistah. If you can hold out through the hobbit songs, those books are incredible.

Natalie Hatch said...

Wow, lots of comments on this one. My favourite was A Woman of Substance, although in grade eight friends and I used to go to the library during lunchtimes and get out Princess Daisy because it had a sex scene in it. We would have someone as lookout and then we'd huddle on the library floor reading it to each other with lots of giggles and imaginations running wild.... jeez weren't we innocent then. These days kids that age would just laugh, hohum.
But A Woman of Substance really got me, she stuck it up those rich old mongrels... great book.

Anna Campbell said...

I think the worst fashion faux pas in the '80s was drop-waisted dresses! Ack! Put in shoulder pads and I definitely looked like a box, Nancy.

Thanks for the congratulations, Ann. I must say it was a HUGE thrill to be nominated for two RITAs. I hope you enjoy the green monster! It definitely isn't War and Peace ;-)

Jeanne, I too was heartbroken when I found out beautiful Richard didn't bat for my team. Boo hoo!

Natalie, lovely to see you! Is this your first visit to the banditas? I hope it won't be your last. Actually Princess Daisy is fairly tame in the sex scene department compared to Scruples. What I remember about Princess Daisy is those wonderful scenes at the beginning about her Russian father.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, everyone, for a fantastic day in the lair. Don't forget to check back to see who won the Amazon voucher!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

The Macgregors was a series by La Nora about a cagey old Scotsman, took him and his family through a couple of generations, that is the only saga I have ever read that I can remember.

Angela Cox said...

I can't say I share your taste in literature but being a fan of Rupert I had to watch it .Why is he called "Ram" it's too weird and the poor guy looks to weak to ram anything? It looks like an anorexic clinic when they are sunbathing. Luckily Rupert went on to better ( and sometimes worse!!).

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, that sounds great! My favorite Nora series is the Chesapeake Bay one. That's amazing. I'll have to check out the Macgregors.

Angela, my main feeling the first time I saw Rupert was that he'd stepped off the cover of a Barbara Cartland. I swear the heroes on her covers (of which at the time I had copious numbers!) could be him! And yet they look so totally unrealistic!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh yes Anna, it is a great series, I have a thing for scotsmen anyway.
01. Playing the Odds (1985)
02. Tempting Fate (1985)
03. All the Possibilities (1985)
04. One Man's Art (1985)
05. For Now, Forever (1987)
06. Rebellion (1988)
07. In From the Cold (in Historical Christmas Stories 1990)
08. The MacGregor Brides (omnibus) (1997)
09. The Winning Hand (1998)
10. The MacGregor Grooms (1998)
11. The Perfect Neighbor (1999)
All the Possibilities / One Man's Art (omnibus) (2006)
Robert - Cybil (omnibus) (2007)
Serena - Caine (omnibus) (1998)
Alan - Grant (omnibus) (1999)
Daniel - Ian (omnibus) (1999)

kim h said...

i like romeo and julie
kim h

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, thanks for posting that list (only just got back to check the blog!). I've printed it out and I'll see if I can find the books. Another series of Nora's I really enjoyed was the Irish one that starts with (I think it's called) Tears of the Moon. Only four books in that one, though!

Kim, Romeo and Juliet are ALWAYS in style!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

You are quite welcome Anna, I think you will enjoy them as I did. I just love wiley old Scotsmen.