Chunkster Reading Challenge 2012

Posted December 15, 2011 by in Reading Challenges / 6 Comments

Chunkster Reading Challenge 2012 button

I have found one more reading challenge (thanks, Allie!) that I’ve decided to participate in for 2012. I wasn’t going to join any more challenges since I’m already doing three, but this one fits in very nicely with the books I’ve chosen to read for the others. This is the last challenge I’m joining, though, I swear.

The goal of the Chunkster Reading Challenge is to read some huge, chunky, holy-cow-this-book-is-putting-my-legs-to-sleep books that one might otherwise avoid. I have never been one to avoid large books, and as a matter of fact, I much prefer them. If given the choice between reading a 200-page book and a 500-page book, I’ll choose the chunkster nine times out of ten. This challenge is right up my alley.

Here are the details of the challenge (from the official Chunkster website):

Definition of a chunkster:
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.
If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate.
The rules:
  • No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.)
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
You must pick a level of participation:
  1. The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn’t want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. The Plump Primer – this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months. 
  3. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? – this option is for the reader who can’t resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 – 550 pages in length2 books which are 551 – 750 pages in length2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
  4. Mor-book-ly Obese – This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to…..go on and give in to your cravings.

This sounds like so much fun to me. I have chosen the DO THESE BOOKS MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG? level, not only because I find the name funny as heck, but also because fourteen books of the 42 I’ve chosen to read next year are officially chunksters. (Only two of them are over 750 pages, so I don’t qualify for the Mor-book-ly Obese level, but I’m pretty sure I would have chosen the BIG BUTT level anyway because I find it so funny.)

Here are the books that I’ll be reading next year that qualify for this challenge:

  • Annabel, by Kathleen Winter (465 pages)
  • Songs of Blood and Sword, by Fatima Bhutto (480 pages)
  • The Falls, by Joyce Carol Oates (481 pages)
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving (543 pages)
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (544 pages)
  • The Emperor of All Maladies, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (571 pages)
  • them, by Joyce Carol Oates (576 pages)
  • The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, by Benjamin Hale (578 pages)
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison (581 pages)
  • Melmoth the Wanderer, by Charles Robert Maturin (592 pages)
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson (622 pages)
  • The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (737 pages)
  • Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (754 pages)
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath (768 pages)

Yes, yes, I know–I only have to read six books for the level I chose. I’m reading all fourteen of these anyway, so I thought I’d just list them all. DO THEY MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?

If you’d like to join this challenge, click on either of the challenge buttons (the one at the top of this post, or the one in my sidebar) to be taken to the Chunkster Reading Challenge website and sign-up post.

EDIT: I’m not sure how I missed it while I was rounding up the books for this challenge, but I’m also reading Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth next year (which is over 1000 pages long). So I guess I qualify for the Mor-book-ly Obese level… but I’m still going with the BIG BUTT level. Take that, Ken Follett.

3/2/12 EDIT: I have added more chunksters to my list–you can see the updated list on the 2012 Reading Challenges page.


  • Have fun! I’m excited to see JCO/them on your list!

    • I’m reading the whole quartet next year and I’m pretty excited about it. Wait… maybe I already told you that. I can’t remember.

  • Yay for joining the challenge! I see we have two of the same books on our reading lists for next year: Warmth of Other Suns and Annabel. I can’t wait for this challenge to start. Happy reading!

    • I’m glad someone brought it to my attention–I’m excited to be participating!

  • kim in ohio

    Yes, I am glad to see that this challenge is back!. I am going to do the do this books make my butt look big? and thanks for clarifying about e-books.
    kim in ohio

  • I would like to join again this year