Top Ten Tuesday (1): Books That Intimidate Me


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week we are discussing books that intimidate us for one reason or another.

When I first read this topic, I wasn’t exactly sure where to take it.  I don’t think of books as intimidating per se, but rather there are just books I want to read and books I don’t want to read.  But then as I perused my TBR List on Goodreads, I noticed that there are at least a handful of books that have been languishing on that list for a long time now.  These picks each have better than 4 stars on Goodreads and are well-known reads, but all have been on my TBR list for a good long time.  Some have been there for years!  Why haven’t I picked them up yet?  No idea – I guess they intimiate me!

Probably Should Have Read These in High School

Half of my list is made up of books that I really should have read already – these are well-loved classics and there’s really no excuse.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: A well-loved classic with a strong female lead.  Just pick this one up already, Emily!

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Mila Kundera: Maybe it’s the fact that the publisher’s blurb claims that this one “illuminates all aspects of human existance,” but it stresses me out.

3. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: Over 1000 pages and a notoriously dense read?  I’ve started this one more times than I can count and just haven’t gotten through it.  (See also, Finnegan’s Wake, by James Joyce.  I knew some people in college who had a weekly reading group during they got through ONE PAGE A WEEK! of this one.)

4. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: Now this one’s only 133 pages, so I really have no excuse.  People have called this one life-changing, but I just can’t work up the interest.

5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Double confession time – I also haven’t seen the movie.

Groundbreaking Fantasy Novels

As you can see from perusing my blog or my Goodreads list, I lean heavily towards fantasy novels in my reading patterns.  But this didn’t start until I was older, so maybe that’s why I haven’t picked up some of these groundbreaking fantasy classics that everyone else seems to love?

6. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie: This one’s not as old and one of my favorite fantasy readers, Felicia Day, has recommended it numerous times.  But I just can’t get into it.  I’ve tried three times and even own it!

7. Anathem by Neal Stephenson: OK, OK – ANYTHING by Neal Stephenson.  They are long and dense and supposedly amazing, but I just can’t.

8. Nine Prices in Amber by Roger Zelazny: The first in what is supposedly a must-read for fantasy lovers, and only 175 pages.  What’s the deal!

You Have A Lot To Live Up To!

These last two novels are ones that are forthcoming, but they have so much to live up to that I am almost afraid to read them.  Almost…

9. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor: The third in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, I just have to know what happens, but at the same time I don’t want the story to end!  Anxiously awaiting this one.

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: For those of you who read Code Name Verity, you already know.  I don’t know if I can handle another one, but I also am positive I cannot stay away.

What Scares You?

Join up with us and share what books scare you.  Any on this list have you shaking in your boots?  Or is there one that you think I just need to power through and finally read already?


15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday (1): Books That Intimidate Me

    • I swear next year I am going to ALA or BEA come hell or high water! But man, Rose Under Fire… I’m getting misty just contemplating it. KISS ME HARDY!

  1. Pingback: Tuesday’s Top Ten : Intimidating books | A World of Books

  2. Stephenson’s books are great–but they are long, dense, and complex. Like a puzzle, where everything falls into place at the end.
    I love them, though they are the sort of book made for an ebook, not carrying around with you.

      • It depends on what kind of books you like best. Some of his short(er) books–
        Snow Crash: a pizza delivery guy/computer programmer who fights a virus that’s crashing people’s brains instead of their computers.
        The Diamond Age: Nell, a young girl, finds an interactive educational Primer that teaches her how to grow past her status, while the adults around her try to shape the world as they see fit. (This was one of my favorites. It’s a bit steampunk.)
        Zodiac, which I haven’t read, is about a detective trying to find out who dumped toxic waste in Boston Harbor.
        Save the 1,000+ books for later…

  3. the only one on your list I’ve read is the Joe Abercrombie. Don’t let that one intimidate you, it’s most action and snarky dialog = fast read.

    I second Stephenson’s Zodiac. It’ a super quick read. I found Quicksilver to be really intimidating, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down and ended up devouring the entire series.

  4. I like how you categorized this! I didn’t read Jane Eyre until college, but it’s great. So is Gone with the Wind. I actually started Infinite Jest for a book club and then we all just stopped. I don’t think I’ll be returning to it any time soon – it’s dense and just so strange and convoluted. I actually don’t find myself feeling intimidated by sequels/series very often, but I can totally understand why some people do. Looking forward to both Rose Under Fire and Dreams of God and Monsters!

    • I was even an English major, so I have absolutely no excuse for skipping over Jane all this time! I don’t know that I am truly intimidated by the series, but man oh man I want them to end well!

  5. I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, liked it, but I’m sure most of it went over my head. Infinite Jest is so intimidating! Totally agree with you on Rose Under Fire.

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