Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

I am joining in on this weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week there is a different top ten list topic and a bunch of bloggers weighing in.  Head on over there to see more of the great blogs participating.

This week the Top Ten Tuesday topic really made me think.  I didn't really think I was intimidated by many books until I started to really consider the books.  Here are my top ten most intimidating books.

Intimidating Classics:

The first book that comes to mind when I think about intimidating books is Ulysses by James Joyce.  I have always been intrigued by this book and have been tempted to try it multiple times.  I keep passing it up, because I am intimidated by the stream of consciousness.  There are so many people who believe this book is very difficult...it can't be that hard to read, can it?

The second intimidating book is The Wings of the Dove by Henry James.  In theory I should like Henry James' novels.  I love Jane Austen's books and many other Romantic British authors.  The style of book that he writes, the comedy of manners, is one of my favorite types of books.  However, I once tried to read The Portrait of a Lady and had to abandon it.  This was the time of my life in which I never abandoned books so this was saying something.

La Caverna by Jose Saramago is a newer classic but it intimidates me because of the complexity of the language.  Saramago was a Portuguese writer and so the translation to Spanish is more likely to be more accurate, which is why I have it in Spanish on my shelf.  I need to have time to focus in order to really get into this one and I just keep passing it up when selecting a new book.

Cien Anos de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another book that I should read in Spanish.  I know so many people who enjoy this book.  However, the first time I tried to read it I had to give up after about 100 pages.  I need to try again at some point because I really just don't see what all those people are raving about so I feel like I must have missed something.

Genre Books That Intimidate: 

These books are all books that I think I could like, but they are intimidating because I am not a huge fan of the genre.  

You could pretty much substitute any Stephen King title here.  I know that my father loved reading his novels and I know that there are a lot of good stories that have been used for movies and television series, but I am scared to read the books.  I never have been a fan of horror stories and his books seem ever so scary.  

The books in the Game of Thrones series are so long and they are fantasy books.  I have not really ever been a fan of fantasy and this genre confuses me some.  I did really like the first season of the television series and would probably like the books, but I am intimidated by the genre conventions that I am not familiar with.  

The Lord of the Rings series is another intimidating series.  I am just not sure I will be able to love the way the fantasy books are written so I don't pick them up.  

Too Long:

La Mano de Fatima by Idelfonso Falcones is another book in Spanish that I have on my shelf.  I really loved his first book La Catedral del Mar but it took a long time to get through and so will this one.  I read much slower in Spanish and this book is at least 900 pages long with tiny print.  

I am really intrigued by the premise of the book The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  However, this book is very long also.  I was lucky enough to find a copy in the clearance section of Half Price Books one day, but since it is paperback, the print is teeny tiny.  

Too Heartbreaking:

Every year I have at least one student who asks me if I have read this book.  Many students and colleagues have read it and found it to be a powerful book.  I just do not want to read about these awful things.  I am a master at avoiding stories that I think will be too sad (and sad movies too).  Some day I will read this one so that I can see what everyone is talking about but it will probably be something I avoid doing for some time to come.  

What books intimidate you?  Please share in the comments below.  


  1. The classics will always be on my intimidate list. :/

    Here's my Top 10

  2. A Child Called "It" made it to my list as well. I just can't bring myself to read it.