Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday-- Top Ten Most Intimidating Books!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time..just post what you can!



Jamie takes on the Top Ten Most Intimidating Books!


1. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy) : Oh hello 1300+ pages of Russian literature. I do have plans of reading this someday. I really do.
2. House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski): I've had this book on my shelf since October of 2008. I really do want to read this. It sounds fantastic. However, I'm very intimidated by it because I hear it is crazy and it's kinda thick. I don't want it to mess with my head.
3. Lolita: I was so intimidated by this book but finally sucked it up and read it! I was intimidated by the subject matter and I've read excerpts and knew that it wasn't an "easy" read as far as language goes. I was glad I read it!
4. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand): Another chunkster and the fact that it seems that all the intellectuals read this one. I was told I needed to read this by a guy I used to talk about and he made it seem like I'd be the biggest idiot if I didn't like it or "get it."
5. The Divine Comedy (Dante): Ok, I've had to read parts of this for school. But honestly, it intimidates me so much because it's supposedly one of the best works in Western Literature. That's alot of pressure!
6. Finnegan's Wake (James Joyce): I don't think I need to elaborate! This has me shaking in my boots!
7. Hamlet (Shakespeare): I've read some Shakespeare for school but I'm deathly afraid of actually reading them on my own and for real...not just Sparknotes for school. I need to. I can do it. The language won't kill me.
8. Wicked (Gregory Maguire): I'm scared to invest in reading this one. It's big and I'm afraid I'm going to love the play more...because I really loved it!!
9. Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackery): Thick book. I have a really old copy on my shelf and that makes it look even scarier.
10. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez): it took me forever to read this. I had a friend recommend it highly and said I would love it. I was scared I wouldn't "get it"..but I'm glad I read it. It's one of my favorites!

Have any of you read any of the ones on my list?

NEXT WEEK'S TOP TEN WILL BE: Top Ten Best/Favorite Book Covers


36 comments:

  1. War & Peace is where it's at (or isn't!)

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  2. Great List!
    I see the intimidation in House of Leaves but if you go into it open minded like it's a normal book you'll be fine. The writing style and weird placing of text makes it a pretty quick read.

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  3. I've read 3 and 7. I totally agree with War and Peace! I made it my number one as well.

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  5. I totally messed up my comment (that's why I deep-sixed it). What I meant to say was...I have also read 3 & 7. Would love to read War & Peace, but I'm so intimidated by it that I couldn't even put it on my list. :-)

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  6. +JMJ+

    I've read Atlas Shrugged, Hamlet, and Vanity Fair. It took me two weeks to read Vanity Fair, but it was totally worth it in the end! =D

    I had the good fortune to be reading it while studying Jane Austen with one of the best freaking English professors on earth. I told him that I was surprised Thackeray isn't better loved when it seemed to me that he was the logical next step after one has read everything by Austen. Really, his characterisation is just as good, his satire is much sharper, and the scope of this story allows for much more character development along the same great lines. After I was done, I was glad that I had read a lot of Austen first, because she prepared me for Thackeray! =)

    On the other hand, Atlas Shrugged was kind of a let down. =( I had been so impressed by the quality of the prose in The Fountainhead that I expected to be totally bowled over by this supposedly better book . . . but it was one awful clunker. I think she overwrote it so that it would have everything including the kitchen sink--and that didn't really work for her. Whenever I reread it now, I feel as if I'm trying to find a once-beautiful woman now buried under at least 500 pounds of fat.

    Then there is Hamlet, which I had to read for uni and which didn't affect me much--possibly because I didn't understand it very well! LOL!

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  7. Love in the Time of Cholera was definitely intimidating. It took me a long time to read, too, but in the end, I found it to be one of the most beautiful books I've read yet.

    In regards to Hamlet, I totally have faith in you that you could do Shakespeare. Everyone always says about how "difficult" he is to read, and I was intimidated by him for the longest time, but then once I did go it alone, it really wasn't that bad. Hamlet and Macbeth are my favorites!

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  8. I've read Wicked. Well, I shouldn't say that. I have STARTED it, but never finished it. Lol. I am absolutely in love with the movie Wizard of Oz, and I am DYING to see the play Wicked, so I thought reading the book would be fun. I just couldn't do it. It's definitely an intimidating book! Great list!

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  9. i've read 4 & 8.
    wicked isn't worth your time. really.
    atlas shrugged was interesting but not the greatest book out there. it took me FOREVER to read though.

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  10. I've read 8 and 10. I'd say Wicked is worth your time, cause I did like it. I also loved Love in the Time of Cholera! Vanity Fair scares me just a bit too..

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  11. Haha, I think half those books are gonna be on my list. Well, at least War and Peace. @.@ I tried that at ten and got like, two pages in before I gave up.

    House of Leaves is very worth it, though :3 It's more of a project read. I spent like 3 mos. just reading it periodically before I finished it. Very fun, and best of all, unique. Also, it helps the mood if you listen to Danielewski's sister's album that she made to go along with the book. :D

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  12. I love Hamlet but something that always makes Shakespeare easier for me is to see a stage or movie version first. Since he wrote his works to be acted, sometimes the visual context makes the story and characters easier to grasp at first and then you can take a second look by reading the text and picking up on a lot more of the nuances, wordplay and poetry. Hope it helps!

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  13. Wouldn't say I am intimidated by any book-- but I am lazy and put off books I know I should read-- War and Peace would be number one on my lists of books I keep putting off.

    I have read Wicked and also Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister-- interesting premise and well written but not a joy to read (for me anyway) so I probably won't read any more of Maguire's books.

    En-- I've enjoyed the films of Vanity Fair but now I'm gungho to read the book!

    I love to stick my nose in thick old books full of funny old prose! ;o)

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  14. There is a guy at my new job who is a reader. We got into a discussion about books and he told me he read Atlas Shrugged three times! At my face, he said the first time it took 11 months but each subsequent time not so much. I don't think I could ever read it!

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  15. I will say- SEEING the Shakespeare is so much more enjoyable than READING the Shakespeare. You pick up on all the nuances of the work brought out by the actor's intonations and body language. Stop reading them and just go see them.

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  16. I read Wicked like 4 years ago and I don't recall it being particularly difficult to get through. However, I barely remember it at all (probably because I saw the show on Broadway and was totally blown away, so that's the only Wicked I can ever think of). I suppose I should reread it, but I don't think I liked it that much.

    I totally agree with the rest, though. I'd never read Shakespeare on my own (well, I read Richard III essentially on my own for a class...but it was awful). I'd prefer to see the plays.

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  17. I definitely think Atlas Shrugged is intimidating! Unfortunately, I ended up not liking it very much. Great topic this week!

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  18. Hmm..nice list, but alas I haven't read any of those! *hangs head in shame* Wicked is in my TBR pile though.. ^_^

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  19. By doing this list I learned that most big books scare me! I really need to change that and start reading some longer books!

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  20. Last year a Russian girl that works with my friend said War and Peace is the Russian Pride and Prejudice...so I immediately decided to read it and really loved it. I forgot I was supposed to be afraid of it I guess. Off to make my list...

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  21. +JMJ+

    Melody, your friend's description of War and Peace is just wonderful! =D Now I want to read it, too. I was not intimidated before, just not drawn by the Russian context, but all that really has changed. What a smart girl she was! ;-)

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  22. That is a good description!

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  23. Vanity Fair is actually not that bad - chunks of the book is Thackeray going off on tangents and making social commentary of his own. I would suggest seeing the movie with Reese Witherspoon. They did a phenomenal (sp?) job with it. And I think Poe may be Danielewski's daughter, not sister. She (Poe) is another strange duck. Good music though.

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  24. I've heard that you should listen to Poe while reading that book!

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  25. I love your list. As a teacher of literature, it really got me thinking. I'm surpised you chose Finnegan's Wake from Joyce rather than Ulysses. Tolstoy is intimidating, but he may be the most pure novelist of all time and War and Peace, though intimidating, is well worth the effort. Skip reading Wicked; the musical, however, is awesome!

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  26. Ty--It was honestly a toss up between Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. I think my next challenge will be to actually tackle all these books on my list!

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  27. Great list! I am excited to read more "top 10" posts

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  28. I've seen the play wicked twice. I absolutely adore it. I'm reading the book now and it's hurting a bit. I'm halfway through and Elphaba hasn't even dabbled in sorcery yet.

    I can see how this book inspired an amazing play, but so far the book itself isn't cutting it...

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  29. If you're scared by Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays, I really recommend the No Fear Shakespeare editions by Sparknotes. For ones I read on my own that I didn't study in school (The Tempest and King Lear), they've helped so much. It "translates" the text into modern English on the opposite page from the original text, which helps to clarify the plot and things that might not always be clear from the way Shakespeare writes. I really liked reading them that way and it's worth the extra effort to read the original and then the modern--it makes you concentrate more!

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  30. Trai--that is awesome advice!! Thank you so much!

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  31. You have nothing to fear with Wicked the book was fabulous.

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  32. We share some of the same aversions! I think most people are terrified of James Joyce. ;)

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  33. Great list.
    I have read Atlas Shrugged recently. It took me about a month and a half, and I have also read The Fountainhead, in fact I reread it after reading Atlas Shrugged. I have noticed a lot of women tend to like The Fountainhead more but I don't know why. The relationship in The Fountainhead is violent and the ending is abrupt.
    I loved Atlas Shrugged and I believe if you look at it as a world built to support a set of ideals then you will too. If you look at it as regular fiction or take Ayn Rand too seriously (she was an extremist)you'll hate it.

    As for Shakespeare I agree that watching the plays really helps to grasp the rythem. I have been attending shows and reading Shakespeare since I was very young and have always loved him. Although I haven't read Hamlet I've enjoyed R&J, Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, The Tempest, and others. Just ignore the stigma people put on it, that's what makes it scary.

    To the list I'd add 'Crime and Punishment'.

    Sorry to be so long winded. It is quite a list you compiled. Good luck tackeling them.

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  34. I read "100 years of solicitude" by Garcia Marquez without knowing what i was doing when i was 12, i'm glad i did or i would be afraid to read it now....
    The most intimidating book for me is "Don Quijote de la Macha".... i do intend to read it one day, but is so SO long.

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  35. To me the most intimidating book is "Don Quijote de la Mancha".... i will read it one day¡

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  36. "Moby Dick" is the most intimidating book to me... but I'll read (one day...)

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