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We all have them. Those books that we really want to read and yet every time we are looking to start something we brush right past them. There is just something about them that makes it impossible to pick them up... here are my top ten intimidating books and organized by the reasons that I keep passing them by.
Physical qualities of the books: size of the book or size of the font (This book is too big! This font is too tiny!)
1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
2. Possession by A.S. Byatt
3. The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber - I have tried multiple times to start this book. But the font in my edition is painfully small. To the point where my eyes are hurting.
Classics: I tend to really love classical literature. But sometimes I'm scared to read them because I'm afraid I'll get lost and muddled in the differences of language. Or, even worse, I'll read it and go "why is this book so important?"
4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
5. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray - This one could also fall in the first reason. Because at almost 1000 pages, it's quite a beast
6. Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick - I haven't had any experience with this master of Scifi yet. I don't know why I'm so intimidated to introduce him into my library- I know I'll be happier for it once I do.
Are you a series? : Seriously- sometimes I can't tell if a book is a stand alone, part of a series, or if they aren't technically a series but they are in the same universe so they are getting labeled as a series... So usually I just skip it and get another book
7. The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear by Walter Moers- This guy has been on my bookshelf since high school. I think it's a stand alone. But on Goodreads it says (#1) - at least if it is a series... I have the first one. But some of the series(?) haven't been translated into English. So if it is a series... I can't finish it.
8. Darkmans by Nicola Barker - I am 99% sure this is a "technically not a series but all in the same universe" situation but Goodreads says it's #3 in the "Thames Gateway" series
Sorry Non-fiction... not today: I want to like Non-fiction. There are TONS of non-fiction books that sound really interesting to me. Studies, memoirs, essays- you name it- If I own it, it's probably been on my shelf for years.
9. Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach
10. The Supergirls by Mike Madrid
-Both of these are examples of feminist perspective books that I am positive I would love (or at least find interesting discussions in) but I just always reach for the fiction when I'm looking for something new.
How about you all? What kind of things intimidate you about a book? And if there has been an intimidating book on your shelf- what got you to eventually say "Today. Today is the day I will read you"
The Historian is HUGE! I would love to read it, eventually. It would probably take me forever. :)ReplyDelete
Ohh, yes, Philip K. Dick would make my list too, if it were a bit longer. I haven't read nearly enough classic sci-fi. Nice picks!ReplyDelete
I agree The Count of Monte Crisco is really intimidating!! Nice picks! :)ReplyDelete
I hadn't heard of the nonfiction books, but they sound awesome! (Yay feminism!) As for #3, I can't STAND when books have small font either.ReplyDelete
The Historian is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I agree that it is intimidating in size. I completely agree with you on the Classics you shared. I am sure I would probably like Vanity Fair but it is soooo long!ReplyDelete
I reviewed The Historian yesterday, I had some difficulty getting into the book. However I absolutely enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo!ReplyDelete
I live in Austria so I read The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear by Walter Moers (once we are lucky to have books first :)) and I can tel you that it is a standalone, really funny and super weird (the good kind) from time to time. I think it says #1 on Goodreads because there are more books set in Zamonia but other than that you can and should read it :)ReplyDelete
Thank you! That is the straight forward answer I've been waiting for! Goodreads/wikipedia/all of the internet never gave me that info. I will bump it up on my list because I love funny and super weird.Delete
Ditto what Karin said. I didn't realize it was part of a "series" until I finished reading it. No loose ends. Just more zaniness to enjoy if you read the other books set in Zamonia. If you're interested, I reviewed The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear on my blog: http://www.smilingshelves.com/1/post/2013/06/the-13-12-lives-of-captain-bluebear-book-review.htmlDelete
Ditto what Karin said. I didn't realize it was part of a "series" until I finished reading it. No loose ends. Just more zaniness if you decided to read the other books set in Zamonia. If you're interested, I reviewed The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear on my blog: http://www.smilingshelves.com/1/post/2013/06/the-13-12-lives-of-captain-bluebear-book-review.html.Delete
The Historian and Possesion are two books that I tried valiently to read and found them .... boring. Not only boring, but bleak and boring - especially Possesion. I like reading, but I don't like to feel depressed while I'm reading or as a result of reading. They were so...I never finished them to be honest. It was just toooo bleak and ....yep - boring. So I don't think of those particular two books as intimidating so much as just plain boring. LOL.ReplyDelete
I also read the Count of Monte Christo when I was a young tween, and now I'm thinking I must have read a children's version, because I liked it a lot. It was good. But then again, it was probably a paired down, abridged, or whatever they call it when they take out some of the unnecessary words.
I like the premise of Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep and someday, I'm going to try reading it.
You know what book intimidates me? Anna Karenina. I even read War and Peace so I don't know why this other book intimidates me - maybe because I see our modern version of "blue-stocking" young women reading this - I'm not trying to be mean, but there's a certain type of young woman who tends to seem like they hate everyone, and everyone is just soooo dumb, and they always seem to have a copy of Anna Karenina around (maybe they're just carrying it for effect?)
The Count of Monte Cristo, you will be happy to hear, is MUCH less intimidating than it looks. In fact, it goes faster and faster as the pages fly by, until by the end it reads more like a thriller than a classic novel. Give it a shot sometime when you've got a while to really get stuck in, it's amazing!ReplyDelete
A great list! I just added Possession to my bookshelf this year but even the cover art intimidates me! Here's to conquering our fears!ReplyDelete
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate
I agree about non-fiction - I think one of the reasons why I avoid non-fiction is because it intimidates me, especially if it's about something I don't know about. Which is silly, really. How else am I supposed to learn something new?ReplyDelete
I've also been slightly intimidated by classics, especially if they are absolutely huge. War and Peace? I have a copy and want to read it, if only just to say I've read it. I've never touched the thing. Oh well. Maybe someday. :)
Denise @ Life With No Plot
I have the same problem with classics as you do, where I really like them, but I also find them a little intimidating. Great picks!ReplyDelete
There's only one book on my list that I actually finished instead of abandoning or not even attempting, The Aeneid. I felt I should read the rest before we had to return it to the school, and I ended up finally getting into it and enjoying it as it got closer to the end. There's still no comparison between Virgil and Homer, though. Probably not surprising, since this is a Roman knock-off of the classic Greek adventure stories.ReplyDelete
The Count of Monte Cristo is on my list too, for the same reason it's on yours. I love the story, I want to read a classic, but it was originally written in French 200 years ago! I'm afraid I'll get lost very easily. :(ReplyDelete
TTT @ Krista's Dust Jacket
Oooh, I forgot about some of these! The Historian and Count of Monte Cristo are two on my "eventually" list... someday I'll read them!ReplyDelete
I've been told so many times to read Do Androids Dreams of Electric Sheep and I really do want to read it. But I agree. It's definitely intimidating. I'm mostly intimidated by the classics, really long books, and books that everyone else loves. I get so worried that I won't love them too and then I just never end up reading them.ReplyDelete
Great post--I'm so happy I've joined Top Ten Tuesdays! :-)ReplyDelete
I'm with you on the non-fiction genre. I will say that what little I've read of NF I've actually enjoyed, so maybe I should dig deeper to see what's out there.
Thanks for making Tuesdays fun!
I like how you've grouped these books. Good luck with them. kelley—the road goes ever ever onReplyDelete
I actually loved Possession so I think it's totally worth getting into it. Vanity Fair, on the other hand, was not my favourite...ReplyDelete
The Historian is the only one on your list, and I really liked it, but I totally get the intimidation factor. Classics scare me for the same reason! But sometimes, I just need to go for it. Great list!ReplyDelete
I feel the same way about your 2 nonfiction books. I am sure I'd love them, but... I don't wanna. :)ReplyDelete
Excited to take part in Top Ten Tuesday for the first (but not last) time :)
Really, really long is one of my criteria for intimidating, too, hence the presence on my list of some cumbersomely long history series which I might otherwise find interesting. (The Durants' Story of Civilization clocks in at 11 massive volumes.)ReplyDelete
Vanity Fair is also on my list. I tried it once but couldn't keep up with it.ReplyDelete
I find Possession so intimidating, too. I was supposed to read it for a college class, and got, like 10 pages into it. Vanity Fair is a beast. I doubt that one will ever happen in my lifetime either. Great list!ReplyDelete
I loved The Count of Monte Cristo. Yeah, it's long and definitely read the unabridged version, but it's worth it.ReplyDelete
Great list! Possession is tough but worth it in the end. I too have trouble motivating myself to read feminist books because I'd prefer novels. But I'd love to read "Fat is a Feminist Issue" - I've read a portion of it and it seems so interesting!ReplyDelete
Great picks! Dumas made my list as well, though I'm more interested in reading the musketeer books than the Count. :DReplyDelete
What a great topic!ReplyDelete
Vanity Fair is also on my list for being way too long!
Oh, DARKMANS has been sitting in my TBR for ages! That one does definitely intimidate me and for some reason I completely forgot about it while putting together this list!ReplyDelete
Can't wait to see what everyone chose!ReplyDelete
Love Possession and The Historian. Read them! You'll love them! :)
The Historian was a pretty good book, but it is a LONG one. It drags a bit at times so it seems even longer!ReplyDelete
I love this, and totally agree with the Book of Air and Shadows.ReplyDelete
I'm a new follower and brand new blogger. Please feel to stop by if you have time :)
Love this - so glad to participate!ReplyDelete
I feel the same way about classic literature! I normally love any that I actually have the courage to read, but I always worry about a disconnect with the language. I also feel like classic literature can be somewhat flowery and too much description always turns me off.ReplyDelete
Great list idea.ReplyDelete
I love the idea of the Tuesday top ten, I have added a link to my blog and am about to do today's one. What a great idea and thank you for encouraging people to join in.ReplyDelete
Oh, The Historian has been on my to-read list since high school. I love Elizabeth Kostova's writing, but the print in that book is SO TINY! I don't know when I'll ever have the time to sit down and finish it.ReplyDelete
"The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear" is one of my all-time favourite books :D It's only part of a series insofar as there are other books placed in the same universe. There may be a few characters that turn up in the other books, but plotwise the book is definitely self-contained and SO worth reading :) :) :)ReplyDelete
The Count of Monte Cristo is on my list as well! :)ReplyDelete
I loved The Count of Monte Cristo! Its a long rough read though. For that reason, The Three Musketeers is on my list. I want to read it, but Dumas takes quite a commitment.ReplyDelete
Oh my God you HAVE to read The Count of Monte Cristo! I think it is the only novel I can think of that has literally everything in it (except time travel and spaceships, but really, that's a pretty small list). Romance, revenge, travel, rich man, poor man, love triangles, pirates, plotting, good triumphs over evil, war (ish), carnivals..I mean I could go on listing if I wanted to (but I don't. And neither do you - you get my point). That being said, if you are someone like me who has to read something in one go, you'll need to set aside a good chunk of time. If you are a grazer, it'll just take a while to get through but it's 1000% worth it!ReplyDelete
Non-fiction definitely intimidates me. Most of the non-fiction I read is for school - other than that, I typically just read fiction.ReplyDelete
OH MAN DARKMANS. GET ON THAT NOW. It was one of those books I happened to randomly come across and wound up loving. Seriously. I adore that novel. It was only a few years ago that I found out - through goodreads - that it was part of a novel. I'm curious to read the others, but I was able to get through Darkmans just fine without having read the first one.ReplyDelete
& The 13 1/2 Lives is another super fantastic book! :) Definitely read it.
I did not like Vanity Fair. I really enjoyed the Historian. I hope you get passed the intimidation to dive in.ReplyDelete
Read Possession! It's a combo love/detective story set in the world of academia. It was wonderfully written. A treat for lovers of a carefully crafted sentence. Roll up your sleeves and dig into this novel!ReplyDelete
I definitely agree about the classics... I just don't know that it'll translate in my brain, you know? Who knows if I'll understand what's going on, let alone decipher if there's a huge life meaning in it. lolReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your list!
I loved the Historian and have quite a few books I would like to get to eventually!ReplyDelete