Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they suggest a title for a list and we attempt to answer it! As there are two of us, we're splitting the honour, so Caroline gets 5 and Feli gets 5. 

This week it is:

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

Check out our list after the jump:

Caroline's 5:

1. Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Well first of all, it's long. Then again, I have read all the Game of Thrones' books so length isn't really something that intimidates me. I think it's more the mythology that surrounds Tolkien's work. Plus the vast swathes of descriptive passages that I fear I won't have the patience for. I'll get round to it though, I promise. But I think I'll wait till November - they're winter books, right?

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2. Anything by Charles Dickens

Again, pages and pages of description. It's my kryptonite. Plus he wrote so many, and I can't just read one of them can I?

3. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

I actually started The Catcher in the Rye as a teenager... and I hated it. So I didn't want to finish it, in case that feeling never went away and it would be confirmed that I was definitely not a proper teenager. 

4. Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

I find Margaret Atwood generally intimidating. Her writing is just so packed full of nuances and references that I feel like I need to take an English Literature degree just so I can get the most out of them. I do struggle on though, it's just a very humbling process. 

5. Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

This is one of the ones that got away. I never read it as a child, but it holds such a sacred power in a lot of people's childhoods that I don't want to read it now in case it ends up being disappointing. 

Feli's 5:

1. Hopscotch - Julio Cortázar

Don't get me wrong, it is one of my favourite books ever but my whole thought process throughout the book was 'Am I doing it right!?' The register alone combined with themes and the fact that you can choose what way to read it (either chronologically or by skipping to the chapter it tells you at the end) made me really self-conscious. I know there is no 'bad' way of reading it but I kept questioning my choices.

2. War & Peace - Lev Tolstoi

To be honest, most of Russia's literature is quite intimidating (especially the Golden Age). They don't do anything halfway, do they? This book is daunting enough size-wise but then you add a bajillion characters that are all in some way related to another AND random conversations in french which makes it very hard to read, especially if your edition like mine choses to add said translations at the very end of the book (who even does that??) War & Peace is one of those books I was never able to finish and it is too intimidating for me to pick it up again anytime soon.

3. Anil's Ghost - Michael Ondaatje

I find this book intimidating in quite a different way. It deals with the civil war in Sri Lanka which, up until reading it I knew nothing about. I think hearing about what happened is quite daunting in the sense that once you have that knowledge you can't ignore it. The divisions within the country and particularly the repercussions in modern times made this book a very intimidating read for me, even if it was a very rewarding experience and almost made me wish I had studied Anthropology. 

4. William Shakespeare

If English is not your first language, like me, ye olde English can be really intimidating. I did enjoy it after a while but boy did it take quite a lot of time to get used to it.

5. Georgia Nicolson series - Louise Rennison

I know what you're thinking: how can these books be intimidating? Well, I read them right before I moved to England so trying to understand the slang (I read the brit version of course) AND also reading about what brit girls were supposed to be like was quite scary!


  1. Oh Catcher in the Rye! I HATED that book. If your theory is right, then I was definitely not a proper teenager. Seriously, it was incredibly depressing and I really don't see what the hype is all about. Save yourself the trouble and don't bother reading it.

    And I totally agree about Shakespeare. I can't get my head around it.
    - Annette

  2. I wish I grew up on LOTR so I wouldn't be intimidated of reading it, haha. War and Peace is definitely quite daunting!

  3. LotR is definitely a winter book series, but you really should try them out. If the description is too much, you can always skim over sections.
    As for Dickens, just read A Tale of Two Cities. It's so great and sure his stories are long, but they're clever and witty too. :)
    Tolstoy made my list as well. Those books really are tomes. But I figure there has to be a reason why he's so highly regarded so I'll give him a try eventually.
    Great picks - I hope you both are able to read some of them eventually!

    1. Thanks Amanda, I'll definitely pick up LOTR again when it starts getting a bit colder, this heatwave doesn't quite fit with it I think. Tale of Two Cities is actually the only Dickens I've tried to read! Maybe I should go with Oliver Twist or something? Or read the first chapters of all of them and see what sticks!

  4. I gave up on W&P and I don't give up on many books. When I got to page three hundred and realized that I didn't have a clue what I was reading...well, that was it.

    Here's my Top Ten list.