top ten tuesday: intimidating books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a fun way to get yourself thinking and sharing about books and bookish things.

July 2: Top ten most intimidating books (length, hype, content, etc.)

This is a great prompt! I’m going to think hard here for this list, instead of taking the easy way out and saying “all the classics” :-/ In no particular order, here are ten books I want to read but intimidate me, with brief explanations of my hesitation:

1. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
I’m afraid it would take me forever to read, and I’d have to read concurrently with other books, just a section at a time.

2. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
Long.

3. The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
Long.

4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I feel like I should read it, and I am interested, but I dunno. Just keep putting it off for some reason. Maybe the hype—afraid I’ll be let down or something.

5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Another hype one that looks intriguing to me, but keep putting off. Maybe I’m afraid it would be too romance-oriented, or the time-travel aspect would be confusing.

6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My gramma gave this book to me years ago and I haven’t read it yet. I’m not much of a classics or romance person, so it doesn’t appeal to me in that respect, but everyone I know loves it and I feel guilty about letting it sit so long. Sigh. One day.

7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I put this down for my “romantic suspense” entry on my Eclectic Reader Challenge list this year. This is one from the challenge will definitely bust me out of my comfort zone!

8. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
I think this one looks really interesting and I want to give Bryson another chance after reading A Walk in the Woods. But I’m not sure how “sciencey” it’ll be (that’s stupid, I know).

9. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
My too-high expectations are holding me back.

10. Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
I just picked this up for the KC Public Library’s Stranger than Fiction book club (July selection) and at first glance it’s pretty densely packed and kinda long (500+ pages). I am interested in reading it, but concerned I won’t be able to get very far before the discussion meeting. Considering skipping this one, since I have so many other books I’m in the middle of right now and I’ll be out of town for about a week. I never get much reading done on trips! But then I’m afraid I’ll never get around to it if I don’t take this chance now.

I thought about adding In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, but I’m not sure I care about reading them.

What books do you find intimidating?

13 thoughts on “top ten tuesday: intimidating books

  1. I love both Zinn’s People’s History and Du Maurier’s Rebecca! Have you seen the 1940 movie of Rebecca? If so, you should see the parody of it from The Mitchell and Webb Look (if you haven’t already).

  2. I love Howard Zinn’s History! There is an edited version for young adults that is less dense but still highlights the big themes/issues. Consider checking out that! And as huge as those Ambrose books are, they are very engaging (I haven’t read Undaunted Courage but have read others).

    • I didn’t know about the edited version of Zinn’s People’s History, but I feel like I should just go for it with the full version. I’m not intimidated by the content at all—I WANT to read all of it—just how long I think it’ll take me to get through. I hate feeling like I’ve missed things in a book, you know? I just listened to the audio abridged version of World War Z and already considering getting a copy of the book to see what I missed.

  3. Rebecca is on my TBR list and I must admit that I really like Wuthering Heights, but it did take me ages to convince myself to start it.

    • Glad to know I’m not alone with Wuthering Heights! I just know myself, and I have a lot of trouble enjoying classics. They typically just don’t hold my attention. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few I want to give a try…

  4. I’ve read three of these. I love Cloud Atlas although I guess it is a little confusing. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books. I’ve also read A Short History of Nearly Everything and it wasn’t scary at all. Bryson has a lovely way of getting comples ideas across. From my bookshelf, A Short History of Time is probably the most intimidating.

    • That’s almost always the comment on Wuthering Heights: that it’s a favorite for that person. Maybe that’s the other part that I’m worried about—it won’t be one of my favorites after I read it! High expectations can be a killer… :-/

  5. Some of the ones that I find intimidating to even start to read are LOTR trilogy. I’ve slept through most of the movie but I liked The Hobbit a lot! Then there’s the Game of Thrones series. I have the first four books already but I’ve been avoiding it. Those are the ones that I really find intimidating right now. I don’t think it’s because of how long they are cause I love HP series and I’ve re-read it more than twice already so I don’t know.

    • I don’t think I would have read LOTR if it weren’t for the movie! That’s rare for me.

      I could have easily put “series” on this list too. I’m pretty hesitant to start series books, because I know myself—I feel obligated to keep going with stuff like that, even if I don’t love it. :-/

      • Same here. I started reading The City of Bones and didn’t like it that much but since I started it, I have to finish it. I’m hoping it gets better.

  6. 2. Yeah, it’s long…took me at least a half dozen times starting it to actually get through the whole thing but in the end, I think it was worth it.

    4. It’s a great book. Definitely recommend it.

    8. The great thing about Bill Bryson is that he’s very good at writing in a way that is understandable…even for someone with no knowledge of the subject. Plus, he is very funny at times so I’d read it just for the humor

    • Yeah I would like to give Bryson another chance. Everyone RAVED about A Walk in the Woods being THE MOST AMAZINGLY HILARIOUS THING EVER OMG and I just didn’t feel that. He annoyed me in that one, actually. But I liked the history and information about the Appalachian Trail.

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