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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books that Intimidate Me

I'm linking up again with The Broke and the Bookish, and today's theme is "Top Ten Intimidating Books".  I'm not sure why, but I've been looking forward to this week.  Maybe it's in the spirit of "confession is good for the soul", or maybe because I hope to find companionship with others who are afraid of War and Peace.  I've read a lot of intimidating books, even plodding my way through Ayn Rand at age 14, but there are still some books that scare the pants off me.  Here's my list:

1.  Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel:  I know, I know, everyone raves about this one, but I've also heard several people say they couldn't get through it.  I will read it one day, when my mom's copy finally makes its way over to me.

2.  Sophie's Choice by William Styron:  I took German and East European History, so I've read lots and lots of depressing books and articles, but somehow this one scares me

3.  Schindler's Ark/List by Thomas Keneally:  Once again, it doesn't make sense for someone who put No One Is Here Except All of Us on a best-books list to avoid a book about Holocaust, but I guess I do so because I sobbed my way through the movie. 

4.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:  My shame as a Russophile... 

5.  Les Mis√©rables by Victor Hugo:  Saw this on several lists today.  I think I've been put off by the bizarre belief that I should be able to read it in original French, a task which will probably take the remainder of my life.  Even in English, though, it's just soooooo long...

6.  Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin:  I'm so curious about this series, but I always hesitate to start it because of the time it will take to get through so many giant books.

7.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel:  Everyone loves it.... so I'm convinced I'll somehow hate it.
8.  Richard Evans' Third Reich series (The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power, and The Third Reich at War):  This set has been on my TBR list for years, but at over 2500 pages, I never manage to actually pick it up.

9.  The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:  Both long AND depressing.

10.  Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West:  I once took a class on the Balkans, and I believe we read portions of this book.  It was great, so why can I never manage to read the whole thing?

Which books intimidate you?  Which ones should I get over myself and get reading?


  1. I was terrified of Life of Pi for the same reason. The thing is, a lot of people hated it... and it is really slow at the start, and goes on a lot of tangents... but I ended up loving it. Can't say the same for the author's "Beatrice and Virgil" though.

  2. I agree with you about almost all of these, except maybe Life of Pi, which doesn't intimidate me though I'm not sure it attracts me enough to want to read it. Wolf Hall I'm also ambivalent about. And I notice we share several choices, from Solzhenitsyn to Hugo. George R. R. Martin's series intimidates me less for the length and more because I really hate multiple points of view (over, say, three) and the killing off of characters in whom I've become invested.