top ten most intimidating books

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 |
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

This week’s top ten list is all about intimidating books.  Intimidating can mean so many things – maybe a book that looks over-long, or seems to be the subject of a lot of attention.  What if I read it and fall on the ‘wrong’ side of popular opinion?  What if I can’t ever finish it?!  Each of us has our own fear/reading mountain to climb, and I’m sure you’ll tell me if one (or more) of the books I’ve listed is really the best thing ever.  I mean, please do!

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – This is THE book.  You’re not in until you’ve read it.  I’m not in.  And I’m not sure I ever will be.

2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – It’s been made into a film, so I feel extra pressure to read the book.  But what if I don’t like the book?  Or the film?  Dangit.

3. Ulysses by James Joyce – Definition of an intimidating book = Ulysses.  I mean, it’s on every list.  This one and Moby Dick. 

4. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – I’m actually halfway through this story.  I even liked it while I was reading it.  Only problem?  I put it down 2 years ago and don’t remember a single thing, so I’d have to start at the beginning.  At over a thousand pages long, this one is just… a lot.

5. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle – I don’t own this cookbook and have no plans to buy it, but as a home cook I feel the weight of Julie and Julia expectations (mostly self-inflicted, of course). 

6. Dune by Frank Herbert – I am light years behind in classic sci-fi reading, and this is just one book that symbolizes that black hole in my life.  Heheh.

7. Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman – I call myself a Neil Gaiman fan, but I haven’t picked up his graphic novels.  Any of them.  I wouldn’t know where to start, and I’m a bit afraid to try.

8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – It’s been called one of *the* traditional fantasies, but the sheer size of this book (and its follow-ups) is daunting when my TBR pile is already several bookcases high/wide/deep.

9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – With this one, it’s the weight of generations of readers’ love and influence.  How could it ever live up to the hype?  Or worse yet, what if it does?!  Then I’ll feel stupid for holding off for so long

10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – See my comments about the previous book.  Times one thousand.

What books would make your list?


Christine said...

I have to read The Bell Jar this summer since I'm teaching Plath's poetry this fall and I have to admit to being a little intimidated too.

Lianne @ said...

I totally forgot to mention James Joyce and Cloud Atlas on my list this week.

Loved 4, 6 - 10 (well, I only read the first issue to Sandman but I loved it!)


Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate said...

Great list! Ulysses was also on my list. I find everything by Joyce intimidating! I hope to one day conquer my fear and read it.
Happy Reading,
Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

Liviania said...

I actually don't have a desire to read Infinite Jest.

Cloud Atlas was a pretty easy read to me. I'm glad I read it on a friend's recommendation before I heard anything about it, because there was no weight behind it.

I remember nothing about Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell.

Dune is great, but I'm very happy I read the series in high school when I had more time.

Sandman - I say start from the first of the ten books in the main series.

The Name of the Wind and Rebecca - I still need to read these myself! I have copies.

Anonymous said...

I have the first of the Sandman comics (and have for years) but am always wary of starting it - not sure why :P

Anonymous said...

It's been so interesting seeing lists this week. A lot of yours on on my TBR radar but I didn't even thin kto wonder if I'm intimidated by them or why I'm putting them off.

For what it's worth I really enjoyed The Bell Jar. (I'm seeing some books on people's lists I read in high school and college and I'm fascinated by the fact that others completely bypassed them!)

Tales of Whimsy said...

YES on the Art of French Cooking. Good one! I would love to try it but I'm sooo intimidated.

Unknown said...

Ulysses and Moby Dick are on my list as well. They are as classical as you can go. :)

Great list!


Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Dune made my list too! You've got to read Rebecca though, so good!

Anonymous said...

I've only read Rebecca, but I can tell you it's great. The atmosphere that DuMaurier created is amazing. And it's kind of spooky. I hope you give it a try sometime.

Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby said...

If you're looking to start Sandman, I'd say go with the first. :) When I first read them I jumped around, but I'd imagine you'd get much more out of the series if you read it in order.

As for It's definitely a book I want to read at some point, but that day might not be for a while. I tried to read it back in high school and couldn't get into it.

kayerj said...

I've only read two on your list--Rebecca and Moby Dick. I hope you get through a couple of those volumes at some point.

Elizabeth said...

Infinite Jest was one of my Kindle daily deals today, and I STILL wasn't interested enough to try it.

I'm starting Moby Dick - one of my very best friends says it's one of her very favorite books. I'm worried about the state of our relationship when I (inevitably) can't finish it. =)

Tina said...

I liked Dune and read three more following in that series. Ulysses is on the shelf and yeah...intimidating! Rebecca was one I read eons ago and if you like the British lit style you will like it!

Ryan said...

Dune and the sequels written by Frank Herbert are about the only scifi I actually enjoy. The books are about so much more than what's on the surface, fantastic reads.

I really loved Rebecca, a lot more than I thought I would.

But I can do without trying Ulysses or Moby Dick ever again.

Amanda said...

I agree about Infinite Jest - I got 300 pages into it and couldn't get any further. I'd like to say I'd go back to it eventually..but I know I won't haha. I feel similarly about Ulysses, although that I will try to read just because it's so well-known. Rebecca is fantastic - I promise. As is The Bell Jar and Dune. I hope you give all three of those a chance!

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