Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Intimidating Books

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
It's been a while since I've participated in Top Ten Tuesday, partially because I can't come up with lists for the topics and partially because I forget about it.  Usually it's the latter.  But today I remembered AND I have a list for this week's topic: books that I find the most intimidating.  Because let's be honest - some books are crazy intimidating and, as a result, we never actually read them.  Or maybe that's just me.  Although, a lot of the books that I find intimidating are on my Classics Challenge list, so hopefully I'll change that eventually.  Without further ado, my list!

1) The Bible: I am in no way a religious person, but on occasion I have thought that I would read it because it would be interesting to read the actual basis for fundamentalist arguments and also it could help me read biblical allusions in literature.  But come on, it's the Bible, AKA long and confusing.

2) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: I have tried to read this book at least twice and always fail because, um, what the hell language are they speaking?  What is going on?  I don't understand!

3) The Divine Comedy by Dante: I have had vague thoughts about reading this but it is so long and in verse and so invested with cultural beliefs about it's awesomeness that I can't imagine actually being up to the challenge.

4) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Because confusing Russian novel and confusing Russian names.  Or so I assume, as that's been my experience with most Russian novels (though I did manage to read Anna Karenina, so there's hope).

5) Backlash by Susan Faludi: This is a veritable feminist tome and while I like reading feministy things, I am intimidated by how long this is without being a narrative.  But I bought it on impulse years ago, so I WILL read it.

6) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner: Yet another book I've tried and failed to read on multiple occasions.  One day...

7) Paradise Lost by John Milton: See commentary for Dante's Divine Comedy.  Ditto.

8) The Waves by Virginia Woolf: I've failed at this one too because unusual structure and wtf but it's Virginia Woolf and I love her so I must read it.

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I can only come up with eight but I think that's more than enough to be getting along with.  Some of these I do intend to one day conquer (because that's what you do with books, right?) and some I know will probably never happen (see Divine Comedy and the Bible).  And I'm cool with that.  What books intimidate you?


  1. I'm with you on the Bible. I wish there was some kind of literary study guide to go with it.

    My challenges are Ulysses and Moby Dick. I keep circling them, thinking I should read them. I conquered War and Peace last year, which was much more approachable than I expected, and I'm slogging through The Brothers Karamazov right now, which is more difficult than I expected. But I'm hanging in there.

  2. HP monster book gif is excellent and how I picture all intimidating books. Either like that or super pretentious.

    I was able to make it through Clockwork by keeping a list of nasdat defnitions next to me. Eventually I needed the list less and less but it was crucial in the beginning.

    also if you do decide to tackle Divine Comedy I liked Ciardi's translation of Inferno (which is the only part I've read). There was a summary before (and I think after) each section to let you know what happened, lots of footnotes to explain all these 14th century references, and he kept the canto structure which surprisingly made it pretty easy to read.