TOP TUESDAY: Top 10 Most Intimidating Books

Do you ever look at some of the books that you want to read, but at the same time they seem overwhelming and intimidating and it is hard for you to pick them up and start reading? Do not fear, you are not alone in this situation. And as a proof here are 10 books that I do want to read, but for whatever reason I just cannot get myself to it.

  1. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Dostoyevsky novels scare me, okay? I like the premise of his stories, but the two times I have read books by him they really suffered from the very old Danish translations I had to settle with and it really made them a drag. The thing is, those were some of his shortest novels, The Double and Notes from the Underground. So unless I find a very recent translation of Brothers Karamazov it might be a while before I read because as far as I recall this is one of his longest works, if not the longest.
  2. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
    I remember watching Disney’s The Sword in the Stone as a small child, and I still giggle at the scene where Merlin gets his beard caught in the door, then proceed to have it wrap around his cane before finally turning into a powderpuff around his head as he pulls it loose. It took me well over a decade to find out that it was based by a book, and even longer that it was part of a series. I think the intimidation comes from the fact that this film was so funny when I was a child and from what I have read from different sources the book does not have the same degree of humour. Furthermore, the book The Sword in the Stone has gone through some revisions which a lot of critics have argued made it weaker than the original, so I will have to find one without revisions. I am looking forward to the day I find a proper version, because I really like old folklore and fiction based on it, so this is a must-read for me.
  3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    Oh look another Russian giant. To be fair I borrowed this at the library at one point and planned to read it, but life got in the way and I had to give up. Since then I have been hesitant to return and it has not really gotten less intimidating after having some rough experiences with Dostoyevsky. I have also heard that it is super rough and depressing, so I do not see myself reading it any time, because I would only have time during holidays and I do not want to spend my off time – the time I spend mentally charging for being social – on something that will make me really sad.
  4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
    First off, I have never watched the musical or the film adaptation of Les Miserables so my knowledge of the plot is limited, though I know there is a lot of sad stuff in it, so I am hesitant to read this for many of the same reasons as I am with War and Peace.
  5. The Four Great Novels of China by various authors
    Technically not a series as much as a Chinese literary canon. The Four Great Novels are four important novels in chinese culture. They are the following: Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.
    Since a lot of my homework at university is very eurocentric I think it is important for me to seek out the literary tradition of Asian and African countries outside my curriculum in order to get a broader view of literature as a global thing rather than seeing European and American literature as the standard.
  6. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
    I was introduced to this book about a year ago in my Text Analysis class and I was immediately fascinated by it. As a web designer with self-studies in graphic design books with a concept like this in regards to visuals and form is just a gold mine for me. But as with other books on this list I want to have time fully investing myself in this thing so I cannot read during one of my semesters, it has to be between them. It does call my name though, it really does.
  7. The Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson
    Whenever I say that I have not read this thing, people almost get offended. It is as if they expect me to have read it simply because I am from Scandinavia. I had enough of crime novels after my experiences with Dan Brown and I do not feel myself drawn by crime novels because of it. That being said, Lisbeth Salander fascinates me as a character and she alone has been what has made me curious enough to know that I will one day pick it up and read it, but it being a crime novel does make it quite intimidating for me.
  8. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
    I briefly mentioned the reasons for me not reading this yet in my last Tag Tuesday post: This series has so many fans and it is quite dense. I want to honour it the way it deserves, so I will need to not have any other reading in the period I choose to read it and just emerge myself fully into it. That way I will maybe be able to avoid disappointing those of my friends who are hardcore fans. I actually plan to read it within the next year.
  9. The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
    My lecturer for the course New Literature introduced us to this book. It plays with the idea of the Black Plague bringing the European population to extinction rather than “just” killing a third of us. This means that when the Mongols came to Europe, it was easy for them to claim the territory as their own. It is an alternative historic timeline and as a history geek I was so intrigued by the premise. I then borrowed it at the library and found out it was a quite thick book and I did not have enough time before my semester started to finish it. I will though, it is on my shelf and I plan to read it during my Christmas holiday.
  10. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
    Whenever people talk about Don Quixote as the first modern novel I cringe a bit because actually he was beaten by about 600 years by Murasaki Shikibu – or Lady Murasaki. It is the earliest work that we know of in which we are allowed to enter the thoughts of the characters. Earlier works made all characters utter their opinions and intentions through dialogue, but this one keeps them quiet in order for us to know what they think without their fellow characters know of it as well. I have this on my shelf because I plan on doing a series of articles about women as pioneers in literature, in which I will write about Murasaki, Mary Shelley and Emma Orczy and how they started literary tendencies and genres, meaning I will be reading this very soon.

Top Ten Tuesday is a post type that combines lists with the love of literature. It was started by The Broke and The Bookish and I learned about it from my friend Regitze over at Bookish Love Affair and I decided to join in on this trend. I know that I will not always be able to come up with ten answers so I will just refer to it as Top Tuesday.


2 thoughts on “TOP TUESDAY: Top 10 Most Intimidating Books

  1. I love this. I really want to read The Tale of Genji, but that is a very intimidation read. However, I will say that the Millenium Trilogy isn’t a regular crime story at all. The first one is, but even that has really great twists, and Lisbeth is an amazing character. But the next two books, from what I remember, are more thriller-like. It’s more about these huge webs of corruption and a lot of Lisbeth backstory. It’s been years since I read them though, but I don’t remember them being particularly like regular crime novels.

    Also, if you want to read a book that will REALLY make you want to read T.H. White then read “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald. It’s a great book in itself, but it has some great T.H. White stuff in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I plan on venturing into Tale of Genji when I am done with my HUM-fag exam on December 14. As for the rest I will probably read some of them next year as I am thinking of doing the thing you were mentioning on your blog: Setting my Goodreads challenge to 1 and then raise it every time I read a new one in order to not steer away from the bigger works out of fear that it will hinder me in reading other books.


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