Top 10 Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

There really aren’t many books that I classify as “intimidating” when it comes to reading them because after you’ve read a few 1,200 page books length doesn’t really scare you much anymore. To be honest, classic books are more intimidating to me than anything else because I often just don’t get why everyone else finds them so good.

Here’s my list of intimidating books I have yet to read.


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
People talk about this book all the time when the topic of classics you “must read” comes up. I’ve never read it and despite thinking Dickens is a decent enough author I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not going to like it as much as everyone else.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Just like A Tale of Two Cities, this is a book everyone says book readers should read, and I just need to buckle down and do it so I can say I’ve done it. Then perhaps I’ll be able to speak more intelligently about classic literature to some extent.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
This is a classic book that I’m almost certainly going to enjoy. I love the story, I’ve watched the movies about a billion times, and I love every other television show or movie based off the same concept. It’s long though, very, very long. Also, I know the language style is going to be a bit rough for me to get through which is why I keep putting it off instead of picking it up.


Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
This is the first book in a really, really long series which is why I’m scared to pick it up. I have in my mind that if I read this book I need to be prepared to read all the rest of them immediately after and that is a huge time investment.

The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Oddly, I just read this book last week, but I’m still going to include it on the list. Lots of friends have told me this book would determine if I was going to like Stephen King or not and that is a lot of pressure to put on reading one 300 page novel. Not to mention it also is the start of a pretty long and involved series.

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
I am a bit of a closet hard science fiction fan and this is supposedly considered one of the best hard science fiction books you can read. I’ve seen it in bookstores and on bookshelves at friends homes for year and have always wanted to read it but just can’t seem to find the gumption to pick it up and do it. I think I might have built up in my mind how good it could be to a point where it won’t be anything other than disappointing when I do read it.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
I’ve held this one in my hands at least a hundred times at local bookstores. As a teenager I wanted so badly to read this book but never bought it because there was always another book I wanted more. Years and years later I still haven’t read it but I keep on looking.


Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is a classic that just seems a bit larger than life for someone like me. It’s supposed to be this great book, but what if I don’t like it? Will my nerd card be taken away and never given back? Will my friends who think it’s the best book ever written shun me forever as a result?

1984 by George Orwell
I just need to read this. It isn’t that long, and it’s sort of a rite of passage for a science fiction fan to be honest. I don’t really know why I haven’t read it yet.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I’ve heard great and terrifying things about this book which makes me want to read it but it got so much great press over the years that I worry I won’t appreciate it the way it was intended to be appreciated because I enjoy things on a surface level so much rather than a deeper philosophical level.


6 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

  1. I have read the first three and the last three. Of those six, I would recommend ‘Great Expectations’ first and then tackle ‘Dune’ and the rest of the series :-).

  2. I’ve never made it through DUNE in spite of multiple tries. It’s pretty much off my to read list now!

    I do have to say – as a huge King fan – I wouldn’t say that GUNSLINGER will determine whether you like his work. It’s actually my least favorite of that particular series! I love his range but that one is very western and (in my opinion) pretty different from the rest of the series as well as the rest of his work. The series is completely amazing though and I highly recommend it. I tackled it after book four was released and had to wait ages for the last three. At least they’re all out now!

  3. “Will my nerd card be taken away and never given back?” OMG you had me rolling on the floor. Not literally, but almost.
    I haven’t read any Dickens or Orwell yet. I feel guilty, and quite some intimidated.

  4. A suggestive list – I could add several titles. It’s an important point that ‘intimidating’ is not necessarily to do with page count so much as reputation and expected enjoyment. I have tended to avoid Dickens on that basis as well.

    You should read Snow Crash, though. Compared to Cryptonomicon, it’s a pamphlet. It’s also pretty funny.

    NO excuses for 1984! 🙂

  5. Okay, Flan — I’m chiming in! Do not be intimidated by A Tale of Two Cities. I read it in 10th grade, and totally got it, and totally loved it. It’s a great story set in French Revolution times. Do you like The Scarlet Pimpernel?? Trust me — this one is fun and makes sense. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” I think you’ll like it more than Gatsby. 🙂

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