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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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My Office Book Club

In June my company decided to relocate our offices into downtown Salt Lake City. As a result I got sweet new digs such as a new desk, fancy cubicle, a new desk chair, etc. Also as a result of the move the people I am sitting by on a daily basis are much different from before. At the old office it was simply myself and my good friend Matt sitting in our adjoined cubicles sort of tucked into a back corner all by ourselves. At the new downtown location the cubicles are much more open and Matt changed jobs, so he no longer sits next to me.

The end result of all that change is that I now sit right next to the internal development team and when they hired a new user experience guru he was assigned to sit in the seat next to mine. As it turns out, we both are big on reading and happen to like a fair amount of the same type of books. Clearly we hit it off in that regard.

Shortly after that, Mike, the head of internal development began to join in on our book discussions from time to time and the book club was born. We’ve read a handful of novels over the past few months and have talked about them fairly extensively. We don’t have any sort of formal meeting process, mostly we just start talking about the books when the moment strikes us. Although sometimes we head to the local Barbacoa for ┬ámore structured discussion.

Books we’ve read so far as part of our group:

We recently added another member to our little group of book club folks, Brad, another of the internal development programmers. Now we stand at 4 members in total and I like to think we’ve had some pretty good discussions. Mike doesn’t like much of what the other three of us pick to read though, but that’s alright, he fits into his own category when it comes to what he likes. As he likes to say, “I’m really not ever going to be anyone’s target audience.”

So, the four of us recently came up with a list of 12 books to read for 2013, one per month or so, with selections from each of us for the most part. Here’s the list as it currently stands (although it is subject to random and unannounced change):

Obviously looking at that list we’ve got a pretty good mix of books. There is some science fiction, hard science fiction, horror, mystery, non-fiction, a biography, and a little bit of other stuff too. I think it’s going to be fun to see what the four of us have to say about these books as we make our way through the list.

I like having this small group of friends at the office with which to discuss books. Each of us comes at reading with a very different approach and it means that no book seems to be quite the right fit for all four of us at the same time. Needless to say, that makes the discussions about the book incredibly dynamic and exciting.