April 27, 2010

What Books Are You Intimidated By?

The Book List is just a short and fun meme that allows you to share books and make a list of books! Who doesn't love lists?!?

This Week's Topic is:

Books That Intimidate You

Here is my list:

1. The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
I have actually read part of this ginormous 1200 page book, that is reputed to be the first novel ever written (it was written in the 11th century). However, I feel it is a book I am intimidated by because let's face it focusing on one book is not my strong suit- and this one is the chunkiest of the clunkers! Will I ever finish it? Maybe. I am going to try it again. One day. :)

2. Ulysses by James Joyce
Not only is it a 500 page clunker but it is also such a multi-level literary masterpiece. What if I don't understand it? I need the Ulysses Cliff's Notes.

3. All Russian Literature
Can I just throw an entire category of novels in here? I don't know why, but Russian Lit seems just over my head. I have attempted Crime & Punishment three times and The Brothers Karamazov once, and Anna Karenina once and I haven't been able to finish any of them. I can't keep the names of the people or places straight. I feel like I need an outline just to get past Chapter five of any of them!

So what about you? What books intimidate you? Have you ever attempted to read a book that intimidated you? What about the book intimidates you?
  • Write a post on your blog that is a list of 3 books pertaining to the topic above. It can be super short or long and windy. Choose your own M.O. :)
  • You may include photos with your lists, especially if that helps illustrate your point.
  • You link back to the week's post here on Lost in Books in your post so if someone else wants to play, they can find their way here.
  • Then you come here and leave your link in the Mr. Linky so other people can find your post and your list!
  • There is no obligation to post every single week. Participate when you can!
Sound fun? Join in!


  1. You have the best topics :) I'll have to really think about this one!

  2. Oy, Anna Karenina. I've always wanted to try that one again--I tried to cram it into two or three nights when I was in college. (Apparently, so did everyone else. I don't think anyone in the class read more than half.) What I remember most about trying to read it is that all the men seemed to be named some form of Alex.

  3. When I was young, between 11 and 14 years of age, I used to read a lot of intimidating books - Hawaii, Captains and Kings, War and Peace, Iberia, ....and on and on.

    The last intimidatingly long and involved book I read was Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel, along with Clan of the Cave Bear. I just can't bring myself to read any books like that now. Nothing to broaden my mind or to learn. It's all for fun now, Baby!:)

  4. I don't fault you for being afraid of Ulysses! Pretty much anything by James Joyce falls under that category for me.

  5. I'm half way through The Tale of Genji - reading it is such a chore, but I will get to the end eventually!

    I've read 70 pages of Ulysses and have given up for now. I hope to read it one day. I was a lot more intimidated before I started reading them, but now I know a bit about them they tend to frustrate me rather than scare me!

  6. Tale of Genji is a book that I plan on reading one day but it's not going to be for a very long time lol!

    I read Ulysses once and I will not read it again, I think I became officially dumber having read it :)

  7. Great list! I'd add War and Peace to it.

  8. I'm absolutely with you on the first two! I finally tackled Russian Literature last year and read Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment. They were both wonderful and eventually maybe I'll get through The Brothers Karamazov.

  9. I am both intimidated by, and do not enjoy, Russian literature. I've mostly sworn it off, though I keep promising myself I'll go back and try again some day.

    As for Joyce, you don't want to go getting too attached to Joyce, because his grandson, the sole executor of his literary estate, is crazy in the head and is always threatening to destroy Joyce's letters and things. Think how much sadder fans of Ulysses will be when that happens, than sensible people like you and me who have never been able to get through it.

  10. I have never even tried to read Ulysses. I did read A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man and hated it.
    Even the title seemed pretentious.
    Ulysses sounds like such an interesting book...but I'll have to borrow your Cliff Notes.

  11. I too am intimidated by Ulysses and Russian Literature!

  12. Ulysses is not for everyone. But some of his short stories are dear to my heart. They say something of how I feel better than anything else I've ever read. So many times in my life the only way to say what's going on in my head is to say that I'm feeling like the little boy at the end of the story Araby.

  13. This is another good topic! I'm very easily intimidated, so I'll probably be able to come up with something for this one.

    And I second all your choices--Russian Lit is scary!

  14. I also loved this topic, I've been wanting to participate in the meme and know that I am blogging again I get the chance. :)
    I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't even heard of The Tale of Genji but I can certainly agree it would be intimidating!

  15. I don't think I'm intimidated by Russian Lit though I have been avoiding it. I'm definitely intimated by William Gibson and Michael Chabon.

  16. Oh I definitely agree about Russian Lit. The little I've read--excerpts and whatnot--is depressing enough. Even their fairy tales are depressing. It must be all that cold weather.

    I read Ulysses when I was a kid, it was on the bookshelf and I had nothing else to read, but I read it because I needed something to read. I couldn't discuss it or even remember most of it.

    I read The Tale of Genji but over the course of about ten years. The bookstore by my old house would get int these smaller chaplet books (about 100 pages) done by a local translator--real simple binding and all--and would be about $4. I'd buy it and wait for the next one to come out in about 10 months or so. I could never read it all the way through in one shot.

  17. Ulysses would be at the top of my list! ;-)


  18. These are pretty darn intimidating. I'm going to attempt The Brothers Karamazov at some point ... but I am intimidated. I'm also intimidated by Virginia Woolf ... but I'm going to try Mrs. Dalloway. I don't think I would attempt "Ulysses." Better readers than me haven't been able to make it through.

  19. Ooohhh, this is a good topic! I'm going to have to think about this one to narrow it down!! :)

  20. Well - I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone this year and tackled War & Peace with another blogger. I loved it. For anyone too afraid to try it themselves - they can read our summaries, which are shorter and in plain English with a sense of humor:

    War, What Is It Good For?

    I am more uncomfortable with prose that I feel is above my head - like Virginia Woolf? Tolstoy is very down to Earth.

    So I try to read a handful of classics every year to see what all the fuss is about, learn something and usually I discover that they are famous for a reason - they're very good stories.

  21. I finally got to this! Ulysses is on my list as well.


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