Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week the amazing bloggers over there post a new Top Ten list on a different topic. The hosts are on a well-deserved break until August, and so in the meantime, I’ll be recycling some older themes. This week I’m going with the most intimidating books. Books I’m really interested in, but scared to pick up!
1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I LOVED Norweigan Wood, so I’m pretty sure I’ll like this one. And I like the idea of magical realism. But I also like clear answers. And one of my friends who has read it, keeps recommending other Murakami books before I start Kafka on the Shore. So it’s unclear when I’ll finally suck it up and start this one.
2. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. So technically this is more than one book. It’s seven books. (Plus The Wind Through the Keyhole which is apparently considered #4.5.) And while each book seems very manageable on its own, Stephen King considers the series one piece of fiction. And I feel like it would be a disservice to King’s masterpiece to read only part of The Dark Tower Series. So I’m not just committing to the 340 pages in The Gunslinger. And I would do the addition to tell you exactly how many pages I’m committing to, but the page count varies by edition, so it’s depends on the exact copy. But however you slice it, it’s still easily over FOUR THOUSAND pages.
3. Ulysses by James Joyce. I really enjoyed Joyce’s writing when I was forced to read some of his work back in high school. While it’s inarguably a little pretentious, I loved the evolving vocabulary and style in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I want to read more of Joyce, read more of his experiments with the stream-of-consciousness technique (which I also loved in Faulkner). But man. Ulysses is really intimidating. It is one of the most important works of fiction ever, representing an entire literary movement. It is long. It is full of allusions that I will almost certainly not get. And it’s maybe a bit more experimental than I can handle.
4. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. Speaking of.
5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I got this book back in June. As I mentioned in my Stacking the Shelves post, it’s SO LONG. I thought it was going to be quick and fun! The summary makes me think this book would be four hundred pages tops. But nope, it’s a THOUSAND PAGES. It’s really unclear to me why any book ever necessities a thousand pages. It’s just so extra. The only book I’ve ever read that long was Gone with the Wind and I think I only got through it because I had already seen the movie. I guess I would watch the Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell miniseries.
6. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski . One of my best friends highly recommended this book and loaned his copy to me. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for about four years now. (I know, I’m the worst.) And in my defense, I started reading it. But man, it’s creepy! I do most of my reading at night and I got scared! I know, I’m a wimp.
7. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. So the same best friend who loaned me House of Leaves LOVES this book. Infinite Jest is his favorite book of all time. He rereads it every other year. He quotes it. He thinks it’s beautiful. Will we still be friends if I don’t like it? Would I even be able to finish it? It’s so long! (You might notice a theme here around what types of books I find intimidating. I’m a slow reader. Long books are not my favorite.)
8. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. I really want to read this book. It looks adorable and touching, but man, it’s about a middle aged man who loves his elderly dog and you just KNOW what’s going to happen, and I’m scared my heart won’t be able to take it.
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. This book isn’t long, at least compared to some of the other books on this list so far. But it’s expansive. It covers a lot of time. Several generations of a family. And that combined with the magical realism which I always want to like but don’t always understand is what makes this book intimidating to me.
10. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I think I’ve mentioned this book once before on this blog. It’s supposed be amazing. And I know I’m being a little crazy. But Yaa Gyasi and I were freshmen in college together and I sat next to her in my seminar class on literary homages and I can’t believe someone I went to college with has already published an award winning novel. And I still haven’t finished the book I started writing in high school. I know I shouldn’t let that intimidate me but it does. It’s really intimidating.
But it’s okay. Nothing to do about it but write more 🙂
Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know! Would love to hear success stories to help me tackle any of these behemoths.