I was musing on bookish topics to write about today, and decided to go see what other clever people have come up with! By which I mean that I went to look at the list of past Top Ten Tuesday topics on The Broke and the Bookish. Bringing me today’s topic…my personal list of most intimidating books!
I have already conquered…
1) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – In page count, this is the longest book I’ve ever read (though I would imagine that it runs neck-and-neck with Les Mis, depending on the edition). I managed to read it when I was about twelve or so. It was my second attempt on the book, and when I began again I thought I’d just try to read farther than I had before…and then, having already seen and loved the movie, I thought I’d just try to read to this plot point, or that plot point…and I got to the end that way! Now I’ve been meaning to reread it for quite a while…
2) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Technically I skipped the parts that wandered off into historical background–but I read most of it. It’s just that when Hugo is good, he’s very good–but then other times he wants to spend thirty pages on the history of Parisian sewers.
3) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien – I attempted Fellowship twice, never got farther than Tom Bombadil, and spent the following ten years convinced these were impossible to wade through. I finally read them during my Chunkster Challenge last year, and found out they weren’t nearly as slow or dense as I feared. Although I do think it helped watching Jackson’s trilogy, so at least I knew where we were going all the time.
4) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – This was an assigned book the summer before I went into freshman year of high school. They assigned the same summer books to all the grades, and because I was an incoming freshman I was both too young for the book, and unaware that it didn’t really matter if we read the assigned reading! Unlike the previous three on the list, this one was not worth the effort…and among my high school friends, we still speak of it with dread!
I may read some day…
5) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This is probably just silly, because after all, it’s a fantasy and I have no reason to expect the writing to be especially difficult. It’s just so thick though! And I made the mistake of getting it from the library during a particularly intense semester at college, returned it unread, and that set up bad resonances around the title for me.
6) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon – A massive, multi-volume history text, this is far outside my normal reading. But I do like Roman history quite a bit, and L. M. Montgomery read it twice and commented very favorably in her journal and…well, for me, that feels rather like having a very close, very well-read friend recommend something.
7) Vanity Fair by W. M. Thackeray – This is one of the Big Classics I don’t have a burning desire to read, but I would like to have read. There are lots of Classics I’m comfortable not reading, but this particular one L. M. Montgomery especially liked, and…see above.
8) A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill – Another multi-volume history text…but I enjoy British history immensely, and there are few historical figures I like better than Winston Churchill. And while I’ve never read any of his history writing, he wrote the loveliest letters to his wife! I read a collection of their letters and…yeah, his history books are probably not remotely the same thing. 🙂
So much for my book confessions! What intimidating books have you successfully overcome? Do you have any you still may attempt one day?