May 17, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Most Intimidating Books

Granted, the teen department is not rife with books that intimidate me. I love teen lit! There are a few, however, that give me the nervous sweats, for a variety of reasons, whenever I think I might read them. Have you read any of these? Do you have any words to share that would allay my intimidation?

10. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation book two: the Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson
M.T. Anderson is not one to dumb down his stories simply because his audience may be in their formative years. The weighty title of this book alone would be enough to turn away a browser looking for a light read. Still, I read and thoroughly enjoyed book one, The Pox Party, and looked forward to tackling the second. I felt, though, like the second story was getting away from me--like I wasn't up to the task of appreciating the depth and intricacy of the tale. So I set it aside with the full intention of picking it up again one day. Alas, that day has not yet come.

9. Death Note by Tsugumi Oba
Or any manga for that matter. I'm intrigued by the manga phenomenon but can't seem to wrap my head around the notion of reading what I perceive to be backwards. I tried with a couple of different manga titles but couldn't get past the first few pages. I've seen the live action film versions of Death Note and was fascinated by their stories. I'm afraid, however, that style aversion will get in the way of enjoyment of the original manga series.

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
My friend Sarah, whose opinion I greatly respect, has recommended this book to me on numerous occasions. She hasn't been the only one. Many people adore not only this book but the author's other works as well. I'm afraid that when I finally get around to reading it that it won't be as special a book to me and that I will have let Sarah and others down. Silly, I know. But it's a bit of an intimidation.

7. Getting Away With Murder: the True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe
Man's inhumanity to man is a horrifying thing to witness. The images of Emmett Till from the very excellent Eyes on the Prize documentary still haunt me even though it's been over 20 years since I've seen it. The intimidation here lies in the reluctance to revisit such naked hatred and cruelty. People need to know Emmett's story, though, and this will probably be the first one on the list that I'll overcome my reluctance to read.

6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
It's a requirement that everyone read this before dying, right? The thing is, I don't really like the way Dickens writes. And it seems like such a bloody long book (even though it really isn't). Perhaps audio book is the way to go here. Don't want to shirk my Dickensian duties forever.

5. An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones
This book taunts me from the shelves, reminding me how much there is that I still don't know and may never know. We don't stop learning new things until we die...maybe not even then, so I suppose I have plenty of time to take this book on. There is a patron who comes into the Library every day and is slowly working his way through the Encyclopedia Britannica. If he can do that, I can certainly pick up this one measly book.

4. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Written by one whom most people characterize as one of the worst villains in history, this book does have its place in historical scholarship. That doesn't mean I'm enthusiastic about reading it. Its weighty length notwithstanding, I don't know how eager I am to step into the mind of a man who was an architect of hatred and death.

3. This is All: the Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers
What sounds like a fascinating and lovely story has not been read by me simply because I'm intimidated by its large size. Sure, it contains letters, diary entries, poems and short stories which cut down on the actual page count aversion. It's still a big honking book though. Strange that would bother me considering I don't bat an eyelash at picking up and consuming Stephen King's behemoths Under the Dome, It, or The Stand. If you've read Chambers's book and loved it, please let me know!

2. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien's Middle-Earth stories are wonderful, but his writing style is not really my cup of tea. I was doubly intimidated by this particular book after an ex-boyfriend of mine (who is literally a genius) told me that it was "a bit of a mental jog," with its archaic language and hard-to-remember character names. This is not a ringing endorsement. It actually makes my brain shrink back in fear at the thought of ever picking the book up and giving it a try. Perhaps it's for die-hard Tolkien fans only?

1. Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce
Curse you, James Joyce! You burned my brain with Ulysses, making me reluctant to see which of your books was next on the 20th Century Literature class's list. Seeing that it was this one, and peeping at the first page, I ran away screaming in terror to immediately drop the class. Did that make me a coward? Yep. Have I managed to retain a bit of my sanity by avoiding your fever dream of a book? Absolutely!

So there you have it. There are some books in the teen department which intimidate your friendly Librarian Chick. After all, I'm only human. What books intimidate you?

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