Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic:
JANUARY 29TH – Top 5 intimidating books
I chose to go with books still on my TBR that I’m a bit afraid to start because of the commitment they require. (I may have included six books instead of five because I couldn’t decide, but shhhh!)
Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erickson: Adult fantasy is always a little intimidating, but none more so than this book in particular. It’s not especially long – for adult fantasy 666 clocks in at just shy of average – but it’s ridiculously dense. I think I read the first chapter a few years ago and had to put it down because it was just too much. It’s also the first of TEN books, all of equal or longer lengths. It’s a time commitment and one hell of an investment. Not to mention that I’ve heard a lot of people say that it takes a long time to really understand what’s going on; the author just sort of tosses you in and you’re left to fend for yourself. But I’ve heard so many great things about this series that I really want to give it a shot, at least.
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe: This is THE Gothic novel, but classics are always such a hit or miss for me that I’m afraid to take on such a huge tome when I might end up struggling with it. In general I think I like Gothic novels (lmao I think I’ve read all of two), but not only is this one long and dense, it’s super old (published in 1794), so I’m also up against outdated language that may make the reading process much slower than it otherwise would be.
Middlemarch by George Eliot: I’ve heard such great things about this book from people I respect, but again, it’s a hit or miss classic, and it clocks in at a whopping 900 pages! It’s written a bit more recently than Udolpho, in 1871, and I’m actually a tiny bit obsessed with the 19th century, but this is still a super intimidating read for me. It’s one of those books people read in high school or English Lit classes and hate, you know? So I don’t know. I want to try it someday though!
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: So many of my friends on here have read this book and loved it, and it’s definitely subject matter that is interesting to me (Korea and Japan in early 20th century), but it’s also the type of book I normally go out of my way to avoid. Omniscient narration of a family saga? Ordinarily I wouldn’t touch it, but my friends think so highly of it I think I have to at least give it a shot.
In the Eye of the Sun by Ahdaf Soueif: So, Ahdaf Soueif is a really prolific and prestigious Egyptian author who is known for incisive commentary on gender and politics. This book is supposed to be one of her truly great ones, a chronicle of the life of a young Egyptian woman. I’m always looking to read more literature that directly relates to my heritage, but again, I’m usually not into this type of novel. I may enjoy all the references to my own years in Egypt and my own culture, but it’s very likely I will struggle through what sounds like a character driven novel.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: This book is so weird. I don’t think I even understand what it’s about, only that it has something to do with Dracula. I still remember when this book was first published, how frenzied publishing houses were and how much praise was heaped on it. It also involves old libraries and international travel and rare archives and things that make me shiver in delight! And of course, Dracula! The summary just make it sound so creepy and fascinating, but I’m worried that I’m completely misunderstanding what this book is about and I will end up super disappointed.
Have y’all read any of these books? What were your experiences? Let me know!