5 books that I’m too intimidated to try reading

There are some books out there in the literary world that I’m drawn to but completely afraid to try. Sometimes it’s a fear that I won’t be able to understand the author’s intended message, or that I’ll be bored to tears because I don’t get it, or because there’s so much hype around a book that I don’t get. So here’s me fessing up to the books that I’m just too intimidated to try reading…

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I feel like this is a book that I really should read at some point. It calls to me out from the many classics that are out there, but it’s so darned big and I haven’t been successful in reading any Russian authors yet.

Synopsis: This epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – People constantly tell me that this is one of their favourite books of all time, but there’s no way I’m ever going to read this book. It’s so big, and the hype around it is too much for me.

Synopsis: Narrated by an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter a hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- I’ve actually read the sequel to this book called ‘Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. It was much shorter and I may have even read an abridged version because I recall it being in one of those leather bound Readers Digest books that my parents used to collect. The original book is really big, and I know the story thanks to the movie and pop culture, so I feel like I don’t necessarily need to read this one even though it’s something I might actually enjoy.

Synopsis: Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives. In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez – This book isn’t all that long, but there’s something about it that makes me afraid to even try to read it. Maybe it’s because there it references 100 years in the title and I can’t even imagine reading about that long a time period. 😛

Synopsis: The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – And finally, to wrap up this list of mostly super giant novels, we have Ayn Rand. Some day I might tackle this one… or maybe The Fountainhead. I really just want to see what the hype is all about.

Synopsis: Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

Do you like 5 Books Friday? If you want to participate, here’s a list of the upcoming topics that I’ll be writing about! Leave a link to your post in the comments, and if enough people join I can make this a real linkup!


5 thoughts on “5 books that I’m too intimidated to try reading

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      1. I think I tried three or four translations before I found one I could get through. It’s the book that made me appreciate the value of a good translator as it went from being boring/unreadable to engrossing. Unfortunately, I can’t find my copy right now or recall the translator’s name… It’s still the only Tolstoy I’ve ever finished or enjoyed.


  1. 100 Years of Solitude is great and has beautiful writing. Maybe you should take a peek at a few pages and see if that tricks you into reading the whole thing.


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