10 Books I’m Intimidated By (but may still read!)

10 Books I’m Intimidated By (but may still read!)

Happy Tuesday, friends! 👋🏻 This week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is a freebie, so I’ve decided to talk about which books I am most intimidated it.

I am not afraid to admit that certain kinds of books intimidate me, whether that is because of the length of the book, the content inside the book, or even how popular the book is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, but sometimes we do need to get out of our comfort zones and try out new things with our reading, so I may end up reading the books that scare me someday!

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

A GIF of the Futurama character Bender sobbing in fear and then saying "I'm scared!"

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Have you seen the size of this book? It’s huge! I am not used to reading gigantic YA books so this is one that I would have to take a steady pace with.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I have had this book sitting on my shelves for a very long time and it’s another huge book that I would have to take my time with. Plus, this is one of my mum’s favourite books so that puts the pressure on me.

A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – Another giant book! I loved A Darker Shade of Magic and the size of the books in the rest of the series are so intimidating that I don’t even have copies of them. When I do eventually get around to A Gathering of Shadows, I’ll have to reread ASDOM first, but that’s not a huge problem for me.

The Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien – I constantly go back and forth on whether I want to read this series or not because I tried reading The Hobbit when I was 14 and didn’t like it. Also, the fandom of this series can be very intense at times when it comes to “outsider” opinions, and then there’s also apparently the amount of nothing that goes on at times. High fantasy isn’t my favourite genre, especially when the lore is as dense as it is here, so I don’t know.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick – This is a shorter book but I’m still intimidated by it because Dick is considered to be one of the greats of sci-fi, and of course, that’s terrifying to me because there’s more pressure to enjoy something when the person who made it is held in such high regard. I may read this one in November for Sci-Fi Month but I don’t have a set TBR for then yet.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – This is a shorter book and also a classic, but the thing that intimidates me so much about this book is its subject matter. Reading a book about paedophilia from a child molester’s point of view makes me feel so uneasy, but knowing that Nabokov himself did not side with the protagonist makes me feel a little better because there are authors out there who would write about this subject matter while sympathising with the paedophile protagonist and projecting themselves onto them. (*cough*callmebyyourname*cough*)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I think this book is the shortest on this list, but that still doesn’t stop me from shaking in my boots every time I pick it up. One of my very good friends from university holds this series in very high regard so there’s pressure there, and it’s also a staple of British sci-fi.

Dune by Frank Herbert – I initially thought that this book was going to be a mighty tome but it’s actually more on the medium-length side. But from what I recall, this entire series is also heavy on the lore which comes with the space opera subgenre of sci-fi. At least I think this is a space opera. It certainly seems like one.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – If there has ever been a book to be scared of, it’s this one. Not only is this book gigantic, but it is also jam-packed with Ayn Rand’s personal philosophy, and if you enjoy it the most vicious of Rand’s detractors on Twitter will find you and kill you in your sleep. What a conundrum.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – It is no secret that this book is beloved by bookish netizens, and I know that I’m not alone in being intimidated by how much hype there is surrounding this entire series. How could I not be so scared?


talk to me!

What books are you intimidated by? What makes a book intimidating to you?


  1. July 28, 2020 / 8:45 am

    Great list! Illuminae is told entirely in emails, interviews and online messaging, so while it is a beast of a book it’s super quick to read. I’d love to try LotR one day, too, but the few times I have tried I haven’t been able to get into it!

    • Louise
      July 29, 2020 / 5:41 pm

      I didn’t know that about Illuminae! I was under the impression that it was a traditional novel.

  2. July 28, 2020 / 9:07 am

    Oh I know what you mean with Do Androids. I keep putting that off. Maybe for this years scifimonth!

    • Louise
      July 29, 2020 / 7:07 pm

      Hopefully we’ll both get to read this time time around 😊

  3. July 28, 2020 / 10:27 am

    Jane Eyre was amazing! I don’t mean to put any pressure on you to read it whatsoever, but I hope you love it! (There are lots of wonderful film adaptations of it, too, if that seems easier).

    My TTT .

    • Louise
      July 30, 2020 / 11:42 pm

      I definitely plan to read Jane Eyre, but I’m going to play it cool when I read it so that I don’t scare myself 🙂

  4. July 28, 2020 / 11:06 am

    I like how you say that these intimidate you but that you still want to read. Good for you! I’m reading one right now that has intimidated me for over forty years…War and Peace. I’m reading it very, very slowly, over the course of a year. I’m more than halfway through it. I think I will be able to finish it.

    I have a big author party going in Paris, after the pandemic, and I’d love to have you stop by and join in. All our favorite writers are there. Join us!

    • Louise
      July 30, 2020 / 11:44 pm

      I never say never with most books! Good luck with War and Peace, I think that one’s probably the most intimidating book ever written 😂

    • Louise
      July 30, 2020 / 11:56 pm

      I hope so too! It may be a while before I get to them though 🙂

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:00 am

      The thought of Dune definitely leaves me shaking a little 😂

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:02 am

      I’m glad you were able to get through Lord of the Rings 😀

  5. July 28, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    I adored Illuminae and A Gathering of Shadows and I hope you’ll enjoy them. I don’t know if I could withstand Atlas Shrugged after how much I hated The Fountainhead. Good luck!

    Lauren @ Always Me

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:04 am

      Oof, I think The Fountainhead would be one I would skip. It doesn’t sound like one I would enjoy very much.

  6. July 28, 2020 / 8:03 pm

    I agree with you on so many of these books. Jane Eyre, Illuminae, and Caravel would be on my list, too. I finally read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep last year, but I don’t think I really processed it. I’m going to need to try reading it again, it’s even intimidating to me after reading it once before 😀 Good luck with eventually getting to these books!

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:24 am

      Good luck with your reread! I’ll probably need a while to process it after reading it for the first time too 🙂

  7. July 28, 2020 / 9:26 pm

    Great list! I think hype is one of the big things that makes a book intimidating for me, if a lot of my friends love it I worry that I might be the one that hates it!

    I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve still not read The Hate U Give…

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:35 am

      The hype definitely makes a book intimidating; you end up more disappointed at the end if you don’t enjoy. I hope you do get to read The Hate U Give! 😀

  8. July 29, 2020 / 2:44 am

    If you read these, I hope you love them! Illuminae doesn’t have a traditional format, so it reads really fast. I think I finished it in a day or two. Atlas Shrugged took me 3 months to read, and I hated it. It’s so boring!

    • Louise
      July 31, 2020 / 12:41 am

      I think Atlas Shrugged is the only book I mentioned that is veering more onto the “absolutely not” side of intimidating. But knowing that Illuminae doesn’t have a traditional format makes me want to read that one more 😀

  9. July 31, 2020 / 7:30 am

    I love this post idea!! There are so many books that intimidate me for one reason or another – Jane Eyre is one of them, actually! So many classics make me nervous for a couple of reasons: their popularity and my fear that I won’t understand them.
    Also, I know a couple people have already mentioned this already but I will add myself to the group that says even though Illuminae looks huge, it goes by really fast and it’s not as long as it seems!

    • Louise
      August 5, 2020 / 4:04 am

      Classics are definitely intimidating! I used to be really interested in reading as many classics as I could, but I’m definitely a lot more intimidated by them now because of the popularity and the language.

  10. August 3, 2020 / 11:32 pm

    i’ve seen a few people say they’ve been intimidated by illuminae before! if it helps, it’s mixed media, so there are some pages that take like 10 seconds to read haha (i read it in 3 days, which is the amount of time i usually take to read a book with half its page length!). one book i’m super intimidated to read is the priory of the orange tree — it looks so good but it looks like a genuine brick 😭 hope you can get to all of these one day, louise!!

    • Louise
      August 5, 2020 / 4:01 am

      Knowing that about Illuminae definitely takes away a lot of that intimidation because I thought it was more of a traditional novel, haha. Ooh, The Priority of the Orange Tree looks like it would be a tough one, I hope you enjoy it if you do read it 🙂

  11. August 12, 2020 / 12:10 am

    I still haven’t read Illuminae either but it’s less that it intimidates me and more that it just doesn’t interest me… oops. I probably shouldn’t have bought all three books, haha. AGOS is quite chunky but you’d be surprised by how quickly the story goes because it’s quite fast paced, even compared to ADSOM. And plus it’s worth the read to get to ACOl which is the best book in the trilogy!!! I’m also a little scared of Caraval because I want to love it but hyped books have a checkered past with me XD

    • Louise
      August 24, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      Oh no, I hate when I buy a whole series and then realise I’m not interested in it 🙈 I did that with The Iron Fey and now I’m probably never going to read them. I’m pretty excited to get to AGOS, especially since I’m going to reread ADSOM first 😀

  12. August 14, 2020 / 9:46 am

    OH I am so intimidated by big books as well, I was so intimidated by A Gathering of Shadows, too, I think it helped that I read it as an ebook😂 I hope you’ll end up loving it though!
    And I was SO intimidated by Illuminae, as well, not as much by how big it is, because in the end, with the mixed-media and everything, it was a fast read, but…. well, by all the hype surrounding it. I ended up liking it though! 🙂
    Happy reading!

    • Louise
      August 24, 2020 / 3:41 pm

      Ebooks definitely do take a scare factor down a little for me, but I am planning to read A Gathering of Shadows in hardcover, so I’ve made life difficult for myself there 😂

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