Intimidating Books on my Bookshelf

I have a few intimidating books on my bookshelf and I can’t be the only one. Sometimes it can be the size of the tome, the genre, the author or specific concerns about a book or series. Today I thought I’d share the most intimidating books on my TBR pile with you.

An author I’d like to read but have been too intimidated to try: is Haruki Murakami. I just don’t know where to start and whether I’ll understand his magical realism.

A book I haven’t read because I’m worried I won’t enjoy it is: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. It’s the latest book in the Vampire Chronicles and while Anne Rice is a favourite author, I’m terrified I won’t enjoy this. I hated the previous book Prince Lestat (find out why here) and I’m worried in case this isn’t much better.

The classic I’m most intimidated to read is: Macbeth by William Shakespeare. It’s intimidating for obvious reasons, it’s a play and it’s Shakespeare!

A book I haven’t read because it’s kind of embarrassing: I have two books in this category. Perv by Jesse Bering and My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday. Less said the better?

The series I’m most intimidated to start is: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin. I love the TV series and I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up with the mammoth cast of characters and complex sub-plots in the books. The series is very long and currently comprises: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, The Winds of Winter (forthcoming) and A Dream of Spring (forthcoming).

A series I haven’t finished that haunts me is: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Stephen King is one of my favourite authors and I know The Dark Tower series is his ‘Opus’ but I just couldn’t get into it.  I read The Gunslinger (#1) and The Drawing of the Three (#2) but haven’t progressed any further; despite owning the entire series. I’m a completionist so this bothers me quite a bit.

The most intimidating book in my TBR pile is: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I have the Penguin Clothbound Edition and it comes in at more than 1200 pages which is intimidating enough as is. An adventure novel written in the 1840s it’s translated from French and I just haven’t picked it up yet.

What books do you find intimidating? Have you read any of the above? Let me know in the comments below.

A bookish family

I love reading! I find it difficult to imagine my life without books. Thankfully I married an avid reader and together we are well on the way to raising book-loving kids.

My wife, Kerri, has just finished reading The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. She’d been looking for fiction set in the Victorian period, and this series came highly recommended. The cover flash reads, “All the glitz of ‘The O.C.’ but with bigger frocks and more dashing boys.” She said it did indeed read like post-teen bitchiness slapped somewhat incongruously into a Victorian setting. And Kerri is an avid hobby historical costumier, so was disappointed by the lack of accurate detail with those ‘bigger frocks’.  At night, as we read in bed, I heard regular mumbles of exasperation: “You wouldn’t be doing THAT in a Victorian-era corset!” She’s not sure she’ll be reading the other three books in the series.

My almost eight-year-old daughter, Nykita, is currently working her way through some of the Magic Ballerina books. They are the dance equivalent of the Rainbow Magic fairy books. I’m happy that she’s enjoying them, but I really have no desire to read them myself. Recently, when she was unwell, I read her two of the Rainbow Magic books… and I’m still recovering.

But a couple of days ago she brought home a book from school — Onion Tears by Diana Kidd. Wow! What an amazing book. A beautifully written, poignantly told story. I loved every word. It was a challenging read for Nykita and it exposed her to things she had not considered before — boat people; children losing their families and having to change their lives; dealing with grief; and learning to leave the pain of the past behind and embrace life and future possibilities. She asked lots of questions and wanted to know more about boat people. It opened her mind. The power of a good book is an amazing thing.

My two-year-old, Lexi, is currently fascinated by WHIZZ! A Happy Bugs Sparkle Book, by Wendy McLean and Noeline Cassettari. It’s about various bugs having fun playing in a garden. It has lots of pictures with shiny, sparkly inlays. Lexi loves anything that is sparkly!

But what about the rest of my family?

Let’s start with my dad. He was born in France, and still reads a lot in French. His favourite author is Alexandre Dumas, and his favourite books are The d’Artagnan Romances. He has read them in both French and English, well over ten times. He claims that reading Dumas is like watching a movie because his descriptions are so vivid and easy to read. He’s just finished re-reading The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After. Next on his list is the third book in the series, The Vicomte of Bragelonne.

My mum has been reading lots of books about the golden days of Holloywood. After reading Richard Lauton’s A World of Movies — 70 Years of Film History, she moved on to Hollywood Portraits — Classic Scene Still 1929-41. This second book is a large format coffee table book laden with stunning portrait photographs. Photographer Mark A Vieira writes about each photograph, commenting on the movies for which they were taken and providing interesting anecdotes.

My brother, Andrew, is an accountant who works long hours and who has never been a huge reader. Mostly he reads newspapers and magazines. When he delves into books, it is usually non-fiction — Most recently, Richard Branson’s Autobiography, Losing My Virginity.

And his partner, Sophia, recently finished Out of Place by Jo Dutton. The book’s cover has a quote from Kate Grenville, saying “A fine book of women, landscapes and the tides of life”. Sophia adds: “It’s a great read. One you want to read cover to cover from the get go.”

And finally… what about me? I’ve just started Trudi Canavan’s The Novice, book 2 in The Black Magician trilogy. (If you want to know what I thought of the first book, check out my review.) As with the first book, this one has captivated me from the first line. I love Trudi’s characters and I can’t wait to find out what happens to them all. And if anyone else out there is a fan of Trudi’s writing, keep reading Literary Clutter because we’re got an interview with her coming up real soon.

And tune in next time for some self-promoting authors.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter… and tell me what you’re reading.