I like to think that I’ll read anything. The reality is that I get intimidated very, very easily. Are you ever in a bookshop and you come across a book that is so thick that you look at it and just immediately go ‘nope‘? I do that quite a lot. You know what I mean, those books that look like they could kick your ass because they’re so intimidating. Actually, it’s not just really long books, it’s books by certain authors, books that have very intense fandoms, or even books of particular acclaim (either critical or academic, both are pretty scary) that make me fear for my poor average brain. Okay, my brain’s not that average, I get pretty good grades and am a pretty good reader, if I do say so myself.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Everything about this series intimidates me: the genre, the length of all of them put together, the critical acclaim, the movies, and the fandom. Especially the fandom. Any fandom that includes people who have taught themselves a fictional language is one that will intimidate me (apart from Trekkies, though. I left that fandom for a different reason.). And the lore: oh, God there’s so much lore here just thinking about it makes my brain hurt. Oh, and there’s also the fact that I DNFd The Hobbit when I was in school, so that kinda put me off for quite a long time.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman – The only book by Neil Gaiman that I own is Stardust (which I watched the movie of quite recently) and I purposely picked it because of how short it is. No, really. I’ve been wanting to read American Gods for a really long time, but the sheer length of it terrifies me. As in, cold sweats kind of terror. I’m not a fast reader so I’d be reading it for forever.
It by Stephen King – I want you to take a guess at how long this book is. Go on, take a stab at it. If you said over 1100 pages, you’re correct. Obviously it varies depending on what edition you’re reading, but yeah. That is ridiculously long. Stephen King can be pretty intimidating anyway (fun fact: I own two of his books and I still have yet to finish both of them), but just looking at It could make any beginner reader quake in their boots.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – From what I’ve seen, reviews for this have been quite mixed, and for some reason I’m always more wary of things that have received mixed reviews rather than mostly negative or mostly positive. I can’t really explain why, but I guess it’s because I can’t really get a clear answer for what people think. Also, this book looks huge when in hardback. But then again, every book looks huge as a hardback.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I don’t think I need to explain myself on this one (1440 pages).
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – Or this one. I have this on my Kindle and the progress bar goes all the way across the screen (1232 pages). Yikes.
Pretty much anything by Bret Easton Ellis – I’ve only read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and while it’s a pretty good book, it kinda put me off reading any more of his works if they were anything like American Psycho (which is incredibly violent and has clothing descriptions that would make bad fanfiction writers boil over with envy). Also, apparently he’s not a very pleasant human being so that kind of puts me off even more.
H.P. Lovecraft’s work – My cousin (who is much, much braver than I am) has read Necronomicon (the collection of stories, not the actual grimoire) and said that he’s one of the scariest things he’s ever read. I, on the other hand, am a total baby and don’t fare well with scary (when I watched Alien for the first time, I couldn’t sleep because I though there was a Xenomorph chilling out on my bookshelves. No, really), so until I feel brave enough, I’m going to cower away from Lovecraft.
Edgar Allan Poe’s work – Poe is probably the least intimidating author that I’ve mentioned here, but the popularity surrounding his work is what intimidates me. Also, I’ve only read (or watched, really) The Raven, and I don’t do very well with poetry.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – Another one with over 1000 pages. And it features Rand’s own personal philosophy that I don’t fully understand. I’ve actually been considering reading this one, believe it or not.
Ulysses by James Joyce – I had to read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man for my first year of university, and I absolutely hated it. I’m really glad that I won’t have to study any more of his work, partly because I don’t want to touch his stuff ever again, and Ulysses looks terrifying. I’d still be reading it by graduation. Nope.
Paradise Lost by John Milton – I know that this is a poem, but it’s long af so it classifies as a book. I know plenty of elements of Paradise Lost, thanks to it being references in almost everything before 1900, but looking at it makes me sweat.
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke – This is a book of a movie (I think, it was written while the movie was being made), and the movie kinda intimidates me too, so it’s going here. It’s kinda weird though, because I’m not usually intimidated by sci-fi…
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – High fantasy is really not my thing, and my parents watch the Game of Thrones TV show, so when they’re trying to describe the lore and all of those kinds of things, my brain kinda turns off. Also, these books are huge.
And finally, just to show that I may not be as big of a wuss as I make myself out to be, here’s a picture of the biggest book I own: