Top Ten Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and I decided to go through the list of previous topics from before I was participating and select one – and then I realised I can combine it with my Classics Club challenge.

My topic for today is: Top Ten Most Intimidating Books on My Classics Club List. These are all books that I’m silently bricking it over. Seriously… I’m going to need to have some serious hand holding to get through some of these!

I’m not going to go into too much detail about my thoughts of these books, because I’m going to be reading and reviewing each for the classics club – but here we go.

Anna Karenina – Tolstoy: This just scares the bejesus out of me. Seriously – I struggled with War and Peace enough, and the main thing I hear about Anna is that it is romantic. Which I struggle with.

Middlemarch – Eliot: This chunkster is one of those books that seems unnecessarily long. Luckily I’m participating in a readalong, so hopefully I actually get through this one in the next two months.

Moby Dick – Melville: 100 pages of unnecessary description? No thanks. I love all things nautical and boat related… but I’m not sure if I will be able to not skip through scenic and whalic description.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Hardy: I was meant to read this one in third year of my English degree, I read six pages and then picked up the closest, pulpiest novel to cleanse my palette. I put it on my classics club list as a challenge.

The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne: I’m currently reading this as my classics club spin, and although it is fun, I’m struggling to get through the wordage. It’s repetitive and strange, but hilarious.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Hugo: I didn’t even like the movie version of this one, but still added it to my list to be a bitch to myself. I’ll probably keep myself entertained by watching Hunchback clips from Whose Line is it Anyway?

Last of the Mohicans – Cooper: I only know two things about Last of the Mohicans, and that is that it is full of unnecessary description and it’s old. Not two of my favourite things.

The Three Musketeers – Dumas: See above two descriptions, they both apply here.

Ulysses – Joyce: I’ve loved Portrait and Dubliners. But I tried Ulysses and gave in after 50 pages. This shit is scary, and makes no sense. Also, I’m just pretending that Finnegan’s Wake was never written.

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Marquez: … most of my Goodreads friends hated it.


  1. I’ve only read Middlemarch and 100-years of solitude. Which I actually did enjoy and have it for a re-run somewhere this year… I’m eyeing the Classics Club, will see if I can spend some time on it over the holidays. Love the classics, but prefer them in audio books (you only listen with halve a ear at the boring parts LOL). I also went for the throw-back theme on TTT, I did Top Ten Book Quotes. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. Thanks Mareli! I’m currently 100p into Middlemarch and not finding it too daunting – and lots of people have mentioned 100 years of solitude, so I’m thinking I should read that one in the coming year or so. I envy your ability to listen to the classics, I really struggle to keep my focus on something that is purely auditory – I need visual stimulation to stay amused. 🙂

      If you’re not already a member of the Classics Club, I really recommend you look into it and consider signing up – it’s doubled my reading of the classics in the last two years. I’d advise starting with a modest list and being willing to swap books out if you later decide you really don’t want to tackle them. It’s also a really lovely bookish community.

  2. I have only read One Hundred Years of Solitude… Most of this list scares me, too! With the Marquez, my big issue was that all the names in the book were the same and I got confused. I honestly don’t remember much else. lol

    1. Kailana – the idea that most of the names are the same is terrifying. I recently hated a book and one of the main reasons was that both the main characters were called John! But I’ve heard lots of people say that the book is pretty good despite that, so I’m actually feeling a little better about it now.

      Thanks for dropping by! And sorry for shoving all these terrifying books in your face.

  3. Anna Karenina definitely focuses on the romantic story line a lot, and you can’t help but rail against the futility of it all by the end. It’s one book I wish I hadn’t ever read! The Three Musketeers is pretty good, though! I liked it better than The Count of Monte Cristo, anyway. As for Ulysses, I truly believe that anyone who says they like and/or even understand the book is completely full of crap.

    My TTT.

    1. “As for Ulysses, I truly believe that anyone who says they like and/or even understand the book is completely full of crap.”

      LOL! I once had a professor – who was teaching Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – say close to the same thing. He said he enjoyed it but didn’t understand it, and needed to read it over and over for a thesis.

      The Three Musketeers was the book that I hesitated adding to this list, but I needed numbers! Glad to know that you enjoyed it. Also, thanks for terrifying me more about Anna Karenina – I’m seriously thinking about swapping it out if I don’t like the first hundred pages. lol

    1. Thanks for dropping by! I’m really worried I’m going to hate Anna Karenina – it’s not my fav themes, but thanks for building it up a little for me – it definitely helps

  4. Wow, this is a great list. All of these can be a bit daunting. I *loved* Dumas’ ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ and I imagine that ‘Three Muskateers’ must be along the same lines — a surprisingly snarky adventure/romp. It might not be your favorite sort of book, but it might be the least intimidating book on here. I made it through Tess, too, but to be honest that one was a little bit of a struggle!

  5. I’ve read some of these, but have also hid from some as well. I’m just starting Middlemarch by George Eliot. I’ve been putting it off for too long! I’ll admit that Moby Dick is not on my list yet. I’ll put it on the next five year plan. I’ve been putting off Last of the Mohicans for twenty years since high school. I need to move it up my list and make sure I actually read it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Laura! Not sure if you know but a bunch of us are currently reading Middlemarch, you can find us mostly on Twitter, #eliotalong if you want to join in!

  6. I wouldn’t actually call Anna Karenina a romantic book, and Anna and Vronsky’s affair is only part of the whole story. One of the things that surprised me when I finally read it last year was that a large part of the book, possibly more than half, is taken up with another character (Levin) and his struggles to find his own way in life, contrasted with Anna’s path to doom. Tolstoy originally called the book “Two Marriages” and in some ways that is a better title. So, courage! I hope you do read it and find it less intimidating than you expect.

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