I am on vacation this week in Telluride, so nothing particularly fancy about this list. These are the books that intimidate me, which naturally means I gravitate towards them. I like books that challenge or discomfort me, it makes for more interesting reading.
As always, in no particular order (except no. 1 is really no. 1):
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The pressure I’m facing to love this is intense. My contrary nature usually prevents me from doing so; therefore I am waiting for my mind to be completely clear before I start reading (and until I need a good cry, because I’ve been assured that I will cry).
9. Drood by Dan Simmons. So much potential. With so much potential to be disappointing.
8. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I don’t think anything could surpass the miniseries, but I am willing to give this a try…eventually. That scene at the end when Richard Armitage is so surprised she stayed melts my heart every single time. I would be crushed if that were not in the novel.
7. King Rat, Tai Pan, and Shogun by James Clavell. I own these. The lengthy volumes sit on my shelf and mock me. They’re also supposed to be really good. I want to read and love these, I’m just too nervous to get started (and there’s a certain amount of time constraint).
6. Maldoror and Poems by Comte de Lautréamont. How odd can it be? Apparently very, very odd…
5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I can’t be the only one who feels that Dickens was prone to rambling. However, I am intrigued by this one.
4. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Because I feel like I should. But I also feel like I’m old enough to read for pleasure and the Russians generally don’t do it for me. My mind’s quite bleak enough without their influence.
3. The Passage by Justin Cronin. Simply the size and the fact that the sequel is already out makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. Owned and unread.
2. Cakes and Ale: or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard by W. Somerset Maugham. Where one of my favorite British authors mocks another of my favorite British authors… I’m generally not fond of personal mockery, I find it mean – don’t make me hate you W. Somerset Maugham.
1. 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. I’ve wanted to read this since I read a review that suggested a celebrity death match between this tome and Infinite Jest. To see the review, go here, it’s good fun.
So what intimidates you? Faulkner? Joyce? Or, like me, does the sheer length of Dickens make you shudder?