Top Ten Tuesday: In Which I’m a Wuss About Big Long Books

the broke and the bookish

Alright you guys, I’m typing this Monday night and I’m a leeeeeetle sleepy, so this may not be 100% coherent. If you’re reading this, it’s Tuesday! And that means Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the folks over at The Broke and The Bookish, and it means there’s a topic for us to discuss. This week it’s Top Ten Most Intimidating Books. As you’re about to see, apparently big long classics are the books that I find a bit intimidating.




Big Scary Books. And Gabby rubbing her face all over them on the side there.

1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – This is one of the shorter books on my list, but it’s so old and it’s SUCH a major classic about racism and slavery and I somehow haven’t gotten to it yet. And now whenever I’m about to start it, it’s like I’ve built it up so much in my head that I’m a little afraid to start it because what it I don’t like it? That would suck.

2. Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo – Do you even see how giant this goddamn book is?

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – For some reason I feel like Leo Tolstoy is this scary classic Russian author that I am going to have the hardest time understanding. I just really started reading classics like 5 years ago, and you’d think that by now I wouldn’t be such a wuss about it, but I’m still worried that a big long classic will be too complex or boring for me to stick with reading.

4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Okay just the size of this one punks me a bit, but I am SO going to read this, hopefully this year. I mean I watched the newest movie/musical so at least now I know the basics.

5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Once again, it’s huuuuuuuuuuuge and it’s such a major classics and I’ll be a little bummed if I end up hating it, because SO many people love the beejezus out of it.

6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – I actually read 1/4 of this, but then started to get a little bored with it and haven’t gone back to it. And that was over a year ago, so when I do eventually start it again I’m going to have to start alllllll over. Dammit.

7. The Quantum World by Kenneth Ford – Okay this book isn’t big, but I’m more intimidated by it because it’s about quantum physics. Which is stupid because I’ve read a lot on the topic now, but this one seems a bit more technical and there’s even homework-ish questions at the end of each chapter, which is awesome, but what if I suddenly don’t understand any of it? Why am I worried that this book would be too smart for me? I’m kind of waiting until I can devote a lot of time to reading it through and taking notes and answering the questions, and I’ll have to contact the author or the college he worked at to get the answer key at some point, cause I’m going to want to know if I’m learning shit correctly.

8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Remember what I said about Tolstoy above? Well here he is again. Seriously, this is the first book I think of when I think of big scary books, I don’t know why. It’s like my book-Everest.

9. The Arabian Nights – I want to read this awesome collection of stories, but it’s sooooo big and short stories aren’t always my jam even when they have a common thread. I’ll get to it eventually…

10. The Illiad & The Odyssey – I would be proud of myself if I was ever able to read these epic Greek poems in their entirety, but daaaaaaaammmnnn. They’re SO long and SO wordy…



So there we have it! For stupid reasons that make no sense, the books that punk me the most are big giant old books. What are you intimidated (but determined to maybe eventually) read?







  1. Ugh, I’m scared of huge classics as well… I remember reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a kid, but it’s been so long that I think it deserves a re-read. Some of the events were pretty scarring for me as a kid, I think it’s the first book I read that had a character in it that I truly hated.
    Also: Leo Tolstoy IS a scary Russian author that you will have a hard time understanding. I read Anna Karenina and my opinion hasn’t changed after…


  2. Your intimidating book list looks a lot like what mine would look like if I compiled one.

    I did try War and Peace sometime back, and it’s full of so many characters and so many Russian names, who also have nicknames. Bah! It was impossible.


  3. Book Everest, ha ha, love that! War and Peace…eeeek! I’m with you, thinking about reading that makes me sweaty nervous.

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin and GWTW are both GREAT books. I re-read GWTW last year and loved it more than the first time. I haven’t read Tom’s in a zillion years but I’d really like to do so again.

    I’m determined to get to Les Mis this summer. We should do a readalong. Nothing scheduled or official but just hey, let’s do this thang! Maybe?


  4. You know how I’m a terrible liar right? So I wouldn’t steer you wrong? I got sucked the frick into Gone With the Wind- I didn’t notice the length at all. I just kept wanting to give Scarlett a good smacking. Loved it. Les Mis, I DID notice the length. However. Being familiar with the musical helped me a lot- I had a good idea of where the story was heading and got extra background on characters I was already invested in. It was great. Anna Karenina made me fall asleep a lot, which I’m ashamed to admit. It was a really good story, but like, I think my brain got overwhelmed with Russian politics and shut down. Whenever someone complains about insomnia on Facebook I’m all, “Have you tried Tolstoy yet?”


    1. I’m going to suffer through Tolstoy, I just know it.

      UGH I hope that I like GWTW because it’s such a huge freaking classic and then I could watch the movie and I would LOVE to be able to quote the movie and feel cool about it. But a lot of people talk about how annoying Scarlett is, so I’m reluctant about there. But I also like annoying characters sometimes (like Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma) soooooo maybe I’ll love her!


  5. I totally understand being intimidated by long books. I mean, that is a long time to spend with one story and what if it’s lame? Especially if it gets lame halfway through and you’ve already read 500 pages and what the hell? You’re just going to give that up? Too far to turn back and still so long to go.


  6. Yes big books are scary! They make my weakling arms hurt. Anna Karenina is quite good, even if I did sort of skim some of the farmy/political heavy bits. I keep giving the library’s copy of War and Peace the side eye, but I haven’t got time for it right now as I want to read more of the Newsflesh trilogy!


  7. Strangely, I didn’t use to be afraid of big books (either by fame or by volume), but I’ve become so in recent years, especially if both are combined. I still have to read 6 of those you mention.

    However, I think I was still in elementary school, 13 or 14, way before the ‘appropriate’ age for such a book (but then, I always read ahead of my age) when I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I cried a lot and I loved it and I have reread it a few times since then (with a better/different understanding as I matured, of course, but still.)


    1. I wish I had read Uncle Tom’s Cabin back then! I feel like I had a little more patience for longer books back then. I blame us being in the internet/blogging age! I love blogging, but spending weeks at a time on one book makes for a boring blog, so I kind of put off the bigger books.


  8. Sarahhhhh- Gone With The Wind and Anna Karenina are my FAVOURITES!! They are awesome and I insist you read them right now! Also Les Miserables… NOT my favourite, but I still liked it plenty, you just have to feel free to skip big chunks. It’s ok.

    I started reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin once and then stopped because it was SO BAD (in a few ways!) I mean, I might try to read it again one day, but… I don’t really want to? (This is so not helping with its intimidatingness, is it? Shit!)


    1. I will attempt to read them, I promise! Although I’m dreading what will happen if I read them and don’t like them… I’ll never be able to show my blog-y face around you again!

      Waaaiiit was UTC bad writing, or bad like “OMG white people sucked for what they did to slaves” kind of bad? Cause bad writing I can’t handle, but bad subject matter makes for a GOOD book, even if it sickens you.


  9. I can’t believe I forgot to put The Arabian Nights on my list. That one scares me. I will say that GWTW is just as good as people say. I’m rereading it right now and I can’t put it down!


  10. I’ve read Anna Karenina and Gone With the Wind; I think Gone With the Wind is one of those books where the size doesn’t really matter at all. I read it at quite young age and I remember just plowing through the book very fast – it’s smoothly written and can keep your attention. Anna K is a bit more complicated (all those Russian names that can be confusing if you are not used to them – luckily I am due to the history of my home country) and overall Tolstoy tends to wander off to philosophical landscapes that have little to do with the direct plot, but – it’s such a good book.

    I remember I did speed read Don Q while in uni because we had to, and without great motivation this one can be tough to tackle… I’m not sure if I will attempt re-read.

    Interesting that you list The Arabian Nights, I think this one would intimidate me, too.


    1. I’m glad so many people say that GWTW is an easy read and you don’t notice the length much.

      Don Quixote just started to get a bit repetitive for me by 1/4 of the way through it, and I think that’s why I got bored and set it aside. But I did like what I had read so far, so I really should give it another go.


  11. The Odyssey is one my favourites. Of ALL TIME! It’s wordy and long but so good and such an achievement to read. A couple of months ago I would have practically high-fived you at your Leo comment but since starting AK I am considerably less intimidated by him. In fact, I am actually loving him. But all the others on your list just look terrifying.


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