Follow Curiosity Killed the Bookworm on
Subscribe via Email

Join 3,311 other subscribers

By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.


Top Ten Most Intimidating Books
List, Top Ten

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

A.K.A. Fear of Bricks

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m going to keep this list to TBR lurkers. It’s mostly size that intimidates me *insert immature giggling here*…knowing that I could read three other books in the same amount of time makes me nervous. But I have managed to cross off A Game of Thrones from list of long books I want-to-read-but-can’t-bring-myself-to-make-the-commitment so there might be hope still for these…

#10 Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
OK I actually have read one of the Gormenghast books, but I have the trilogy in one book and it’s massive and not the easiest prose to read. I still sort of love it enough to want to read the rest but it’s been a long time since I picked it up.

#9 Shooting Victoria by Paul Thomas Murphy
I requested this for review because I loved the sound of it and yay for interesting non-fiction books, but when it arrived, it was huge. I do really want to read it and I may have to tackle it in bitesize chunks.

#8 Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
I have a sense that this is hard-going. It’s probably the book on this list most likely to get ditched.

#7 The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Another non-fiction book that peaked my interest until I ended up with a giant hardback. The paperback looks a more manageable size though, so maybe the hardback is just trying to scare me with its scale. Maybe I should stop buying hardbacks sight unseen…

#6 The Passage by Justin Cronin
It’s a brick and enough people have told me it doesn’t need all those pages. I am waiting for an abridged version (only joking).

#5 The Iliad by Homer
I started a prose version of this in a readalong but I got behind after the first few weeks and gave up. I love the stories contained within the pages of Homer but I haven’t found a translation that makes me want to read all of it.

#4 Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
This one’s not on the list for length but just that I know it will be harrowing and I will have to psyche myself up to read it.

#3 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Another one I wanted to read until it turned up and I saw the size of it. I think all the awards are starting to put me off too now.

#2 Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
All his books fall under this category, but I want to read some of them.

#1 The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I feel Hannah will judge me for not reading this πŸ˜‰ To add to the problem, the text in my edition is TINY.

I’m pretty sure there are plenty of other books in the world that are intimidating but I don’t want to read them (eg. Ulysses by James Joyce). So, are these books worth the effort? Or are they secretly quite easy?

Related posts


  1. Birgit

    Yep, tomes like these are the reason why I came up with the Tea & Books Reading Challenge, otherwise those chunksters would never get read. And oh by the way, I did read "The Passage" (the unabridged version obviously) for the challenge last year. But (and there is always a but) somehow I never have any luck (at all) with tomes for the dreaded challenge … basically they were all a let down for one reason or another and yes, too many words don't help especially when the plot is dragging (which seems to me a necessary ingredient in such tomes).

    1. Ellie

      That does seem to be a major problem with tomes. If I'm going to read that many pages, I want every one to be captivating!

  2. Ciska

    Oww the Name of the Wind…. I can imagine though if your book has small letters but it is soo good.

    1. Ellie

      If it had normal size font it would break my wrists! πŸ˜‰

  3. Nikki

    Oh man, I'd definitely have to say that A Game of Thrones tops my list of intimidating reads BUT I've started the audiobook with hopes that it'll be a bit less daunting.

    Also, John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, The Book Thief and A Code Name Verity all make the list purely based on the fact that they are all steeped in heavier subject matters.

  4. Uncorked Thoughts

    Ulysses is an absolute )$^%&$ to read! Arrgh it made my second year a nightmare. Same goes for Thomas Hardy, I haven't read Tess but Return of the Natives was bad enough.

    I can totally sympathise on the non-fiction front too :).

    My TTT

  5. kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews

    I would add any book by Diana Gabaldon πŸ™‚ I've started reading them in paperbacks by they are massive, and it just hurt my wrist to hold them. I usually end up reading them at work where I have an hour of lunch and nowhere to escape even if it takes few weeks to do that! πŸ™‚

  6. Becky LeJeune

    I loved THE PASSAGE. I sort of zipped through it!

    I have to say, all of Neal Stephenson is intimidating to me. He's not really on my TBR list after I tried and failed to read multiple titles by him!

  7. maryom

    Do yourself a favour and ditch Tess of the Durbs NOW! I read it at school and could never get on with it. I really wanted to give her a slap and say "Stop whining, woman!" Not my favourite Hardy character – but you'd guessed that πŸ™‚

  8. Unknown

    I also loved The Passage and went on to read The Twelve , I liked it so much. But I would run a mile from Ulysses. I have just bought the first volume of Game of Thrones and am psyching myself up to reading it…

  9. Hanna @ Booking in Heels

    #9 – I'm torn. It is really big and really intimidating, but at the same time I do really want to read it. I might have to adopt your bite-sized chunks idea.

    #8 – I bought this the day before yesterday! I was actually considering hosting a read-a-long in August, more to inspire MYSELF to read it than anything else! I've never read Hardy before, so I'm not sure what to expect.

    #6 – I agree with this as well. I bought it from a charity shop because a friend told me it was amazing, but it's SO big and I can't even remember what it's about, which doesn't help. I have no desire to read it other than I heard it's good :/

  10. Anonymous

    I would love to do a readalong of #10 Gormenghast.

  11. Daisy

    I know The Name of the Wind is HUGE, but it is SO GOOD!! Seriously, Patrick Rothfuss is one of the best fantasy authors out there in my humble opinion !!
    I'm also a bit scared of Wolf Hall…

  12. Anonymous

    Nice list! I added some books from it on Goodreads, because they sounded really nice. I only have read the Illiad and that's really beautiful, although I've read it in Latin class and for my final exams at high school

  13. Bark At The Ghouls

    I liked The Passage but it totally didn't need all of those pages!

  14. Unknown

    I feel the same about the Hilary Mantel books. Curious, but not sure the subject matter is enough to get me to accept the length. Great list!

  15. Mike Stimpson

    I thought Cryptnomicon was ace. It's been years since I read it, but just checking Wikipedia to refresh my memory of the plot revealed that it's been called the "ultimate geek novel"!

    1. Ellie

      Well done, you have unlocked "Ultimate Geek" level πŸ˜‰

  16. Katie Edwards

    I bought the Gormanghast trilogy years ago, and really, if I haven't read it by now I ought to give it to a charity shop. I've started it a couple of times, but not got very far. But I don't want to admit defeat. I will read it. One day.

  17. Unknown

    Why are some of the best books soooo looonnnnggg? Glad to know Gameboard of the Gods was a fairly quick read though. Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  18. Suz

    I listened to Wolf Hall as an audiobook and it was great! I would recommend that for you too! I have some of the same books on my TBR list.

    1. Ellie

      I'm rubbish with audiobooks and I'm pretty sure that one would be painfully long. They read far too slow for my liking πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: