Top Ten Most Intimidating Books (To Me)

toptentuesssTop Ten Tuesday, asΒ  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Most Intimidating Books


Harry Potter: THIS BOOK HAS CHANGED PEOPLES LIVES AND IS LIKE WHY PEOPLE BECAME READERS. Howwwww is this ever going to live up to the hype?? Everyone else grew up with it and it was magical and I’m like heyyyyy I’m like more than a decade late to the game.

Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare: People who love this book LOVE this book. I feel like if I don’t like it my house will get egged.

Divergent: Everyone who loves YA seems to have read this one and it’s like the hottest thing right now. AND all of book club has read it and are appalled I have not!!

Vampire Academy: All the people I am closest to are obsessed with this series it seems. So, within my group of friends it’s a very big hype thing for me. WHAT IF I DON’T LOVE IT LIKE MY BFFS DO??

War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy: It’s a brick! Plus I hear it uses a lot of brain power to read it!
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: ANOTHER BRICK. I could injure myself if I drop this.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: It’s not as big as the others but it is still HUGE and the thing is that allll of the books in the series seem to be this big.

(These books are also huge too!)

Atlas Shrugged: It’s all philosophical and my brain was way sharper in college but probably not sharp enough even then for this one.
Ulysses by James Joyce: All my smart friends used to read Joyce.
Infinite Jest: I hear this book is like the biggest labor of love to read because it’s so smart and confusing.


So tell me…have you read any of the books on my list?? Please tell me if I should get over my fear and read them or if they aren’t worth it? What books intimidate YOU? And what is it more often for you — hype, subject matter or size??

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. ahhh I’m read Divergent right now and it is SO good. I definitely feel it’s a little like Ender’s Game in some ways but it’s just a really interesting story and premise.

    And don’t be afraid of Harry Potter. As long as you get through the first three books you’ll be hooked.

  2. Okay so the Harry Potter series is AMAZEBALLS. You need to read them. I have no interest in the Mortal Instruments series and I REFUSE to read them just because they are popular. War & Peace was not enjoyable to me. Les Miserables was MAGIC.Divergent was AWESOME and I adored it.I have not read Vampire Academy mostly because it does not interest me at all.I tried to read the Outlander series but I was just not into it at all.

  3. Ohh! I can see why you’re intimidated by some of these1 Like Harry Potter? One of the main reasons I started reading when I was younger, but I think you should still give it a chance! The way I do it is – I wait until people stop talking about the books, and I don’t update my Goodreads while I’m reading these books so I can make my own conclusions without outside influence. (peer pressure isa serious problem for me – especially when it comes to books)

  4. Ulysses made my list too! One of these days…

  5. Okay, so you and I are really close in age, so you know that I also grew up during the hype of HP. However, I didn’t read it as a child/teen. I was 25 when I read the series, and honestly, I’m glad I waited. I don’t think I would have really appreciated it as much if I read it when I was young. There’s just so much depth and little things that all add up and my mind was just blown!

    I liked VA, but I wasn’t super impressed with the first book. The series as a whole is pretty good, but probably more of a 4-star than a 5.

  6. Harry Potter- WORTH IT!!!! But I understand what you’re saying πŸ™‚
    Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy- I wasn’t impressed with either first book.
    Divergent- loved it! Def worth it if you enjoyed Hunger Games. It’s not the same but it has a similar feel with less sparse writing.
    Les Mis- I’m totally intimidated by this one too!
    Outlander: WORTH IT! There is so much to this series- history, action, romance, tragedy, mystery. They can get a little repetitive but the stories are so immersive, you feel like you’re there. And the characters are easy to get attached to. It’s not hard to read, just long πŸ™‚ Then again, I ended up reading all seven of the published books in a year haha!

  7. This is a great list! I can certainly understand a lot of your choices πŸ™‚

    Selfishly, I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one to include Victor Hugo’s Les MisΓ©rables on my Top Ten Tuesday list. I felt like a bit of a philistine for my inclusion of that one, but there’s safety in numbers. One day I shall conquer it! *Shakes fist at the sky* πŸ˜‰

    I can only imagine how difficult it would be to begin the Harry Potter series so long after the fact. I honestly can’t believe it has been ten years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! Because of the sheer scope of the series and the hype surrounding it I can definitely understand your reservations. That said, Harry Potter really is something special and I hope you have the opportunity to read at least the first novel at some point.

    I also hope that you’re able to read Divergent at some point. I really enjoyed it! Sure, the world-building doesn’t always make the most sense, but the romance between Tris and Four is swoon-worthy and will always inspire me to come back for more. I would highly recommend it!

    I must read Outlander! I have a friend who has been pushing me to read it for a number of years now and I swear she’s going to come over to my house one day and stand over me to make sure I read it πŸ˜› You’re right though – The length is what has prevented me from picking it up thus far too!

  8. Ulysses, War and Peace and Les Miserables made my list too. I haven’t read Divergent yet, but I’ve got it ready to start. I just hope I love it, because everyone else seems to!

  9. Seraphina is on my list because of the hype, so I can definitely understand why you’re intimidated by those books. And YES for Les Mis. The first 100 pages center around a character who *doesn’t show up for the rest of the book.* The writing’s good, but it’s a little tedious when the first part is named “Fantine” but you’re 100 pages in and Fantine hasn’t shown up yet, haha.

    My TTT

  10. Hype is definitely a reason books can intimidate me haha.
    But you should DEFINITELY read Divergent.
    I haven’t read Harry Potter either, so don’t feel ashamed that you haven’t read it haha. I want to though. I just hope it lives up to the hype :/ I’ve seen all the movies though.. So I guess that counts for something.

  11. You’ve got to give yourself the opportunity to fall in love with the Harry Potter series! I started the series way back when, but I’ve re-read the entire series at least 5 times now, and I fall more in love and gain new understanding each time. I completely understand the hesitation to jump into such a fan favorite – I feel the same way about Lord of the Rings.

    Divergent is a must also! And you aren’t behind at all. Wait until the final installation comes out in August so you can read the entire series (probably 3 books in 3 days – they are that good and easy to read!), then go watch the movie later this year! You just saved yourself the terrible in-between waiting period.

    War and Peace also made my list and Atlas Shrugged would have made #11!

  12. This is a great list! I have the same feeling toward really large books! It took me a whole summer to get through “Gone With the Wind” once! That one is great too!

  13. Aww, don’t feel too bad about Vampire Academy. I’m the black sheep on that one, it wasn’t really anything special, but my friends don’t seem to mind that much, even though they’re super fans. As for the Mortal Instruments, there are PLENTY of people who don’t like that (myself included), so you shouldn’t be scared about that either. Harry Potter though… *shakes head* Well I don’t know what it’s like if you didn’t GROW UP with it, but they’re still awesome books.

    Outlander made my list as well!! So curious about that but OMG THE LENGTH x_x Oh and Atlas Shrugged reminds me I still have a copy of the Fountainhead lying around somewhere… x_x

  14. Dude! I’m not even going to try those giant books. *waves hand around*
    I got halfway through Vampire Academy and just didn’t want to go on. It’s OK if it’s not for you πŸ™‚ I liked Mortal Instruments, a good read but I don’t LOVE them, I could take it or leave it.
    You have to read Harry Potter though. It doesn’t matter if your late to the party or not, but you will miss out on something special if you skip it. No pressure. LOL.

    I’m intimidated by the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. My book buddies adore it and I’ve started it before and I have a bad feeling I won’t like, again.
    Outlander is also on my list, also because of the length.

    Otherwise I feel pretty good about my TBR this year. I have been making a dent in the books, I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Fever is on this list. *rolls eyes*

    Good luck

  15. Dude! I’m not even going to try those giant books. *waves hand around*
    I got halfway through Vampire Academy and just didn’t want to go on. It’s OK if it’s not for you πŸ™‚ I liked Mortal Instruments, a good read but I don’t LOVE them, I could take it or leave it.
    You have to read Harry Potter though. It doesn’t matter if your late to the party or not, but you will miss out on something special if you skip it. No pressure. LOL.

    I’m intimidated by the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. My book buddies adore it and I’ve started it before and I have a bad feeling I won’t like, again.
    Outlander is on my list, also because of the length.

    Otherwise I feel pretty good about my TBR this year. I have been making a dent in the books, I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Fever is on this list. *rolls eyes*

    Good luck

  16. Ok Jamie – seriously you haven’t read Harry Potter? Please please go and read them! The books are phenomenal – they are like magic coming out of pages, all the hype is true, there is nothing to say about these books that is any bad. Other than the heartbreak. …

    Please please READ IT!!

    Oh and Outlander? My love for Outlander is big – enormous and gigantic! Especially the first 3 books are just epic! You will LOVE Jamie! and … ahhh…
    What i want to say? Read it!


  17. I love your reaction on Harry πŸ™‚ I read them pretty late myself because the hype made me reluctant and they where childrens books and so but the moment I started reading them I understood why they where so popular.

    War and Peace kind of made my list too πŸ˜‰

  18. Excellent list!

    Russian literature is always intimidating. The length of all the books baffle me. How am I going to get through a 1100 page book? IDEK.

  19. This would basically be MY list! Well, except for Harry Potter, which you need to read NOW! Seriously, it will live up to all the hype. It is that awesome.
    And I think you’ll love Vampire Academy as well, Rose is a kickass main character and you need to come swoon with us over DIMITRI!!

  20. I totally get not wanting to read a book because of the hype around it (I’m currently avoiding the Game of Thrones book and TV show for exactly that reason) but you kind of have to read Harry Potter. You don’t have to love it like other people do, you don’t have to like it at all, but I feel like at this point it should be required reading for all muggles. (See? There are loads of jokes you could make that you’re missing out on)

    I quite liked City of Bones but I don’t really get the hype around in the same way I do for Divergent (which I didn’t like at all when I started reading, but got really into around 3/4 of the way through). Huge books scare me, partly because I have this thing where I refuse to not-finish a book. That becomes more of a problem if I’m reading a 700-page tome and hating it!

  21. That’s a good point, I guess I never really thought of the fanbase being intimidating! But it’s true, some series have some fans that just won’t understand it if you have a different opinion to theirs.

    I really want to read Atlas Shrugged!

  22. I’m not alone with Harry Potter on my list today, and for the same reasons, too! I have read several of the other books on your list though – Outlander is one of my favorites, but I have to admit that when I first started reading it, I had no idea how many pages it was. Friends kept bugging me to read it, it was on sale for kindle, I one-clicked and started reading.

    Here’s my TTT post for this week πŸ™‚

  23. I should have included War and Peace on my list as well. I read Anna Karenina a couple of summers ago and really liked it despite some of the boring parts about farming, Russian agriculture etc.

  24. I really think you should give HP a go – who knows you might still like it? I have similar feelings about Mark Twain though so maybe I’ll read that when you read HP!

  25. HP, Divergent and VA – read them!!! πŸ™‚

  26. It is NEVER too late to read Harry Potter. The first two books may seem a bit elementary in writing style for your age, but Rowling has an excellent way of making the characters and her writing style grow with the reader. The messages about friendship and love are timeless though.

  27. I have Infinite Jest on audiobook – 56 hours and 14 minutes o_O now THAT’S intimidating!

  28. I 100% agree on Harry Potter – that made my list too. I feel like I’m also super behind on this – I figure if I’ve not read it and all the movies have come out and are on DVD – I missed it, plain and simple. Plus the series is long – so if I do like it, will I have time to read all this with my reviews and TBR’s at this point?

    Vampire Academy I am also right there with you, another series I have like this is Vampire Diaries – I feel I’ve just missed the bus on these…

    Divergent and Mortal Instruments – I have read these actually and both are amazing. You are right about the Mortal Instrument Fan base – pretty much if you love it, you LOVE it.. I totally reccommend it! Divergent was my first “dystropian” type book and it totally got me into that genre of literature – so it’s absolutely one of my favorites. 3rd booking coming out this fall and I’m already pumped about it. Thanks to that book alone, I found the Matched series, Awaken series, Under the Never Sky, Delirium, and who knows what else — So I absoultely love it!

    Great list!!
    Here’s the link to mine:

  29. Divergent won’t be for you if you can find all the plot holes, or you don’t approve of dystopians without history explaining how their world came to be. City of Bones wasn’t anything life-changing for me either.

    But Harry Potter? I think it’s something you really should read. It’s just really enjoyable.

  30. Yes, hype is scary. I’ve a lot of books on my list because of their hype. Also Les Mis because it is a mammoth book !

    Here’s my TTT :

  31. Haha, Harry Potter. I haven’t finished that series. I wouldn’t say they’ve changed my life. They’re fun. That is all. But I do need to finish them because people certainly don’t mind spoiling them because they feel people SHOULD have already read them, which is another story for another time.

    Also, Outlander. Great book, but it made my list too. Why? Because I like where it ended so I’m intimidated to continue with the series. (I read it with a group, which is why I was able to make it thru it.)

    ALSO ALSO I promise I will most likely never read War and Peace. I read Anna Karenina – loved it! – but Tolstoy rambles so unnecessarily that at least half of that book shouldn’t even be published as part of that book. I’ve heard War and Peace is even more so! I’ve heard of people reading ten pages at a time! EEEKKK!!! No way, dude. But I did love Anna K.

  32. I try to read one book that scares me every year–and if I can do them as read alongs, all the better. In fact, that’s my biggest advice for getting through some of these. Last year I did Outlander. Hated it, but being able to talk about it each week made it more funny to me than anything (personally, I think you can skip it, though so many people do love it). This year I did Infinite Jest. Yes, there were a lot of things I missed, but I also caught things other people missed. We read it in a group of about 4, and between all of us discussing it regularly throughout, I think we saw so much!

  33. The great thing about some of these is that you’ll be able to read them straight through, when others had to wait FOREVER! Divergent is the least intimidating thing on your list I think. Its just a good YA, not some crazy life changing thing (not for most anyway?). Harry Potter you should definitely give a go. I recommend reading them quietly (ie not letting everyone getting all up in your business about it) and just going for it.

  34. Smart people books really scare me. I haven’t read any of them (which says something about me) but I just can’t bring myself to pick them up! Out of all the books listed, you must read Harry Potter. Even if you hate them, you have to try. And I didn’t grow up with them either. I was an adult when I first picked them up and I still loved them. We just reread the first with our kids and they are now falling in love with them and it is the best thing ever. City of Bones is basically a supernatural soap opera. I wasn’t a huge fan of that series (though they are addicting) or Vampire Academy. And I’m also not a super-fan of Divergent but I do think you should read it before seeing the movie (if you even plan on seeing it at all).

  35. I read seven pages of “Ulysses.” That was enough for me. I’d read Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and hated it, so I saw no reason to subject myself to any more Joyce. (I adore his short story “The Dead,” though. I recommend reading that if you’d like to try Joyce.)

    I’m one of those people whose lives Harry Potter changed, so I just add to the hype. I will say, the first book is not as good as the rest of them, so the reason for the hype might not be clear from the first book. I will also say that I’m a bit older, so I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, so I don’t think you *have* to grow up with Harry Potter to love Harry Potter. But I will also say that there’s a way in which Harry Potter ruined me for reading. I want every book I pick up to be Harry Potter now, and they never are.

  36. Haha, I totally feel like there are some books that are SOOOO POPULAR that I just won’t get. I typically try to avoid these books because I don’t feel like I need to read them to be hip or whatever. I imagine that most people who read these books don’t actually get them or enjoy them either. I’d much rather put effort into reading something pretty or fun or exciting! Great list!

  37. Atlas Shrugged isn’t that difficult of a read. You will “get it” because you’ll be pounded over the head with “it” over and over and over again. It’s more tedious than anything!

    Infinite Jest is a difficult read, but worth it. There are plenty of blogs and articles out there that can help you if you have trouble. I’d recommend reading on an e-reader so you can look up the definitions of words as needed.

    I’m scared of Ulysseys too! I read Portrait and Dubliners, but I don’t think either of those will prepare you for it. Here’s a great review I read that made me want to get my courage up and give it a go:

  38. Stephani says:

    I’ve read all of the hyped books except, Vampire Academy. I found a listing in Pinterest of books you’d like if you like the Hunger Games. It included Divergent, so silly me, I picked it up at the library and read it, not realizing it was the first in a series. So now, I am very impatiently waiting for the third book to come out (end of October!)
    A fellow teacher turned me onto Cassandra Clare and the Mirtal Instruments series, another true love book.
    Even my Uncle, who I would never believe was into fantasy of any sort, has read the Harry Potter series. I can see though, why it would intimidate you now. The movies are all over the place, the books are being re-released with new covers, and what if the magic doesn’t work for you as an adult. I personally didn’t pick them up until the first four had been published (I was well into my twenties), but of course I was able to immerse myself in that world and fall in love with the characters.
    I haven’t read any of the big books, or the brainy set either, just have never had the desire. Although I think I may have downloaded Les Mis… Less intimidating when you don’t feel the heft. I may decide to read it one of these days. Though most definitely not during the school year, I have to keep up with the kids at school for AR points, so I need quick reads that keep me coming back for more!

  39. I read the first 3 Harry Potter books in middle school, and wen to all the midnight releases for the rest. I grew up with the books, so they have a nostalgic feel for me. I think if you haven’t read them yet, then ya, they are not going to be as awesome as all the hype, but I still think they are worth reading.

    Divergent is amazing! The hype is big, but it is justly hyped!

  40. Great list, I’ve read Divergent but not the next one because I’m worried I won’t like it, same with City of Bones and all the other books – I’ve read Bones but can’t bring myself to read any of the others!

    My Top 10 Tuesday!

  41. Outlander doesn’t feel long when you are reading it but yep it is very long LOL

  42. I think I almost heard a collective intake of breath over Harry Potter! It is so worth it and amazing, and definitely one of the first books I ever loved in my life, but I can see where you’re coming from. I have some friends who have not yet read Harry Potter and now don’t know if they want to because how could it ever live up to the crazy expectations that almost the whole world has set up for it?!

    One of my co-workers the other day told me that his favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged and acted surprised when I told him I’ve never read it. I was like, “have you seen the thing?!”

  43. I have the same intimadation of Ulysses, the title alone scares me thinking I won’t understand it!
    and Les Mis! I’ve wanted to read it forever but the length! Is the book actallty better than the movies??

    Divergent and Harry Potter you must fall into the hype! You won’t regret it!

  44. Don’t feel pressured to read Harry Potter if you don’t want to. I also really loved them, but pressure should never be a reason to go into a book. My husband didn’t read them until last year, and still really liked them – so there IS post-bandwagon hope. I think the serious would be perfect gym-audiobooks for you. The audiobooks are SO well done, and there is a good deal of I-have-to-know-what-happens-next to keep you on the treadmill.

    Atlas Shrugged would be really good as a teenager, when you’re idealistic and easily influenced. As an adult (even a 20-something), it’s just being pounded over the head with her one opinion over and over again. If you feel like you want to be conversational in Ayn Rand, without subjecting yourself to the whole of Atlas Shrugged (which I advise), read For the New Intellectual. It’s only 200ish pages, and gives you more than enough of her writing style and philosophy. Then read the wikipedia page on Atlas Shrugged so that you get the key references in pop culture.

  45. DOYKE. I promise… start with the hype books! Divergent!! VA!! City of Bones!! Though… if you don’t enjoy them I might NEVER share donuts or bring beer to book club again. And well… HARRY POTTER. We shall see… LOL

  46. When it comes to Atlas Shrugged, the key is to read the book for the story, not the politics. It is a massive undertaking, but when you read it don’t let the politics get you all muddled. Pay attention to the ideas of someone spiriting away the leaders of industry and what that does to the world rather than whether or not objectivism is worth it. That helped me a ton when reading it and I was able to get through it pretty quick once I had that mindset.

    In my option, The Mortal Instruments books are the ones that should have gotten all the hype that Twilight got instead. They are better from a writing standpoint and the characters are much more believable and relatable at the same time. Sure, there are still plenty of eye-rolling moments with them, but I’m a 30-year-old guy who finds them fairly enjoyable. Plus, you can easily read the first one and not pick up any of the others without feeling like you’ve left yourself hanging. You can’t do that with a lot of other YA book series.

    Divergent is one you can probably ignore if you really don’t feel like reading it. It isn’t as good as the first Hunger Games book and it doesn’t do anything special or groundbreaking to be honest.

  47. Okay so Divergent is cool but you can live without it, and The Mortal Instruments are cool up to and including book 3 and then they suck.
    Pretty please.

  48. “Because I’m afraid my brain won’t get it” is how I feel about most classics. Okay, not necessarily that I won’t UNDERSTAND it, but that I won’t see the magic that everyone else does. Plus most classics are massive in size and that’s scary for me too. I have such book anxiety it’s silly.

  49. Good list, I have Outlander on my list as well.
    IMHO, Divergent and Vampire Academy are totally worth the hype! πŸ™‚ Read those first. haha!

    My TTT

  50. @.@ Harry Potter can’t be over-hyped. Forget the characters, the plot, the magic…read it for her writing alone. She does an amazing job of showing not telling. She can plot like no ones business. The details in her book come across as unimportant but they always are. And she will stick small details in book 1 that are important in book 7. Each book has it’s own plot, but all book contribute to an overall plot for the whole series….If anything else, the writing will not disappoint you πŸ™‚

    My TTT

  51. I’m intimated to read The Mortal Instruments too because of the hype. I liked His Infernal Devices but there’s something about TMI that keeps holding me back.

    And I know it might not seem like it because of the size but Outlander reads fast! It’s so addictive you don’t even realize how fast you’re turning those pages.

  52. Divergent it so amazing, and you should definitely read it! Also, City of Bones isn’t AMAZING, but it’s really good, and it’s worth a try! War and Peace and Harry Potter are on my list, too!

    Here’s my TTT

  53. AH the HYPE MONSTER. Its fatal! I hear ya on that front! I’m SO SCARED of HP!!

  54. Harry Potter…wha? I can’t believe it! I really enjoyed Divergent. Great list!

  55. Harry Potter made my list too.
    I tried reading the Outlanders but that book is so long. I was half way through and I realized I didn’t really care for any of the characters so I gave up and moved onto a different book.

  56. Ahhh, no Harry Potter in your life? That’s just…it’s a no-no situation!!! Also because you don’t have our fellows from VAmpire Academy with you, either! Clearly, a change of direction is nessecary πŸ™‚ I promise you, you won’t regret reading those two series!

  57. I had Les Miserables and War and Peace on my list. So intimidating! And don’t get me started on James Joyce….

    Harry Potter, however, is fantastic and I highly recommend the series.

  58. I’m right there with you with Les Miserables and Infinite Jest. I have both on my kindle and I don’t even know when I plan to start them. I do want to read them tho, but yeah.

    BUT JAMIE OH GOD, you need to start City Of Bones, Divergent and Harry Potter!!! You’ll life will be better once you do I swear.

  59. Haha I still can’t believe you haven’t read Harry Potter. City of Bones is good. It’s not your typical YA supernatural book, which I liked. It’s not the best book ever written, but it’s extremely entertaining. I still haven’t read Divergent either, so no worries πŸ™‚

  60. Harry Potter and the Mortal Instrument series made my list too. I really enjoyed Vampire Academy and Divergent and I would recommend them πŸ˜€

    Here’s my Top Ten

  61. I can understand why Harry Potter would be so intimidating.Divergent is good too. I find books with a lot of hype surrounding them to be very intimidating; it puts a lot of pressure on the books too.

  62. You should totally read Divergent, Harry Potter as well as The Mortal Instruments series while, I should go and read Vampire Academy. Sigh, so many books.

  63. I totally get the Harry Potter intimidation!

  64. Infinite Jest simply requires infinite patience. Patience for its length and patience for it’s intricate detail. But it is worth it.

  65. I could makes a hundred top ten posts about books I’m afraid my brain won’t get! I totally understand the hype. I did read Harry Potter a few years ago though. You should start with that one.

  66. I could make a hundred top ten posts about books I’m afraid my brain won’t get! I totally understand the hype. I did read Harry Potter a few years ago though. You should start with that one.

  67. I tried to subdivide this topic in a similar way to yours and utterly failed. I do think it’s really interesting to examine all the different reasons why books intimidate us, though! I bet you’d like Divergent. I haven’t read VA either, although I am not sure I have any curiosity/desire to. Les Mis made its way to my list. Atlas Shrugged and Infinite Jest almost did, but then I realized that I don’t really want to read them ever, so I didn’t feel the need to include them. I hope you’re able to conquer your feelings of intimidation and read at least some of these!

  68. Oh I LOVED Outlander, but yeah, it’s definitely in same category as A Song of Ice and Fire for me in terms of series that I love, but aren’t getting very far with them because of the sheer commitment of each book.

  69. I was really afraid to read Harry Potter too! I eventually read it a few years ago but at the time I was afraid I would not love it as much as everyone else did. I am so glad I read it! Although I probably would have loved it even more if I was reading it as a kid, it was still so great! I had seen the first few movies and had lots of friends who loved it. When I finally read it I totally saw what I was missing!

    Amber @Nala’s Book Corner

  70. First, ditto what everyone says about HP. You just have to start, the books will do the rest. Plus they can be fast and good reads.
    Second, Divergent is very similar to Hunger Games. So if you like Hunger Games, then you will most likely like this trilogy/series? (One note-the 3rd book will not be coming out until September/October this year)
    Third, I LOVE Les Miserables. But even I have a very hard time getting through the unabridged version. I would recommend reading the abridged version first. You won’t be missing too much of the story.

  71. I read Divergent because of all the hype is was getting. I’ve decided to no longer read what was ‘in’ in the YA world. I did enjoy Divergent, but didn’t find it great or anything like that. Maybe I was expecting more because it was getting so big

  72. I loved the first three Harry Potter books; the next four not so much… at all. I can’t imagine going back to them ever again.

    War and Peace is long, but it is also some of the easiest, most enjoyable reading you can imagine. Take ten minutes and read up on translations and find the one that sounds most appealing to you.

    Ditto Les Mis and an abridged version.

  73. Ahhhh JAMIE!!! All of your intimidated-by-the-hype choices are amongst my FAVOURITES! <3 (I guess that's not really helping though lol…) Seriously though, Harry Potter. C'mon now. I don't know if it would hold the same magic for you reading it so late, especially since you already have such a well-established love for YA lit but I still think it's worth a read! Plus, the first book is tiny, you could totally stop after that if you hated it πŸ˜‰

    But eeee… Ayn Rand. I hated that stupid book to no end but persevered just because I felt like it was something I SHOULD have read. But yeah, me and Rand don't get along very well. I felt like I was being repeatedly force-fed ideas that I didn't believe in to begin with.

    I want to read Les Mis SO BADLY but I'm like, when am I ever going to have the time. And once I read it, I want the proper thing, not an abridged version. But hopefully I'll be able to get to that one and a couple of the others on your list as well!

    Great choices, Jamie! πŸ™‚

  74. For what it’s worth once you start reading Harry Potter, the hype drops away. I never really talked about it with friends or online or anything while I was reading it as it came out. You can just read it within a bubble in a way because it’s one of those things where you pick it up thinking you’ll just read a few chapters and then sink into the book like you would into a bed of very soft pillows and you don’t want to surface again for a long time.

    Outlander I read but Didn’t love.

    Divergent will suck you in. It’s one of those things where I listen to all the logic flaws people around me point out with it and I totally see them and acknowledge them but I don’t care about them because the overall experience of reading the book overwhelms the nitpicking.

    VA is fun but I needed to learn to space the volumes of the series out a little more.

    And I would definitely read City of Bones, but you can sort of leave aside the other books in the series IMO.

  75. Mortal Instruments took me awhile to give a chance due to the hype as well. Les miserables almost made my list.
    Here are my top ten.

  76. Outlander is too amazing for words. You won’t be able to put it down. I have bought this book for countless friends- it’s life changing. It penetrates your very soul.

    HP is a must. Books 1-3 will be hard to get into because JKR’s writing matured to suit the audience who grew up with her characters. You will love their depth.

    Watch Les Mis with Hugh Jackman. Also a soul penetrator. The book…. snooze city. lol

    Mortal Instruments was horribly juvenile. The movies looks better haha

  77. The size of a book and whether or not I’ll “get it” are intimidating to me, too! I think it’s healthy to try harder books that you need to think about and might not get, but I don’t do it often …

  78. Don’t worry so much about Harry Potter, honestly. Try it with the same mindset that you do with any other new book. Mark Oshiro, from the awesome Mark Reads, first read HP in his mid-20s and he’s a total fanboy. The brilliant thing about Rowling’s ability to understand people is that this series is pretty ageless. No matter how old you are, you should be able to find things to relate to in it. Siriusly.

    Also, Les Mis and Atlas Shrugged almost killed me. I hated them for every second I spent reading them and sorely regret ever having picked them up.

    Just my two cents though. You have some awesome variety in those choices, and I wish you the best of luck!