Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that were hard for me to read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.

This week's topic is about books that were hard to read, be it because of the subject matter, complexity, bad writing, or whatever.

Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe
I once tried to read it in German when I was nine. I thought it would be really interesting and all about surviving on that island, but it was really slow and simply too difficult for me at that time. Then I tried again in my third semester at Uni but never finished it. It was so boring. I'm not sure I even made it to the point where Friday shows up. I couldn't bear to read another catalogue of things he owns or is doing or remembering or thinking about God.

Stephen King - Dreamcatcher
This was my first Stephen King book and I read it when I was fifteen. It was a bit of a rebellious act because my mother (who doesn't like anything horror) always talked about him as that author who writes these gross, bloody horror books (never mind that she'd never read one). But I always felt drawn to King. The first 200 pages weren't so bad, but then the grossness started... for another 200 pages or so. I felt a bit nauseated at times. But then I read The Gunslinger next and was hooked on King for life.

Becca Fitzpatrick - Crescendo
I really liked Hush Hush when I first read it (don't know if I'd still feel the same way now) and was really disappointed by Crescendo. Nora was being so stupid and jealous and doing one brainless thing after the other. I don't even know how many times I rolled my eyes. Silence was a little better, but it's been two years and I still haven't bought that final book.

Laurie Halse Anderson - Wintergirls
Not a bad book at all, just to be clear. But for personal reasons it was very difficult for me to read.

Sarah J. Maas - Crown of Midnight
Why, you may wonder? Because it was so good but I knew it couldn't last. At a certain point in the story things started to pile up and I knew it would all come crashing down and go horribly wrong and characters I cared about would be hurt or killed. Makes it difficult for me to read on because all I can do is watch.

Courtney Summers - Some Girls Are
Heavy subject matter combined with excellent writing made for a harrowing read. I'm glad I read it though. It's important that these things are written and talked about.

Deborah Meyler - The Bookstore
It was unrealistic and pretentious. It wasn't all bad but I wished I could have knocked some sense into our dear protagonist.

Amy Butler Greenfield - Chantress
I'd been looking forward to this one so much and it started out promising, but then the pacing slowed, it was all talking and no experiencing/showing, it was stifling because the heroine was inside all the time, and I wasn't feeling the magic. The last 20 or so percent were great again, but man did that middle drag.

Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Prince
All. The. Feels. Being scared to read on because things will go horribly wrong, yet unable to resist reading. My heart was being stabbed. Cassie Clare made me cry on Christmas at two in the morning.

John Dos Passos - Manhattan Transfer
This book starts in the 1890s or so and spans all the way to the 1920s. There are at least 50 characters, some of whom reappear and some not. The narrative is very complex and not necessarily coherent but once I got into it, I found it irresistible and ended up really loving it. Just the way Dos Passos really gets into the characters' hearts and minds and describes the everyday gains and losses of their lives. The sadness and the hopes. I need to re-read it.

I think if I set my mind to it I could come up with many more. James Joyce's Ulysses was definitely hard to read, so was Bleak House by Charles Dickens (very bleak indeed, and like 1000 pages). And I could have listed a lot of books under 'annoying' but I think that adjective is not very precise or useful when it comes to describing a book or protagonist.
Were any of my picks hard for you to read as well? And what books did you settle on?


  1. Great list! Stephen King is an author I struggle with, for some reason I just never get into his stories, although earlier this year I did manage to read Misery and I really enjoyed it. :)

  2. Brilliant list. I haven't fully formed an opinion on Stephen King yet. I haven't read enough of his books. I enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson's writing, but she does write about some heavy issues!

  3. Lovely book choices and I've only read Dreamcatcher, which I thought was a terrible book and I usually adore King's work (I put The Stand in my list!).

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    Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

  4. I haven't read Dreamcatcher yet but The Stand is my favorite book ever. His characters just jump off the page for me. I really need to read that Sarah J Maas series.

  5. I loved Some Girls Are!! Read it in one night :) Courtney Summers is so good at writing those complex main characters that definitely aren't always likable. I also liked Wintergirls, but it's not my fav LHA. I can see why it would be hard for some people to read. Heavy stuff.

    My TTT

  6. Great list! I love that some of these are because you were so worried about the main characters! You're probably going to feel the same way in Heir of Fire! Thanks for stopping by my Top Ten!

    Amber R. @ Bibliophilia, Please

  7. Oh yes Clockwork Prince just rips your soul to shreds and Crown of Midnight hurts too!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives