What Classic Book Have You Put Off Reading Because It Seems To Intimidating?
Posted on 28th of October, 2019


I will start off by saying that I'm relatively new to binge reading books as I used to prefer watching television or playing games instead. This all changed a few months ago when some circumstances that involves moving and renovating a place resulted in me being without any form of electronic entertainment for a while. To pass time I started reading and I quickly fell in love with books all over again. I used to read a ton of books in school, but as soon as "real-life" began I just kind of pushed them off to the side and then never returned. The book that I ended up reading out of boredom was a dusty copy of Emma by Jane Austen and I ended up finishing it in two evenings. Since then I have gone through almost an entire box of books and even compiled a list of ones that I want to read. Your question is about books that are a little intimidating, so here goes:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes - This one is on my list, but there are a lot of other books that I would want to read first before I get to this tale of a delusional knight and his long-suffering servant. I have heard a lot of good things about this book, but I remember that I started to read it while I was still in school and my interest just kind of drifted after a few chapters, so I should really go back and finish it.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - It's not just the sheer size of this classic that is a bit intimidating, but also the subject matter. I have to confess that I haven't read any books by Tolstoy yet, but I do know that he was a master of his craft and a lot of people swear by this epic novel. I will probably read this on my kindle eventually so that I don't slip a disc in my back trying to carry the book around.

The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - OK, this one is going to earn me a lot of scorn, but I have never read any of the books in the Lord of The Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. In this case I guess it's not so much the fact that their size intimidates me, but more that I have already watched the movies and feel like I know everything that is going to happen. I know for a fact that the movies could not have covered everything in the books, so I will still discover plenty of new things, but reading three large books when there are still so many other good ones left to read that are shorter feels somewhat wrong.

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce - I can't lie, out of all the books I've mentioned, this is the one that I'm really putting off because it intimidates me. I have researched the book, know that it is considered a classic, culturally significant and very popular, but I have also read a lot of comments by people who just couldn't finish it. My biggest fear with this book is that I struggle so much with it that I end up abandoning it and getting soured on reading again, which is why it is way down on my to-read list at the moment.
This might be a little off topic, but to me it feels like a lot of people are intimidated by classic books purely because of their age and reputation. There are hundreds of great classic books that are easy to read, funny, engaging and written in a style that won't have you reaching for your dictionary every five words. If you are not a frequent reader, then those are the type of classics I would recommend first. If you have read plenty of books, including a couple of classics and want to go for something that is a little bit more challenging, then there are a couple of other criteria to keep in mind. First, don't go for the oldest, largest book you can find first, especially if the book was not originally in English. Instead, pick something that is a little more recent and ease yourself into it first. You'll find that as your vocabulary grows, so will your enjoyment of the books. Put in a little effort and research the translations of the books you are interested in as well. There are plenty of non-English classics that has had a couple of translations over the years and some are better than others, so definitely look into that. Now, to (finally) answer your question, it is without a doubt War and Peace. I have read a lot of books in my life, including plenty of the classics, but there is just nothing about War and Peace that draws me to it.
I wouldn't say that I put off reading any classics because they appear too intimidating, but I definitely tend to prioritize newer books first. I suppose it is because I feel like classics are books that will always be around whereas newer books that look interesting might end up being forgotten or overlooked over time and I will end up missing out on them. Having said that, there are plenty of classics that I still want to read, but I just don't think there's enough time left in my live to get around to all of them if I have to be totally honest with myself.
The Sound and the Fury is a book by William Faulkner that one of my friends recommended to me as a "classic." I honestly tried to read this book, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the style that the author uses. To me it felt like Faulkner went out of his way to make the book as confusing as possible. I applaud him for using a mentally disabled narrator to try and tell the story, or part of it at least, in a different manner, but it is a book that is clearly aimed at readers a lot smarter than me!

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