Top Ten Tuesday: Difficult Books


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is top ten books that were hard for me to read.

I’m going for hard in terms of structure and style rather than hard in terms of subject matter, since I actually quite enjoy darker subject matter. In terms of writing and style, if a book is too convoluted or esoteric I usually will put it down. There are some that I’ve gotten all the way through, though, just to say bwah?

121871. Vladimir Nabokov- Ada, or Ardor I love Nabokov. Love him. And I still have barely any idea what this book was about (incest? That’s about all I’ve got.)

2. Virginia Woolf- Orlando I keep wanting to like Virginia Woolf, and I just haven’t gotten there yet.

3. Pasternak- Doctor Zhivago This book really shouldn’t have been so hard for me (love those Russians) but I just found it incredibly boring.

4. Herman Melville- Moby Dick Moby Dick is a book you read to say you’ve read it. Does anyone really enjoy it? (If you do, yay for you!)

5. Stendahl- The Red and the Black A number of breathless reviews hailed this book but when I finally decided to go for it, I found it impenetrable.

6. Bulgakov- The Master and Margarita I read this on the recommendation of someone I that thought was really classy and who I really wanted to be my friend. Don’t do that, people.

7. Haruki Murakami- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle There’s this cat and a well and a dude at the bottom of the well and that’s about all I’ve got.

8. The Book of Margery Kempe The autobiography of an illiterate medieval woman, I read The Book of Margery Kempe translated into modern English, but her thinking was just so different from a modern person’s that the text was dense, unstructured, and really, really difficult to get through.

9. Tennyson- Idylls of the King Subject matter I love, but I just never got into the language of it. There is lots of Arthuriana that I just like better.

10. Milton- Paradise Lost I have never finished Paradise Lost. I’ve tried like 4 times. For some reason I just. Can’t. Do it. Chaucer in middle English? No prob. Milton, unmanageable.



Filed under Book Talk

4 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Difficult Books

  1. I completely agree about The Book of Margery Kempe. I had to read that one in college and it was so difficult to get through! Also, yes to everything you said about Paradise Lost. I’ve tried probably three or four times as well.
    My Top Ten Tuesday

    • hlmorris85

      I almost took a college course on Milton and I’m so glad I didn’t because I would have bombed hard. It’s silly, based on subject matter I should like Paradise Lost but I just. Can’t. Do it.

  2. Haha, I read Murakami’s 1Q84 and I felt kind of the same (except there wasn’t a well). It was a LONG and confusing book. Sigh.

    • hlmorris85

      Sometimes I just like getting lost in Murakami’s style, but that particular one I just took nothing away from. I’ve avoided 1Q84 too, I seem to have the most problems with his longer books.

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