Sunday Salon 2 – Intimidation

April 5, 2009 Reading Nook, Sunday Salon 39

First I want to thank you all for your overwhelming welcome into the Sunday Salon last week. I was all revved up with so much to talk about, but now I’m wondering to myself how I will fill an entire post. I guess that’s how it goes. :)

A few points of follow up from last week’s post. I don’t work as an editor or do anything really that uses my English degrees; I work at a small insurance company that primarily provides workers compensation for construction companies. I’m also no longer living in Smalltown, Texas (Coleman). Scott and I only lasted about 7 months before packing up and moving to Dallas, where I grew up. We’ve been living here for a year and a half. Funny how things work out.

Intimidation
I think a lot of you can relate when I say that I know more non-readers than readers. And even most of the readers I know aren’t quite as crazy about books as I am. I have never really been able to understand why some people enjoy reading more than others. I think some feel that reading is a chore or that it takes too much work. For my husband it is a little bit of both–he is dyslexic and struggles to the point of frustration. It is difficult for me to come to terms with this sometimes, and I have to be as understanding as I can. I truly believed that readers are simply wired differently than nonreaders.

Because I know so many non-readers, I’m always getting questions about how I choose my books or what I’m currently reading. Most of the time these questions are, unfortunately, rhetorical–questions of politeness or conversation. And then there are those who scoff at my yearly numbers–most times I don’t tell people how much I read. And frankly, you all read a heck of a lot more than I do!! And then, finally, there are those who take a look at my book list and comment on the weird, obscure books that I read. Commenting that I read things that go way over people’s heads.

Not true, I scream in protest! Sure my bookshelves are lined with classics and literature, nonfiction and world fiction, but as much as I try to read those types of genres, I still have to work myself up to pulling them off the shelf. Every single time. I don’t think I’ll ever pull Austen or Dickens off the shelf without some type of apprehension. Cold sweat is more like it. Russian authors are sure to put me into immediate panic mode. Books over 500 pages? Sheesh–I usually leave those to collect dust for years. I still buy them hoping that one day I’ll have the courage to open them up and dive in, but I have to admit that I am an intimidated reader.

After my cousin posted a comment on my recent Picoult post about the nature of books that I read, I got to thinking about what I do read and my constant intimidation. If I had to pinpoint what exactly it is about these books that intimidates me, I’m not sure that I could do it. My copy of Les Miserables is over 1200 pages–about three weeks of reading for me. Other than short stories here and there I haven’t read enough Russian literature to even begin to know why it is intimidating. Classics are a little daunting–the language and writing is sometimes antiquated and difficult to follow. Nonfiction is sometimes dry and overloaded with information.

Why do I read them, you ask? First, I usually end up enjoying these types of books despite my trepidation. And second, I thrive on being challenged. As much as I bitch and moan about a book being too difficult or whine about the reading taking me too long, I love the complexity found in the books that intimidate me the most. I guess hard work pays off? Something like that. And not always…as I’m sure you’ve experienced for yourself.

Some of the books on my shelf that I’m too intimidated to read but hope to work up the courage one day:
*Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky
*Middlemarch – Elliot
*Satanic Verses – Rushdie (even though I loved Midnight’s Children)
*Les Miserables – Hugo
*Vanity Fair – Thackeray
*The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – Eco
*East of Eden – Steinbeck
*Underworld – DeLillo
*Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky (Man–those Russians!)
*Ahab’s Wife – Naslund
Have you read any of these? Can you give me good solid reasons not to be intimidated? :)

I could ramble on if I let myself, but I’m out of steam. Plus after last week’s near essay length post, I’ll keep this one shortish. I guess in short I try to read a little bit of everything–from different genres to different authors to different time periods. But, I’ve never been strong in literary criticism or being able to pick apart a book on my own to truly understand everything. I have to work at these things. And sometimes I’m up for the task, but a lot of times I’m not. A lot of times my courage wins the battle, but often enough the scaredy cat in me lets those books sit on the shelf for far too long. And in the end there usually is not a whole lot of real basis for my intimidation. Not sure that intimidation is going away anytime soon. One day, though, I hope to kick its butt.

So my questions for you–What intimidates you in the world of reading? Do you avoid those books altogether or muster up the courage and plow through? Are you a fearless reader who tackles anything and everything in sight? Are there certain genres that you avoid like the plague?

Happy Sunday and thanks for visiting! Next week’s Salon–10 reasons you must join the read-a-thon. :)

39 Responses to “Sunday Salon 2 – Intimidation”

  1. Amanda

    Russian authors intimidate me too, Trish. I’ve read a smattering of them – Anna Karenina, Dr. Zhivago, etc – and rarely like them. I hated both the above named choices. It makes me worry even about the smaller books like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denesovich (sp) or Fathers and Sons (which I have to read for my book club next month). I try to put at least one Russian author into my book group every year as a means to motivate myself into reading more of them. Surely there has to be more than just Nabokov that I love that came from Russia!

  2. Missy B.

    I guess you could say that I live in a pretty “sheltered” reading world. I don’t read any foreign novels at all. I tend to shy away from them because I automatically assume that they “will be over my head” and I won’t understand them. That goes for historical fiction too. I will read southern historical fiction, but not much more than that. I stick mostly to contemporary fiction, because that is a “safe” genre for me.

  3. Nymeth

    A lot of the books you listed intimidate me as well. I’m definitely not a fearless reader. But in the end, like you, I love challenging myself. Length is a big part of what intimidates me…especially the deadly long + classic combination. Nothing scares me more than a huge classic like Middlemarch :P I guess it’s because I know it will take me forever to read, and I could go through 4 other books in that time, and I want to read SO many books before I die, and and and…

    But a lot of those books do deserve my time, so I try to make an effort to overcome my intimidation. Most of the time, it’s worth it.

  4. Janssen

    I always WANT to read more non-fiction, but I know it’ll take me longer to get through and take more effort on my part, so I end up returning to the fiction titles because once I put in 20 pages, it’ll pull me through.

  5. Karen

    I got a link to your blog because I have google alerts set for Les Miserables. Les Miz is my favorite book by far. It is not an easy read, but it is an absolutely beautiful story. My copy is 1463 pages and worth every page :) It will be slower at times, for me it is always during the historical parts (Hugo sets the timeline so to speak with some French history–including Napolean), but when you are with the characters it moves along much more easily (at least for me it did). This book touches my heart in a way no other book has.

    John Steinbeck is my favorite author and I have read pretty everything he has written (not just his novels). East of Eden is written in the same vein as Steinbeck’s other books. It is long, but it is not intimidating. It moves along just as his other books do, so if you have read Grapes of Wrath I would not be intimidated in reading East of Eden. Another book well worth reading. Anything he wrote is a worthy read in my humble opinion. Happy Reading!

  6. Vivienne

    I have just dusted off my copy of Les Miserables which has been lying in my garage for many years. I actually bought it when I was eighteen and now in my thirties I am contemplating reading it. I then click on to your post and realise that it definitely intimidates me and it is about time I stopped it doing it.

  7. Lezlie

    I’m learning to love Russian authors! I adored War & Peace last year, and Crime and Punushment was awesome! I recommend that one. I’ve got The Brothers K. on the list for this year, but with as much as I enjoyed C&P, I’m not intimidated at all anymore. Les Mis I have not read yet, but The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of my favorite books of the year a couple of years ago. No need to fear the Russians! :-)

    Lezlie

  8. Literary Feline

    I can really relate to what you wrote about relating to non-reader friends. I am lucky enough to currently work in an office where many people do enjoy reading, but they aren’t nearly as obsessed with reading as I am.

    And I know what you mean about some of the classics. My next foray into Tolstoy will be a short story collection. I loved Anna Karenina, but War and Peace is not quite so easy to pick up. I figure if I start with the short stories, maybe it will ease the transition into reading the bigger big.

    Like you, I often end up enjoying the books that at first intimidate me. Your comment about moaning and whining over books that take you too long and yet loving the complexity–that reminds me so much of how I felt with The Woman in White. It didn’t help that I was kicking myself for taking so long when it really wasn’t that difficult of a read.

    Of your list of books that intimidate you, I have read Crime and Punishment. I loved it. It’s one of my favorite classics. I got about half way through Les Miserables about 15 years ago. I ended up stopping not because I wasn’t interested, but because the school year had started and I needed to turn my attention to my studies (I had a silly rule back then that I couldn’t read for pleasure during the school semesters).

    Great topic for today, Trish. I hope you have a great week!

  9. Trish

    *Amanda – I’ve heard good things about Russian authors and know a lot of people who like them, but I guess I’ve heard enough negatives to keep me from pulling them from the shelf.

    *Missy – I think you’d be surprised at how readable some foreign authors can be–I participated in the Japanese challenge last year and loved everything I read. But I do know what you mean with sticking to things that are more comfortable.

    *Nymeth – Ah yes, Middlemarch! I will finish it this year…I will. I feel kind of the same way–why spend so much time reading one book when I can get several others read in the same amount of time.

    *Janssen – I used to stay away from non-fiction completely, but I find myself reading at least one a month now. I really enjoy memoirs and often times they read like a normal fiction book. You might try a few of those and see if you like them.

    *Karen – One day I’d really like to read Les Mis, but it is so long!! :) The only Steinbeck book I’ve read is Travels with Charley and I really liked his style. I need to find Grapes of Wrath–don’t have that one on the shelf yet. Thanks for the reinsurance!

    *Gautami – I wish I were as fearless as you are! East of Eden is staring me down from the shelf, so I’m sure I’ll pick it up sooner or later.

    *Scrap Girl – Another blogger is currently reading Les Mis and he reads a book at a time and sets it down again (I think there are 4 or 5 books?). I’ve thought about tackling it that way.

    *Lezlie – I think I need to find a better copy of C&P because my print is tiny! That’s another turn off–a million pages and tiny print. :) Glad to hear those Russians aren’t as bad as I think they are!

    *Literary Feline – Another one who loved Anna K! I’ve heard such mixed things about it. With classics, the language and depth forces me to slow down a little bit in my reading and sometimes that can be frustration. Sounds like that’s a little of what happened with you and The Woman in White. But I agree–I usually end up liking them in spite of my initial fears.

  10. Debi

    Does it make you feel any better to know that I think I’m way more intimidated than you? Or least intimidated by a lot more things. It’s so nice to see someone admit to this, because sometimes I feel alone in those feelings. I do try to push through those feelings (well, not always, of course…I’ve many a book I’ve not worked up the courage to crack open yet), and it usually is a rewarding experience. I usually find out that I’m not quite as “dumb” as I thought I was. :)

    I seem to be in the minority when it comes to knowing other readers though. Most everyone close to me is a reader. Some more than others, but most are what I would call book lovers. My husband owns more books, and gets more read, than I do. Definitely also true of my daughter. My little guys, not so much, but they do read. My parents are both readers, my brother, my two closest aunts (in fact, one was a librarian), my best girlfriend. We certainly don’t all read the same sort of things, but at least we all read. I guess I’m just pretty darn lucky on that front.

    Can’t wait to hear your 10 reasons! Not that I need convincing, of course. :)

  11. Alyce

    I don’t think I’m afraid of/intimidated by reading some books (like Brothers Karamozov) so much as I just don’t want to be bored by them. I really have to be in the right mood to pick up some of the classics. Because of the antiquated language I know that the books are going to be more of a challenge to read than modern day literature. I just finished reading A Tale of Two Cities for book club, and I never would have read it had I not needed to for the club. I hated the first half, but the second half wasn’t so bad. I think I just lack the patience sometimes to make it through a book that is boring to me. With A Tale of Two Cities I found that the Cliff Notes really helped me to understand what was going on without having to read sections over and over.

  12. Valorie

    I feel the very same as you about Hugo’s Les Miserables.

    For so many years while getting my degree I only read nonfiction. I ONLY read for classes. When I graduated college it was very hard for me to get back into the flow of reading for fun.

  13. Amy

    What an interesting post Trish!

    I think I’m intimidated by chunksters, old classics, fantasy novels, and almost all non-fiction! ;)

  14. Kristen

    I think the length of books is generally what intimidates me most although when Iw as younger, I could zip through long books far faster than I do now. But now I try to read a classic or two every year to plug some of the holes in my education. I have ended up being terribly impressed with some of them and not so impressed with others.

    Of your list, I’ve read Middlemarch (good), Satanic Verses (I too loved Midnight’s Children but didn’t love this one), Les Miserables (great), Vanity Fair (quite good), and Ahab’s Wife (surprisingly good).

  15. Laura

    I bet most people can relate to being intimidated by certain books–and classics and giant books are probably the most feared! East of Eden really isn’t a scary book at all–I promise! It might be a little long, but it does not have difficult language or anything (although I’m pretty sure I missed quite a bit of the symbolism). Anyways–it’s not too scary!! :)

    Graphic novels intimidate me. So many people love them, but I can NOT make myself pick one up. Maybe one day…

  16. Rebecca :)

    I understand your point about not everyone loving something as much as you. I feel like the biggest nerd because I love reading. Of course, all of my book blogging friends have made me feel MUCH better about this. :)

    I also often feel this way about TV. I am not a huge TV watcher. I grew up watching it. My family loved the TV and still my mom and older sister watch a lot. And I will always hear about this show or that show that ‘everyone’ is watching. I will have no idea about it. In fact, I had never watched one episode of Lost until my sister’s boyfriend introduced it to me (now I am hooked on it!). I watch a total of 4 shows and 3 of those I watch solely on Netflix. The other, Grey’s Anatomy, I also got hooked on by a friend. So watercooler talk is often not my strong spot and people think I am totally strange for it.

  17. Karen

    Complicated, intricate writing tends to intimidate me a little when I pick up a book! That makes me sound like a very lazy reader! I like to be able to connect with a book and a charecter without things feeling “over my head”.

    I also wanted to let you know that I have passed on an award to you on my blog.

  18. Melody

    I love reading your SS posts, Trish!

    For me, I came from a non-reader family. My parents don’t read since they hardly had enough money to go to school during those days (although they did have an education till Grade 6), so maybe that explains why they’ve put in lots of hope and expectations on us, and I can’t say I blame them. I know I’d want my children to excel in their studies too when they’re grown up!

    My husband don’t read either, not the way we do although he does read his computer manuals and a book occasionally. So I totally understand where you’re coming from! :P

    As for books that intimidates me, I guess serious literature and the size of the book (think War and Peace!) do that to me, haha.

  19. violetcrush

    I too am intimidated by books over 400 pages and classics and I read them for th same reason you do. I usually end up liking them.

    And yes, most of the Indian authors intimidate me, and no I end up not liking most of them, but I still try everytime (I guess being an Indian its my duty or something :) )

  20. Melissa

    I think it’s OK to be intimidated by some books. I, too, have some books on my shelves that I haven’t tackled yet, and I think that’s mainly because of intimidation. Anna Karenina is one of them, and there are a few other chunkster classics still sitting unread on my shelves, as well.

    I guess in the general sense, chunksters can be intimidating because I like to be able to get through as many books as possible and I feel like chunksters keep me from doing that. But there have been many occasions where I’ve mustered up the courage to read them (just no so much lately).

    I generally avoid nonfiction books and I always have. I’ve read a couple of biographies and a few political writings over the years, but that’s it. I’ve just never really been able to get into the nonfiction–I’d rather get swept away in a “makebelieve” story, I suppose :-)

    Great post, and welcome to the Salon!!

  21. Trish

    *Alyce – I think the potential boredom is definitely a factor with some of these books. I sometimes use Sparknotes online for additional information on books.

    *Debi – I am the first to admit that I get intimidated by some things!! Can I tell you how envious I am of your readers? I know a handful, but I would love to have more people who I can share my love of reading with.

    *Valorie – What was your degree in that you were reading so much non-fiction? LOL–I bet a lot of people would be intimidated by your reading lists! :)

    *Kristen – I think the only reason why I’m intimidated by Ahab’s Wife is because of the size. Glad to hear you liked some of the others as well. Longer books definitely intimidate me!

    *Bermudaonion – Philosophy! I hear ya!

    *Laura – I know I shouldn’t be scared of Steinbeck, but I am. :( I always feel like I’m missing out on a lot of symbolism and such with certain books. Graphic novels still kind of intimidate me but I’m getting better about seeking them out. It’s just a totally different type of reading!

    *Rebecca – I don’t watch a whole lot of TV either, but mostly because I feel like I’m wasting time. I usually try to do something else while watching TV–ironing, cleaning, sewing, etc.

    *Karen – Thank you SO much for the Zombie Chicken award!! I don’t think being a little intimidated by complicated and intricate writing makes you lazy! Sometimes it’s nice to be able to kick back with a book without feeling like it is work.

    *Melody – War and Peace–Oh man!! :) I hear you on that one. Definitely glad that we can share this bookish outlet to make up for the lack of readers in our lives!

    *Violetcrush – I’ve only read a few books by Indian authors, but I usually enjoy them. I’ll admit the ones that I’ve read have been a lot of work, though.

    *Melissa – I’m the same way with longer books–keep thinking about all the other ones I can read in the same amount of time. In terms of non-fiction, I really enjoy memoirs. You might also try travelogues as they read more like stories. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a great non-fiction book that doesn’t feel like non-fiction at all! But all in all, I know what you mean about non-fiction–I used to never read it!

  22. Trish

    *Amy – Sorry I missed yours! I’m also intimidated by fantasy, but I’ve been trying to read a little more here and there. Hope you have a great week!

  23. Jeane

    I think you should read the Steinbeck. I groaned my way through an Austen novel last week, but I never find Steinbeck so dull or tedious. I put off reading East of Eden for years, but was happily surprised how much enjoyed it when I finally did.

  24. Heather J.

    I have to put a plug in for East of Eden. It was the first book I read with my book club and we all LOVED it. Granted, we took all summer to read it, but it was worth the effort. We met for happy hour every two weeks at an outdoor restaurant and discussed a chunk of the book each time. If you don’t have the courage to read it on your own, maybe you could find someone to do what we did – I assure you that the book is excellent and there is LOTS to talk about. (But the movie, not so good, even with James Dean.)

  25. valentina

    Now that I think about it, all my close friends and my family are all readers. Some bigger than others. For Christmas for example I managed to choose one book for each of them, knowing their taste and preferences.
    My favourite conversations are about books over a pint or a cocktail. Not that I’m a big drinker, on the contrary. But slightly tipsy conversations about books with booklovers (most recently with my coworkers) are really great fun!
    So I don’t get weird looks for the amount of reading that I do. Only about my obsession for cataloguing maybe :P

    Big books don’t normally intimidate me. But I’m reluctant recently to start reading them, simply because they take too much time, and I’m impatient to read as many books as possible. But when I do, I end up with some of the most satisfying reading experiences ever. There’ s something about immersing oneself into a big book, and live in it completely, that it’s hardly achievable with shorter stories.
    This said, those books you mention DO intimidate me:)

  26. Michelle

    Classics scare me! That is why I joined the classics challenge. All of the bloggers really have inspired me to dare out and do something different than I normally would. I love the passion in all of this!!!

  27. Trish

    *Jeane – Ok, you guys win–I’m going to have to try the Steinbeck sooner rather than later! But it’s soooo long! :)

    *Heather – I’m definitely outnumbered on East of Eden. Maybe I’ll have to try it in chunks–great suggestion. OR maybe I can convince one of the girls in my book club to pick it for their month (I’ve already picked my book).

    *Michelle – Because of bloggers I’ve read so many different things that I wouldn’t have normally read. Hope the classics get a little less scary for you–I’m mostly scared of the longer and older ones.

    *Valentina – Hmmmm…cocktails and books. Sounds like a perfect combination! Most people don’t know about my obsessive cataloguing otherwise I’m sure I’d get a lot of funny looks as well. I do have a few friends at work who love to read, so we recently started up a book club. Lots of fun! And yes, I completely understand being reluctant to start a longer book–I feel the same way.

  28. Darlene

    Another great post Trish! You should read East of Eden-there is no reason to be intimidated by that one. Once you start, you will be sucked into the story and be amazed by how quickly you will read it. It’s a great book and one of my favorites. One that intimidtates me on my shelves is War and Peace and one day I intend to read it. lol.

    As for reading, I’ve kind of stopped telling people how much I read and I’m talking about those who consider themselves readers because they will always come back with how can you possibly read so much. I have way too much to do to be able to read so much-I get tired of hearing it. I read fast and I read every chance I get. People who aren’t readers like us bloggers just don’t get it.

    Oh, one last thing I’m still intimidated by Classics but I will forge on. lol.

  29. Karen Beth

    Trish, I can read long books all day long, but I am intimidated greatly by poetry. Even though I teach poetry in my literature class, I still find myself leaving those volumes on the shelf way longer than any of my Dickens tomes or Eliot epics. It’s not that I don’t think I’ll understand them, but I guess I crave the narrative so much in fiction that I am intimidated by the thought of really putting effort into something that might not satisfy me in the same way. Of the books on your list, I’ve only read Middlemarch, but mainly that’s because I haven’t had any professors that have taught the others. My reading list is hardly ever dictated by my own interests! That’s why I am enjoying the challenges. :)

  30. joanna

    I’m intimidated by the same sorts of things that you are Trish. And I also still buy those chunksters and those classics and hope that I’ll get to them some day. :-)

    I can totally relate to your comment about other people’s comments about what and how much I’m reading. I get a lot of mocking comments when I happen to be reading something YA – it doesn’t seem to matter that I read lighter books after heavier books to give my brain some balance, people still make fun of me for ‘regressing’ etc.

    As to your list, I remember reading Middlemarch in High School and liking it. In fact, it’s one of the books I recently purchased with the hope of re-reading it. :-)

  31. katayoun

    don’t know much about russian authors (though after you’ve read Dostoevsky, i hope you’d also give pushkin a try also, and pushkin is not long so that’s one point in his favor :)) but really i would really vote for Dostoevsky and you should not be intimidated by him and the length at all, if you start any of his books, they just flow, so beautifully written and so full of ideas and different views about things that you won’t notice the length, you would be lost in the story. i would say try your Dostoevsky’s, you would hopefully enjoy them alot and then would want to try all the rest :)

  32. Amateur Reader

    In some sense, over at Ye Olde Wuthering Expectations, I only write about books that some people find intimidating or over their heads (sometimes wrongly, sometimes not). That’s one reason I write about them – to cut them down to size for myself a little.

    A lot of the factors that intimidate you will fade with time. Language that seems archaic becomes ordinary the more you get used to it. Same with those Russian names. A few factors – like the time commitment for long books – may get worse!

    One thing that helps me with a long book like Vanity Fair is to remind myself that when it first came out it was serialized, and its original readers took 18 months to finish it, a few chapters at a time. So if it takes me only two months, I’m way ahead.

    Actually, Vanity Fair is a good example of a book that may take some patience to adjust to (for example, one has to get used to Thackeray’s ironic, even jokey, voice), but once you get into it, it flies. What outrageous thing will Becky Sharp do next? What outrageous thing will Thackeray say next?

    This was a thoughtful post.

  33. Thoughts of Joy

    This was an interesting post to read, Trish. Personally, I am intimidated by length. I think the intimidation stems more from getting tired of the book and/or the fear of wasting so much time if I don’t like it rather than its sheer appearance. I don’t think I’m intimidated by genres anymore – there are just some that I don’t like. That has taken years to understand and accept. East of Eden is on my TBR Shelf, as well. When I do attempt to read it, I think it’ll be done in small increments, in conjunction with other books. That way, eventually I will reach the conclusion.

  34. Clover

    I’m definately going to second the suggestion to give East of Eden a try. It’s lengthy but it doesn’t feel that way at all once you get started!

    Having said that, I’m usually really intimidated by long books. Anything over 300 pages sends me into a little panic. I keep thinking it’ll take forever to read, I’ll forget the storyline, something new will come along that I can’t resist and I’ll have wasted the time I spent reading. I don’t know why though. It seems a bit silly when I think about it.

  35. Anna

    Interesting post. I’m not sure if intimidated is the right word for me, but Russian authors come to mind right away. I think it’s because I started reading The Brothers Karamozov and realized I was bored out of my mind. I really want to read more classic literature, but at least for now, I’m just choosing books that draw my attention at that particular time.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  36. Trish

    *Dar – Well, since it is a million to one, I’m going to try and squeeze East of Eden in soon. :) I don’t even have War and Peace on my shelf because it intimidates me so much!! :) And I understand your trepidation in telling people how much you read–I’m the same way.

    *Karen Beth – Poetry is another genre that I tend to steer clear of. I enjoy it a lot, but it is more work and it is so much easier to just pick up a novel. What are you teaching in your class?

    *Joanna – I have to read more challenging books and “easier” books in rotation as well so I don’t get burned out. There is nothing wrong with YA and a lot of them are quite complex and thought provoking.

    *Katayoun – People keep telling me to read the Russian authors, and I’m not even sure what it is about them that intimidates me a little. Glad to hear that I have nothing to be afraid of!

    *Amateur Reader – LOL–can’t imagine taking 18 months to read any book–I guess those Victorians had a lot more patience for those serials. I’d love to read Vanity Fair, I just have to work myself up to the time commitment.

    *Joy – Yup, length gets me every time–even if it is a book I know isn’t going to be too difficult to digest. Small doses is a good strategy for those longer books, but sometimes I lack the patience!

    *Michelle – *Sigh* I guess I’m going to have to break down and read East of Eden soon. :) My memory is a big factor with the longer books as well, and being scared of time being wasted. Guess we gotta move on!

    *Anna – Boredom is definitely another factor. Classics usually end up really captivating my attention, but I have to give myself time–not always willing to do that! :)

  37. Paxton

    Great Post! I enjoy classics very much, if only to see where modern fiction gets some of its origins, but I too am intimidated by some of the so called “classics”.

    I would love to read Brothers Karamazov and Crime & Punishment, but they scare the crap out of me. However, I did read Three Musketeers (700+ pages) on my own in college and LOVED it. So, I don’t know what scares me so much.

    I’m hoping to tackle some Jules Verne and H Rider Haggard in the next few months.

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