This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic over at The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read.” You know, the books that, for whatever reason, you have to gird your loins to pick up. There are many reasons why a book may be hard to pick up and get through: difficult language, difficult topics, it’s badly written, it’s heavy…
As many have done, I’m going to mix up my list with books that made me gird for various reasons.
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
Reason for Girding: I really like this book but, because of scheduling issues, I ended up taking a flobbityjillion Modern British Novel classes at University and had to read this S.O.B in every. single. one. My eye now twitches every time someone brings it up.
Paradise Lost by Milton
Reason for Girding: I had to take the study of this novel as an online course with no inspiration to read it and the whole experience just sucked the lower, hanging parts of the male genitalia.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Reason for Girding: I’m not Stephen Hawking. It was all hard and stuff. But, I loved it.
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Reason for Girding: I was 13 when I found this on my dad’s bookshelf and I really didn’t want to know what boys my age were doing with/in/on the family dinner steaks…and virtually every thing else in the house.
Dance on the Earth by Margaret Laurence
Reason for Girding: It’s the last book she left the world and I love her work so much that I don’t want to finish it until my last breath.
City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer
Reason for Girding: This excellent read is considered confusing and off-putting by many, but my reason for girding is that I don’t do rape scenes (which cuts out A LOT of books and movies for me, a subject I will rant about later) and there was a small one in this and it made me a little afraid to go on.
Le Cote de Guermantes by Marcel Proust
Reason for Girding: Dude, it was long and in French and I didn’t read it for a class or anything. Be frikkin’ impressed. It was also excellent.
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Reason for Girding: I read all of the Twilight series and thought they were very addictive, but I of course disliked all the sexist horse crap, and this book was the worst in the series. The protagonist literally spends the whole book trying to do things to make herself almost die so that her vampire lover will come back to save her. This book got thrown across the room several times before I finished it. It’s excrementally bad.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
Reason for Girding: This book is actually not a difficult read, it is merely written well and the author likes to write in a round-about storytelling way. But, I hadn’t read anything even remotely difficult since the closing of Greenwoods,’ so I found the concentration level I had to enable while reading it to be much higher than I was used to. I’m so glad it brought me back to deeper reads. It was awesome.
Le passe-muraille by Marcel Ayme
Reason for Girding: I plan to read next – it’s a pre-girding thing – and I haven’t read a novel in French in 6-7 years. I’m extremely scared to start realizing how much French I have lost and am not looking forward to lugging around a dictionary with me on the bus so that I can read it on my daily travels about the city. Wish me luck!
Since reading The Sparrow, I have been thinking a lot about the tough reads that are good to get through, the ones that make you think and feel and grow and that take a good long time and that stick with you for a good long time. I would like to start reading more of them again. I feel out of practice and I feel like being in practice again, not that I don’t love me a good junky read, too! I just don’t want to feel so intimidated by the toughies anymore.