Each week, The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly booking meme. This week, we’re talking about books that were difficult for us to get through.
And oh man, do I have a list. I have several lists, based around several reasons. I’m going to have a difficult time keeping this down to 10. As a life-long reader who has also spent 10+ years in college studying English, I’ve read a lot of books, and I have a very difficult time not finishing one that I’ve started. (Incidentally, I’m the same way about movies or TV shows that I’ve started watching. It’s a compulsion to see it through.) But I’ve definitely been subjected to some things that I didn’t fancy or that were so difficult on an emotional level that I didn’t want to keep reading.
So here, at least, are the 10 that I can think of first, which I take to mean they were some of the most difficult, and the varying reasons I found them difficult3:
1. New Moon, Stephanie Meyer.
I read this, and the other books in the series, pretty quickly. This was the one that I found the most tedious with the fewest moments of redeeming quality, mostly because there’s so much whinging and brooding in the first 3/4 of the book.
2. Moby Dick, Herman Melville.
It’s long and tedious, and it took me so long that the class I read it for was over before I finished the book, but I read it. There are beautiful moments of prose, and there’s all sorts of neat stuff to be found in the book, but it’s complex. It meanders for hundreds of pages at a time.
3. American Psycho, Brett Easton Ellis.
When I was assigned the book for a class called “Masculinity in Contemporary Literature,” I was pretty excited. I’d loved the film version for years already, and I knew it would inspire an interesting seminar meeting. But I was unprepared for the descent into Bateman’s character, and I found the last 75 pages so disturbing that I had to convince myself to keep reading.
4. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien.
I took a Tolkien class in college, and sections from this were required. I wanted to gobble up everything Tolkien wrote, though, so I started reading this. It took me a while, and it was really difficult, but I very much enjoyed the reading.
5. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes.
I read this one for comps. It’s very short but so very dense, too, a modernist novel with prose that is beautiful but enigmatic.
6. Deliverance, James Dickey.
I’ve read this twice, both times for a course, and it was difficult to read both times. Like the film version, the novel is a masterpiece of timing and character. The book, though, manages to be somehow more sinister. A Southern Gothic masterpiece.
7. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn.
I really didn’t like this book. Every character was despicable, and I just couldn’t make myself care about what was happening.
8. Gender Trouble, Judith Butler.
While the ideas are fascinating and well-reasoned, Butler’s syntax and academic prose are really hard to navigate, especially as they’re used to explain such complex ideas.
9. Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault.
Postmodernist theories about power, punishment, and historical narratives. I was 19 when I first read it and had a very difficult go of it.
10. Dune, Frank Herbert.
I’d heard a lot of positive things about the book, and I wanted to give it a go. I’d enjoyed other sci-fi and fantasy works, but Herbert’s work was just too dry, too awkwardly paced.
Look for Wordless Wednesday and Thirteen Thursday this week! I missed last week’s coffee post due to being out of town, but we’ll be back this week. :)