Musings From A Bookmammal

Musing Mondays–Bookish Intimidation


Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or, you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week–

Have you ever been intimidated by a book?

goldfinchI read a lot in many different genres and about a lot of different topics. I’m not afraid of lengthy books—in fact, I spent a good part of one summer reading Robert Caro’s award winning, multiple volume set of biographies on LBJ—thousands of pages in all—and I LOVED every day of it! So I don’t think I’m the type of person who’s afraid to get in there and dig into a challenging book.

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, however, has me feeling very apprehensive and, yes—intimidated.

I’ve read and enjoyed Donna Tartt’s previous books—The Little Friend (liked it) and The Secret History (REALLY liked it!). Neither of those were what I’d call easy, light reads—but they were both well worth the effort and time it took to read them. I’ve been looking forward to reading Goldfinch ever since the buzz began. At least one of my blogging buddies has read it and given it a five-star review (Kwizgiver, I’m looking at YOU!)—but I just can’t seem to convince myself to get started.

I bought Goldfinch for my kindle about a month ago—it was on sale for a ridiculously low price, I knew it would be forever until I got to the top of the hold list at my library, and I didn’t like the idea of toting around a 700+ page book anyway. Plus, it’s not a book I’m going to whip through in a weekend. So it’s here . . .  waiting . . . just waiting for me to hit that touch screen and begin reading.

I can’t do it!

Maybe I’m afraid that I just don’t have the time right now to devote to such a long, involved novel. Maybe it’s that I’ve got such a big stack of library books right now that I’m trying to make my way through. Maybe I’m worried that it just can’t live up to the hype. At any rate, I’m hoping that one of these days . . . weeks . . . months. . . I’ll be ready to take the plunge and jump in. And one of the great things about books is that it’ll still be here when I’m ready to do so.

How about you? Are there any books that you’ve been reluctant or intimidated to begin reading? Have you read The Goldfinch, is it on your TBR list, or is it a book that you’re just not into? Any encouraging words to convince me to get started? Please share!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

40 thoughts on “Musing Mondays–Bookish Intimidation

  1. I’ve been wanting to read Divergent already yet again book signing tours are lots here so I have no time! We can do this!! (ps check out my blog? hehe newbie here )

  2. I’ve seen the Goldfinch around, but I agree. Sometimes it is a little harder to start a book 😀 Just those books you know you really have to commit to!

    • I think that’s a big part of it–I know Goldfinch is going to take a pretty big chunk of time and while I welcome the challenge, I just don’t think I have the time for that kind of commitment right now! (People who are not booklovers just do not understand how this can be a factor!)

  3. I know exactly what you mean, I put off The Goldfinch for a couple of months. But it was worth it. Like I said in my post, a couple of times I was going to put it down but then something happened in the plot and I was rejuvenated in reading!

  4. I understand. I bought The Goldfinch months ago because of all the good things that I’ve been hearing about it. I did start it but then decided I wasn’t ready to read it yet, and read something shorter.

    • It’s so true that there are times when we’re just not ready for a particular book–and it’s funny how sometimes the right book just happens to show up at exactly the right time!

  5. I haven’t made my way through The Book Thief yet. I also held off on watching the movie until I’ve read the book. I started it for the virtual book club I participate in, but the odd narration by death in the beginning was distancing. I hate being confused when I read. I have to have a firm grasp on what is going on. Once Liesel gets to her foster family’s home it is much easier to tackle, but I haven’t made the time to finish it–even though many have raved about it.

    Hope you’ll visit

    • Oh–The Book Thief! That’s another one I haven’t tackled yet. For some reason I just don’t think I’m in the right space to read it yet–I’m not sure why. I haven’t seen the movie either because I’m sure that I will read it at some point, and I always like to read the book first.

  6. I have been putting off Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru for quite sometime now 😦
    And yes, Goldfinch is definitely on my TBR but I’m not planning to buy it anytime soon – with lots of unread books and exams round the corner, I don’t think I’m ready to take the plunge now ! Advice based on past experience is this – put it out of your mind for now completely and one day you will suddenly find yourself picking it up 🙂

  7. I feel exactly the same about The Goldfinch! I too bought it when it was cheap on Kindle but I’ve never got round to reading it.

    The thing that intimidates me is ALWAYS the length of a book. No question. I’m not averse to difficult topics or unusual stories and I’ll give anything a go (I’m made of stern stuff), but the number of pages is the one thing that will put me off. Anything above 500 gives me serious concern, purely because I know it will take a big chunk of my time to finish it.

    • Length of a book doesn’t really bother me–I like nothing more than digging into a big, thick novel that’s filled with good writing. I think it’s more the content of this one-I know I’m going to need to take my time to really appreciate the plot and characters–and that’s not a bad thing! It’s just more than I think I want to take on right now.

  8. I haven’t read this author…and long books don’t intimidate me, unless they are the slow, plodding kind. I read through Stephen King’s 11/22/63 very quickly….but if a book is not a book with which I engage, I can’t seem to make myself stick to it.

    The Goldfinch does not sound like a book I would engage in, but I’m curious about it.


  9. I’m one of the minority who really think The Goldfinch is seriously over-rated – even though I loved The Secret History. But even though I didn’t enjoy it, I’m glad I read it just because it’s been such a huge phenomenon. In general, though, I’m getting very tired of huge lengthy books – mostly they’re full of unnecessary padding and would be better with a good edit. Having said that, I did enjoy The Luminaries…

  10. Yes I have. In fact right now I have Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings on my Kindle and just cannot make myself start it. Why? I think in this case it is the length and my TBR pile is so high. Here is my musing. Mixed Book Bag

  11. I’ve heard so much about the gold finch. It’s might be giant stack of library books waiting to be read.

  12. I’ve been intimidated by a few books. Or maybe not intimidated as such, but definitely weary of reading. I haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, even though all 3 books are on my shelf, because I’m afraid of not liking it. And I’m definitely intimidated by Anna Karenina. I think you just have to pick it up and start, and once you’ve started you’ll just keep going. But it is hard while you’ve got another pile of non-intimidating books to read.

  13. Good luck with this one! I was intimidated by it at first too. Once I started reading it was an easy read but also seemed to go on forever! (not sure if I’m making sense haha)

  14. If I do not like a book, I simply give up and move on to the next!

    Here is my Musing post.

  15. I was definitely intimidated by The Luminaries – just the sheer size of the book and from what reviews I’d read. Once I got into it though and made that start it was fine. For me the size of a book can really be intimidating or the “heaviness” of a book like say War and Peace or Les Mis. Great topic 🙂

    • I’m not usually intimidated by the number of pages–it’s more the content that whether or not I’ll be able to truly appreciate it that generally makes me hesitate.

  16. I felt the same way about The Goldfinch, but then I HAD to read it because my book group chose it. I am so glad I took the plunge and committed the time to it — it’s really wonderful.

    • That’s definitely a big plus about book clubs–a little extra push to break out of your comfort zone and being accountable for reading something out of the ordinary.

  17. Pingback: Sunday Post #7 | Girl of 1000 Wonders

  18. Yep! The Goldfinch hasn’t even made my TBR list because I have some other great big books I want to read this year. And, I’m having a hard time getting to those because they are so intimidating!

  19. Worrying that something won’t live up to the hype is a huge reason… even though I like to say that I don’t pay attention to hype, there’s just no way to ignore it completely; being aware of it can help lessen its influence, but it does still have an influence.

    For me it’s a whole series I’m afraid to start – Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

    • I agree–I try not to let hype affect my reading, but it’s tough when there is SO MUCH buzz about a particular book or series. I will sometimes deliberately let quite a bit of time go by–and let the hype die down–before I finally start a book.

  20. OMG. Are you in my head? I bought THE GOLDFINCH, probably in the same Kindle sale that you did… but it SCARES me! I’m in the middle of bar preparation which requires much deep and important thinking… and honestly… all the prizes have me pretty intimidated.

    • I remember when I was studying for my Master’s comps–all I had time to read was textbooks, class notes, and journal articles. Once I finally the test, all I wanted to do was read a bunch of really trashy novels! It took me awhile before I was ready to tackle anything that was going to require me to THINK. 🙂

  21. I am intimidated by Ulysses. Will I understand it? Will I feel like it goes on forever? Am I intelligent enough to even attempt it? Ack! I’ve psyched myself completely out.

  22. I loved The Goldfinch and hurtled through it, but thought The Secret History was overrated! Maybe it depends on whether you read a book before the hype or not! (I read an ARC of The Goldfinch.) I’m intimidated by Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, and will probably never attempt it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s