So, as you might expect, I have too many books on my to-be-read (TBR) pile. I have abandoned some to a lonely life on my bookshelf for too long. That’s why one of my reading goals this year is to read more of the books I already own. But, why oh why, have I abandoned these books in the first place? Am I just not interested in them anymore? Am I intimidated by them? Did I impulse buy them? All great questions, and I didn’t have answers for some of the books on my shelf.
Now, I saw this tag on Booktube (from Peruse Project’s video) not too long ago and decided it might be a good option to winnow down my unread book list, a chance to get down to the heart of the reason for my abandonment. Without further ado, here are my picks for the Intimidating TBR Tag.
A book you just haven’t finished
I have many of these. I’ll pick something up and either get distracted with another book or just put it down. These are the books that I haven’t really dnf-ed (‘did not finish’), but I just haven’t finished them. Out of all those, there is one that I’m most annoyed at having not finished, and that is The War of the Roses by Alison Weir. The War of Roses is a historical non-fiction that chronicles the War of Roses, also sometimes known as the Cousins’ War, as the Lancaster and York families battled for the British throne for much of the fifteenth century. I got almost exactly halfway through this excellent history book, and then my grad school semester started (not recently, in fact, an embarrassingly long time ago), and I just never picked it back up. That changes this year!
A book you just haven’t had the time to read
Graduate school definitely hampered my ability to read for pleasure. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, but when I read throughout the semester, I found that I couldn’t quite dedicate myself to the books as much as I wanted. However, the sad thing about this next book is that I’ve had it for eight years, and I’m still claiming I haven’t had time for it. My boyfriend bought Les Miserables by Victor Hugo for me when I was in high school, and I still haven’t read it. I even mentioned it in my classics I want to read this year post. To be fair, this novel could also fulfill the length question because it’s massive at 1,231 pages in my edition. Don’t get me wrong, I really want to read this book, but it’s always felt like one I need to dedicate thought and undivided attention to, so I’ve never picked it up, having been in school for almost all of those eight years. Now that I’m done with school (for now!), I’m prioritizing this book.
A book you haven’t read because it’s a sequel
I’m pretty good at getting to sequels. In fact, there’s nothing I love more than a good series binge, which is why I’m usually behind on reading series because I want access to all the books right away. However, there are a few sequels I haven’t read yet, and I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m no longer interested or I just forget about them. I do want to give an honorable mention for this question to Extras by Scott Westerfield, which is a book I’m actually interested in and for some reason just never read. However, the one I’d say I’m most interested in reading (and also splurged on the hardcover edition) is Restore Me by Taherah Mafi. Now, I wouldn’t say I absolutely love the Shatter Me series, and in fact, I have some issues with it. But, Taherah Mafi is just such a good writer, so I would read anything she writes. This one is intimidating to me because I think I know I won’t enjoy it wholeheartedly but is still one I want to read.
A book you haven’t read because it’s brand new
I’m usually very picky about picking up new releases. Partly because I just really prefer paperbacks, so if I buy a hardcover book, it has to be one I’m really excited about. With that said, there is one brand new-ish book on my shelf that I haven’t yet read: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern last year, and I really enjoyed it, and I knew how anticipated this new book was for many folks. So, I gave into the hype and bought it. Of course, this could also fit for the cover question because this cover is absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily intimidated by this book, but I also know that Erin Morgenstern has a very specific writing style that doesn’t work for everyone. While I enjoyed The Night Circus, there were some times I found myself re-reading portions because her writing is just so lyrical that it can be difficult to follow sometimes. I’m hoping that The Starless Sea is just as wonderful and lyrical but captures my attention and holds onto it tightly.
A book by an author you read previously but didn’t really enjoy
Typically, I don’t read books if I haven’t enjoyed an author in the past. I’m sure there are a few exceptions to this on my shelves, but this one was a little more difficult to choose. So, this one might be cheating a little bit. I’m going to say Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Now, I read and enjoyed The Unexpected Everything last year; however, I also read Second Chance Summer, and I didn’t enjoy it near as much. So overall, I’d say my history with Morgan Matson is mixed, but I’m looking forward to Since You’ve Been Gone. I’ve heard great things about this one and am excited to cross it off my list this year. This definitely feels like the perfect summer book, so don’t be surprised if you see this on a summer TBR list from me soon.
A book you’re just not in the mood to read
I consider myself to be a mood and seasonal reader. I’ll save ~spooky~ books for October, contemporary books for summer and love a good fantasy in the winter. Typically, colder months are also the time when I pick up the most historical fiction. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one that has so much hype around it, and I’ve heard really amazing things about this book. For some reason, though, I just haven’t been in the mood to read it. Partly, I think this is because I’ve heard it’s a sad book, which I would expect as it chronicles the lives of two sisters during World War II in France during German occupation. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for a sad, atmospheric tale, so I’ll wait until that feeling comes and pick up this novel immediately.
A book you haven’t read because it’s enormous
I have many books that could fall into this category. Most of them are non-fiction biographies or histories, but there are a couple in particular that are top of my list. A few honorable mentions in this category include FDR by Jean Edward Smith and John Adams by David McCullough. However, the book that tops all is Victoria The Queen by Julia Baird. I’ve had this book on my shelves for about four years, and its size has always intimidated me. The page count isn’t too awful, clocking in at about 500 pages, but this is large book with a ton of words on each page. I love history and especially women’s history, but I don’t know much about Queen Victoria, which I hope to rectify by finally reading this one.
A book you bought because of the cover
I have a confession to make: I do indeed judge books by their covers. Everyone does to some extent, right? If not, nobody would bother designing book covers. Now, I try not to judge books only by their covers, but I can’t say that they don’t influence me. The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor was definitely a collection I bought because of the cover. I had read some Flannery O’Connor for school before, and I’d been interested in reading more. But, I’m not sure I would have bought this book if not for the absolutely beautiful cover. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to dive into these stories, but I hope to change that soon.
The book you find most intimidating
Well, we have arrived. The most intimidating book on my unread pile of books is The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein. I’ve read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and of course also adore the movies. For some reason, though, I am deeply intimidated by The Silmarillion. This is probably because it’s rather dense – or at least I believe it to be. This novel chronicles the history of Middle Earth during the First Age, where creation and rebellion shaped the ancient events prior to the classic tales from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. This is one book that I don’t want to force myself to read, because frankly, I don’t think it would make for a very enjoyable time; however, I would like to at least give this a try.
So, there you have it. This is the Intimidating TBR Tag with some of the books that I haven’t picked up for one reason or another. Have you read any of these books? Which do you suggest I pick up first? Let me know down in the comments and keep reading.