Books that Intimidate Us – Let’s Discuss!

Posted February 26, 2016 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 83 Comments


There are so many books out there that we really want to read, but we haven’t gotten to for one reason or another. And then there are those books that we’d like to get to, but they just sort of … intimidate us. You know what I’m talking about. Those scary books. The kind that we’re drawn to but that also strike dread into our hearts at the very thought of them.


In my experience, there are several different types of books that do this to us. I thought that in order to help us face our fears, it might be best to categorize them. You know, study the beast in order to slay it. So, here are some of the types of books that I fear (I’m talking real, actual fear here, people – it may sound crazy, but books do this to us!):


When I was younger, I LOVED the classics. In high school, I not only read every classic assigned with zest (unlike some of my classmates who stuck to the Cliff Notes version), I read other classics during my free time (in addition to fantasy and sci fi). I was a bookish nerd and I loved it! So, what the heck happened to me? Nowadays, the thought of reading one of the classics fills me with terror. I just can’t bring myself to do it, and I don’t know exactly why. I think it might be because the classics I’ve read as an adult haven’t absolutely thrilled me, and I fear that my teenage self was somehow more sophisticated than my adult self is. That’s a scary thought! After all, I should be all cultured and refined now that I’m a grown-up, right? Or … something … ? (Yeah, I’m not buying it either.)



This is another one of those categories that I used to read more of. I used to be proud to pick up a 1,000 page book and wield it like a (not very useful, papery) weapon against those non-readers who thought I was crazy. Nowadays, not so much. The sight of a monstrous book just makes me feel like I’m facing a … monster. The reason behind this transition isn’t nearly as mysterious, though, even if it is a bit flimsy. I think it all comes down to my ginormous TBR and my need to read more books. There are SO many books that I want to get to, and it makes me look at that 1,000 page book and see it as an unworthy substitute for three other books. I mean, that book better be darn good to warrant the time I put into it!



This one is a pretty common fear, I know. We’ve all heard time and time again how fantastic this or that book is. Everyone flails over it! For me, if I read the book right away when the hype starts I’m usually okay. But if I wait … I don’t know why, but the more time passes, the harder it is for me to pick up that hyped book. It’s not that I don’t think I’ll like it (I’m not the type of person who’s usually disappointed with hyped books) – instead, it’s more like I just can’t bring myself to pick the book up. There is some unseen force around it that makes me stare at it on my shelf instead of reading it. I can’t really explain this with any sort of logic and I don’t even want to try (though Cait at Paper Fury has some interesting theories about why we avoid books we know we’ll love in her post on the subject).



There are plenty of books that I’ve heard so many amazing things about and I really want to read them, but there’s a problem. Those books are from of those other genres. Those genres that other people read but I do NOT. Ever. Why? Who knows? Now, I will say that I’ve gotten a lot better about this since I’ve been blogging. I used to pretty much only read fantasy and YA paranormal (I actually didn’t realize that I only read YA paranormal until I picked up my first book dubbed as “paranormal romance” and was completely shocked to realize what the “romance” part of that genre title meant – I’ve since become much more desensitized to this, but I was really thrown at first!), with some occasional sci-fi thrown in (only non-intimidating sci-fi that didn’t seem too technical – let’s not go crazy here, people.) Now, I’m happy to say, I’ve explored other genres – YA contemp is actually a favorite of mine, and I also read a decent amount of NA contemp as well (though I seem to be getting a little tired of it lately). But other genres? Historical romance? Nuh uh. Cozy mysteries? The name alone makes me run in the other direction. Thrillers? Not at all thrilled. Literary fiction? Too refined for me. Non-fiction???? Whooahhh there, Nelly – now that’s just craziness! I know I need to change this. I shouldn’t be afraid of these unknown genres. Heck, the few books I’ve actually read in some of them, I’ve enjoyed. But the very idea of reading books outside my comfort zone makes me tremble (and not with excitement). Maybe someday I’ll get over this fear, but probably not today.



I’ve mentioned this before in my post about how I’m a series failure, but it bears mentioning again. Somehow I am often terrified to pick up that next book in a series I’ve been loving (especially the last book). There are probably a whole host of reasons for this (that I’ve already enumerated in that other post), but I think the biggest reason is that I just have a fear of marring the impression I have of the series in my mind. That or just not wanting it to end. Either way, there are a whole slew of books that I’ve been staring at for WAY too long – books that belong to series I’ve LOVED!

What are you waiting for

I’m sure there are even more types of books intimidate me – these are just the ones I could come up with off the top of my head. For a person who loves books, they sure do scare the bejeezus out of me!

So, are there books that intimidate you? Have you found ways to overcome your fears? I want to know!




83 responses to “Books that Intimidate Us – Let’s Discuss!

  1. I think I have to say yes to all of these for one reason or another but more often than not lately long books have been ones I avoid and they are also some of the ones I’m the most excited about so it makes no sense at all LOL! I know I will get to them eventually though. 😉

  2. OMG!!! This is so me!! I can easily say yes to all of these categories except for other genres (I will literally read anything). But I am so bad at reading books in series I love. The last book in a series for me is like a mixture of a book being too hyped plus a long book (because sometimes they are like the behemoth that is Winter) plus the fact that it is in a series I love. I will never read that book no matter how much I want to. Sometimes I have to psyche myself up like actually give myself a pep talk.

  3. I am totally with you on Classics and Big Books. The classics were ones I rarely liked in school so now as an adult I don’t reach for them. My goal is to read one this year but we will see. As far as ig books go I mean the reason is obvious. Tey are so huge and take forever. I have Outlander and want to read it but I can’t bring myself to pick it up!! Hopefully this year!!

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Review ~ Try Not To Breathe
  4. I totally agree!! why must this happen to me! This describes me with such perfection, its almost too accurate… Also you know that feeling when your kind of ashamed for doing something/feeling someway and then you find out you really arent the only one? THATS HOW I FEEL RIGHT NOW!!! This post just makes so much sense to me…

  5. These are all so true! I remember walking around bookstores every day and seeing Cassandra Clare’s TMI series on their shelves for years – yes, years. I’ve always thought of reading the series but… They’re so big and… So many and… I’d definitely have to read it in one month, and I can’t waste that much time over a series! (Or can I?)

    Now, though, I’ve finally decided to read it this year. YAY.

    And as for the classics – I totally agree. Whenever I see them anywhere I just… *cringe* I don’t think they’ll ever be for me.

    And number 5! Yes! I especially feel more afraid of reading a book in a series I love especially when it’s the last book. It’s just, once you finish it you know the series will end. No more wonderful characters to read, no more mission that is left unfinished, just… It’s done. EEP.

    Mara @ Mara Was Here recently posted: Do Real-Life People Know About Your Blog?
  6. Sometimes, for me, it’s books by certain authors. There are some authors I love but I know their books are super intense and will require all my attention when reading them. Books I don’t want to have to put down for long stretches of time while the rest of my life happens. One such author is Jodi Picoult. I checked out My Sister’s Keeper from the library over a year ago (it’s one of the honor system books that doesn’t have a due date) and I just now got to it. I brought it with me to college hoping I would read it, and lo and behold, I did feel the urge yesterday. I’m such a mood reader that it took me over a year to finally get into the mood to read it, but I know it was a good thing I waited, because it’s just what I want to read right now. Coincidentally enough, it covers the very same topic that we’re discussing in one of my classes right now- my Contemporary Moral Issues class. So it was perfect timing.

    Alicia recently posted: Counsellor by Celia Aaron
  7. Things like classics and books in other genres don’t intimidate me, I just know that I don’t usually like them, so I don’t want to waste my precious time reading them. But big books do intimidate me sometimes. I feel like… if it’s a book I’m DYING to read and it sounds incredible and perfect, then the size doesn’t bother me. But if I want to read it but am a little unsure, then I get totally intimidated and put off reading it. It’s exactly what you said, there are so many other books I want to read, and I could read like three of those in the same time! I could finish an entire trilogy! Lol.

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Book Review: House of Kings (House of Royals Book 3) by Keary Taylor
  8. WELL YES. XD This is 100% my problem like I put in that post of mine you liked to (thankyou <3) hahah, so you know all my reasons for procrastinating books. Intimidation from big books = HECK YES. I mean, I even find just anything over 400 pages intimidating these days and I end up avoiding it. xD (Although, from my experiences, I've never read an uber long book that NEEDED to be as long as it was. My editing heart is bleeding, omg.) I'm pretty good about reading lots of genres though?! But I honestly shy away from historical fiction, because it's usually written in that stiff/formal style and bleh. And hardcore scifi makes me feel like a silly little moose, so I avoid that too. 😛

  9. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States…Jul 22, 2004
    by National Commission on Terrorist Attacks

    I have had this book but since I am over analyzing it, and have a paralegal and security background, I am studying it as well as reading it. I know so much about Homeland Security and changes that need to be made, it’s a scary book, it’s based on real facts and in depth detail.

  10. Oh NIcole!! This is all so true! I love classics, but there are so many new books being released, why should I spend my time reading something that was written over 100 years ago? Plus, I have those books, they won’t suddenly disappear. I also don’t think you were more sophisticated as a teenager, maybe those subject matters and the time period appealed more to you when you were younger?
    And the 1000 page book… That’s one reason why I love my kindle! It helps me kind of not realize how long a book is. Because some of those bricks are truly amazing.
    And I actually have last books in series I love still waiting to be read. And the series was finished a couple of years ago, so I can totally understand that one as well.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing your intimidating books.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Outlander – Same Story, Different Media: The Graphic Novel
  11. I love this post!! Definitely agree with SO many of these. Books from OTHER genres…. they’re scary! Those cozy mysteries??? I see a cup of tea and a cat or puppy on the cover and I’m like NO WAY IN HELL!! But hey, they might be amazing???? Also no to Adult Romance, and Historical Romance. And New Adult. Big books and Hyped books are also problematic for me. I mean, do I want to devote allllll that time to a 600 pager? Or do I want to knock off 2-3 books in that same time frame? I’m always choosing the latter. The only thing I’m really good at is finishing series. I don’t start a TON of series, so that’s probably why. But once I start a series (even if I’m not in love w/ it), I have this NEED to know where it goes and how it ends.

    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books recently posted: Share the Love (4)
  12. Most of the books that intimidate me are classics, especially big classics like Les Miserables. I’m not sure why they intimidate me so much, though – I’m usually pretty good at guessing which classics I’ll like and avoiding the others. I should be reading more because I know I’ll like them! I also get intimidated my non-fiction sometimes, just because non-fiction takes me SO much longer to read than fiction. I’m working on that one, though.

  13. I was intimidated by classics for a long time, even though I was a lit major. I think it was partly because I was made to read books in school that I was not ready for; I can appreciate them much better now. Interesting that you’re finding the opposite! I’m willing to bet there are still some classics out there that you would love, but finding them is the problem.
    I’m still totally intimidated by books that seem too long and esoteric for me. I figure that I’m not a lit major anymore so there’s no reason I HAVE to read William Faulkner or James Joyce. It’s good to branch out a little and overcome some of our fears, but there are limits.

  14. Big books intimidate me, too. A long time ago, I purchased Under the Dome by Stephen King. I haven’t read it yet. I keep saying I will, but it seems like such a chore now.

    I’m also intimidated by books that are part of a long series. If the book is, say, #32, I’m afraid to read it without reading all the other books, which is overwhelming.

  15. I think that being a full-on adult and parent and all that comes with that has definitely affected my willingness to tackle classics, big books, and serious works, as opposed to escapism. I don’t have the time or mental energy that I did as a teenager and young adult. There’s also the fact that there are SO MANY books available to me now. There were times in my life, living overseas, when I would intentionally choose those long or complex books because I needed to drag them out as much as possible, since I had limited access to books.

    I have started listening to audiobooks during my commute–well, only two so far–and am finding it’s a good way to address some of those issues. It’s certainly not time I could be spending reading something else, so both books I’ve listened to have been over 400 pages. One was nonfiction, and the other literary fiction. I am very happy with this approach!

  16. Your gifs are on point in this post haha. I can definitely relate to these fears. I’m not much of a classics reader but I did enjoy the ones I read in school. I guess I just don’t get as much of a thrill from them.
    Big books. I am terrible at buying big books and then leaving them on the shelf so they can stare at me and taunt me. I’ve gotten better at actually reading them but only in small doses haha.

    Lois @ My Midnight Musing recently posted: Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
  17. Im actually pretty bad at finishing series too even ones I love for fear of it ending badly. I’ve been easing my way into genres I dont usually read (sci-fi, paranormal) by reading books that have elements of ones I do like (historical settings for example) it works pretty well!

  18. Jen

    YES!!! Big books definitely intimidate me! I’ve been wanting to read The Lunar Chronicles, but that last book is 800+ pages. It seems daunting, especially since the rest of the books in that series are are pretty good sized too. I just need to get over it and read that series along with a few others that I’ve been avoiding!

    I was nodding right along with you about avoiding books from Other Genres! I forced myself to read more fantasy in the last few months, and I’ve discovered that I love fantasy. So this is the year I force myself to try realistic fiction. My friend bought me Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers for Christmas, and now I just need to work up the courage to start lol.

  19. This is FABULOUS, and so true. Classics… well, I was your Cliffs Notes using classmate 😉 I hated classics. Nay, I HATE classics, present tense. I haven’t found ONE that I liked. The only book I was required to read and actually didn’t hate was A Separate Peace, and that is probably because it wasn’t even that old.

    Big books are SCARY. Probably because you could read like, four regular sized books, OR one behemoth of a book… and I pick the four little guys. Every time.

    Your descriptions of the genres made me laugh! That is really how I feel about most of those too 😉 As for the series and the hyped books, I think I AM a little scared, but mostly (and sadly), it’s time for me. If I had more time (or realistically, fewer ARCs) I would probably be able to read them- BUT maybe I am purposely stalling, who knows!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: The Tsar’s Guard Parade and Giveaway: Shannon Does Russia
  20. OH NO! Not historical romances! I swear that is my guilty pleasure! But I do have books that I am intimidated to read.

    One is the classics, as you mentioned. I probably haven’t read a majority of the popular ones like Pride and Prejudice. I actually started reading it but I did not finish reading them. The only classics I have read are my favorite Jules Verne ones and Edgar Alan Poe’s shorties.

    Next up would be reality contemporaries especially those with cancer and death. This just makes me want to run and hid and just ugly cry. If reading the blurb makes me tear up, I am NOT on it!

    The third one would be LGBTQI books. It’s not because I don’t like LGBTQI characters (a few of my close friends are gay), it’s because I haven’t read a single book yet and I don’t know what to expect. Is this bad?

    The fourth one would be non-fiction books. Because again, I read to be happy and I just don’t understand spending time reading about famous people. However, I love to watch docus on TV about said famous people – just no reading!

    LOTR and the GOT series. I mean, because high fantasy really scares me. i know they are good, but I’m still scared!

    I used to read a lot of Nancy Drew growing up, but maybe that’s why I don’t pick up cozy mysteries at all! 🙂

    Any espionage/law firm court cases/medical fiction books scare me! I love watching them on TV, but reading them makes me want to go to sleep!

    Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA recently posted: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale | Book Review + Giveaway
  21. This is SO ME!! The main one that I can relate to is the classics one. I have read and loved a few of the classics, so I don’t know why I am so scared. Maybe it’s because they aren’t as action packed as the books of today. They are more character driven than plot driven and that can be boring. Or maybe it’s because some people love them so much and I am a bit scared that hating them means I am not smart. I know, ridiculous but I just can’t help it. Argh!

    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted: February Wrap-Up
  22. I’m giggling at your genres comments because I am a literary fiction geek who’s starting to branch out into fantasy and paranormal reads, again mostly because of my blog. A few authors have offered me their books and I have enjoyed them far more than I thought I would. So now I have got these whole new genres clogging up my TBR list!

    My huge booky fear is bricks though. Long books are scary. I’ve got The Luminaries and The Goldfinch on my kindle, and A Prayer For Owen Meany on my bookshelf. I want to have read them, but just can’t bring myself to start!

    • Ha! So we’re bookish opposites – I have enjoyed some literary fiction, but for some reason it intimidates me. Another commenter mentioned that since becoming a mom she uses books for escapism more often, and I think that might be true for me as well. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but it makes sense!

  23. Yea, I am totally with you on this. I haven’t even started The Game of Thrones cuz it looks massive on my shelf. It is so big it scares me. Also, I can’t seem to get motivated to read any classics. My daughter is all about reading them. She is 17 so that makes me feel like a major failure. I am always trying to recommend a book to her and she is like, “sorry Mom, I just started ready Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice”. I fail as a good influence in her reading.
    Oh and I so get you on the genre snobbery. I don’t like NA anything, and I wouldn’t touch a Cozy Mystery with a 10″ pole. Although the few books I have read “out of genre” have been really good. I just don’t want more exposure to genres that don’t sound cool. Ugh! I am such a hypocrite.

    Karen Blue recently posted: Review: RED RISING by Pierce Brown
    • I started Game of Thrones, but never finished it (actually, I don’t even know if it is finished). And I totally agree with you about my hypocrisy – WHY won’t I read certain genres when I haven’t even tried some of them (or I’ve only read one or two books in them)?

  24. I totally agree with the classics. I was the same way in high school. I devoured those books and was so proud of myself for being well read. However, I’m afraid if I go back and reread some of those books I loved when I was younger, I won’t feel the same way, so I’ve been hesitant to pick up another classic. I actually tried to read Persuasion over Valentine’s weekend and it didn’t work out. I just couldn’t seem to get into the groove. 🙁

    Big books daunt me too. You’re right. We could read 3-4 books in the time it takes to knock out a huge book. I’m a horrible series ender too. Part of that is because I have to wait for the book to release and then I never get around to it, and then too much time passes that I feel like I need to reread the others in the series. Sigh.

    Great discussion Nicole! Booktimidation is real.

    Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros recently posted: Weekly Wrap-Up: February 14-26
  25. I’ve been stalling on reading the second Outlander book because of its page count. Lately I’ve been struggling to find time to read books that aren’t even half its size, lol. I kind of gave up on the classics after reading them almost exclusively throughout high school and not really enjoying the ones we were assigned. I do love Jane Austen and Shakespeare, though, so when I am in the mood to read some classic literature, I just reread one of their works.

  26. Yes books can definitely intimidate me. I am pretty good at branching out to new genres, it is difficult at first, but it’s also so worth it. I don’t like thrillers, except if one of my fav authors write them. I love cozy mysteries since I tried the last year and still getting the hang of some other new to me genres.

    I don’t really care for the classics, not sure why, but they just don’t appeal to me. It’s not that they are intimidating, it’s just that they don’t catch my interest or at least I haven’t encoutnered any that caught my interest.

    Books in a series I love, yes those can be intimidating. I have such high expectations and realize that I do and that’s why I am so hesistant to start them as I don’t want to be disapointed.

    And also yes to big books and hyped books. I am always not sure what to expect from hyped books, so many people love them and that makes me hesistant to try them. And every book above 400 pages is daunting to me. Great post!

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #167
  27. Oh, I agree with your points about the classics and hyped books! I never loved classics in school and found them such a bore, and not I am annoyed that i’m supposed to gush about classics and how much better they are than popular fiction. SIGHS. and hyped books — anything hyped to within an inch of it’s life usually has me ignoring its existance. Like Girl on a Train and Gone girl. Haven’t picked them up and am somewhat annoyed that books are now marketed as the next one or the other of these titles 🙁

  28. Big Books are the one area that terrifies me! I’ve wanted to read Outlander for YEARS. But I haven’t because of the size (and the whole series is huge). The crazy thing is the few bigger books I have read I’ve really enjoyed, so it’s silly to be afraid of them. I’m determined to get over this fear… maybe next month lol 🙂

    Great topic!

  29. There are definitely books that intimidate me! I think being forced to read lackluster French classics in a French school scarred me with classics overall. Hyped books can easily become intimidating for fear of being a black sheep – which is usually why I avoid them until the hype dies down. Sometimes I get intimidated by books in a series I love too – either because I worry it won’t live up to previous books OR because I just don’t want it to be over in the case of the final book in the series O.O And since you know I stick to a few select genres, I kind of feel intimidated about other genres, but mostly it’s just that the need to read contemporaries just doesn’t feel as strong as for fantasy and sci-fi XD I’ve always loved big books though but when I started blogging big books would intimidate me because of the time required. Now I just say: too bad, I want to read this BEAST NOW LOL! Wonderful post Nicole^^

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted: Review: Shadows of Self
  30. Fun post, Nicole! And thought-provoking too. I think the two biggest fears I have are #’s 2 and 5. Those huge books…yeah, I’m with you on them. They’re going to take a huge time commitment and while I’m 99% sure they’re going to be worth it, I can’t help but think about all the books I won’t be reading while I’m consumed wit that HUGE tome. And series…I’m going to have to go back and read your other post but I have a feeling I’m a series failure as well. 😉 I can’t tell you how many series I am woefully behind in. It’s sad. And it’s paralyzing too. There are some that I’ve barely started and those I lack only the last book. <–those I just can't seem to say goodbye to So anyway, great discussion on our book fears. 😀

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