Top Ten Books on My TBR that Terrify Me

Posted September 12, 2019 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss, Top Ten Tuesday / 53 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
I know I’m late for TTT this week, but I love this topic, so I thought I’d just post a Top Ten Thursday instead (I mean, it still uses the same acronym, so it works, right?)

Top Ten Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why
(AKA Top Ten Books on my TBR that Terrify Me)

Oh, I have plenty of books I’ve been avoiding for various reasons. I will do my best to puzzle out why!

I realized that I basically just could have put my list for The Official 2019 TBR Pile Challenge here (I include the list in my monthly wrap-up every month). I specifically chose the books for this challenge because I’d wanted to read them for FOREVER but had been putting them off for one reason or another. I’m happy to say that out of the 14 books on that list, the challenge has gotten me to read 6 of them. That’s a big win, in my book!

But, since I already mention those books every month, I thought I’d try to think of a separate list. I have lots of books I avoid reading, so it wasn’t too hard.

1. Replica (and Ringer) by Lauren Oliver

I have MAJOR guilt over not reading these because I got both of them at conferences (BEA or ALA, I think?). I stood in line for Replica for over an hour and had lively conversations with the publishing people about how good the book is, which direction they preferred reading the book, etc. I met Lauren Oliver and she signed the book (and she was lovely!). I brought the book home, eager to read it. And then … didn’t. I honestly don’t know why except that I’d built the book up so much in my mind and then I read some so-so reviews and got scared that I wasn’t going to love it as much as I’d hoped.

But I was determined to fix that problem when I saw Ringer the following year at another conference. I picked it up, just knowing that I would now be sure to read them both. The plan was perfect! And I still haven’t read either of them. The guilt is real.

2. The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

I won the first book in this series (The Final Empire) years ago from Kritika @ Snowflakes and Spider Silk. She raved about this series, and I was sure it would be perfect for me. But the more time went by where I didn’t actually read it, the more I just sort of put it out of my mind. And yet, every time I’d see Kritika around the blogosphere, I’d have this niggling sense of guilt over the fact that I still hadn’t read it. Well, Kritika stopped blogging over a year ago, but now this book just has terrifying associations with it for me. I’m crazy, I know.

3. Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

I still consider Robin Hobb my all-time favorite fantasy author. Her books were staple reading for me in my college years and beyond. I read each of them immediately when they were released and I LOVED them. But when I started blogging and reading SO MANY MORE books, I found these giant tomes pretty daunting (I have three million books on my TBR—super long books stress me out now!). Plus, my brain is filled with so many more characters nowadays, I think I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember good old Fitz as well and I wouldn’t enjoy the books as much. So now I have two Robin Hobb books on my shelf that I haven’t read, and that fact makes me very sad!

4. Confess by Colleen Hoover

I LOVED Hoover’s YA books, and then I branched out into her NA. I still think of Maybe Someday as one of my favorite books of ever. But then, after that, something scary started to happen. I wasn’t loving Hoover’s subsequent NA books. The relationships all felt a little too toxic to me and I wasn’t rooting for these people to get together (Ugly Love was especially heavy on the ugly and short on the love, in my opinion.) The thing is I ADORE Hoover herself—she’s hilarious on social media and just seems like an all-around wonderful person. Her Maybe Someday tour is still one of the best book events I’ve ever been to. I think I stopped reading her books because I got scared that I wasn’t going to love them and I would taint my impression of Hoover in my mind. I decided to stop while I was ahead(ish). So, even though I own Confess, I still haven’t read it.

5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Do I even need to explain why this book terrifies me? I could use it as a doorstop. I actually signed up for a reading challenge to read a chapter a day of the book last year, but I ended up falling behind and eventually giving up. But I LOVE the musical, and one day I will conquer this book. Probably.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Another book that everyone talks about. This one falls outside of my reading comfort zone, though. I think I’ve always been afraid it’s going to be too literary for me, so I’ve never managed to pick it up. (I have no idea if that impression is even based on reality, though.)

7. The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck

I went to a conference a few years ago and was so convinced that Houck’s series would be perfect for me that I bought ALL of the books to have signed. Only, I think having all five of the books on my shelf staring at me actually backfired. The series feels like too much of a commitment to me now! (I actually have several other series that I’ve done the same with: The Legend AND The Young Elites Series by Marie Lu, The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi, and more!)

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Everyone and their uncle raves about this book. I KNOW I should read it. I even bought it awhile back. I was sure that when the movie came out I’d read the book so I could watch the movie. But I just haven’t gotten to it. I think the sad storyline makes me put it off a little, but I’m actually a sucker for a sad story, so that shouldn’t be the case. I don’t have a good explanation for this one!

9. First & Then by Emma Mills

Even though everyone loves this book, and it’s probably a quick contemporary read, and I won an ARC, so it’s been sitting on my shelf since before it was released four years ago, in my mind it’s a football book. And I’m just not into football. (And my sense of weird guilt over never reading this one has kept me from reading her subsequent books too, even though everyone raves about them. Weird, I know.)

10. Lots of Neal Shusterman books

The Unwind Series is, without a doubt, my favorite series of all time. I honestly believe that Neal Shusterman is a genius—his books always make me think about the world in new ways; they present a myriad of questions but no easy answers. And yet, I haven’t read that many other of his books. I read (and loved) Scythe, but I still haven’t gotten to Thunderhead, and I also own Dry but haven’t read it. WHY?!?! I think this is another case of fear: Since Unwind was my all-time favorite there’s a part of my brain that thinks nothing else can ever measure up, and that stops me from picking up his latest books.

What books have you been avoiding? I want to know!


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53 responses to “Top Ten Books on My TBR that Terrify Me

  1. Confess is still one of my favorites from Colleen Hoover. I knew I was in for it when I sobbed during the prologue. LOL It was hard to read at times… the main character was trying so hard to play by the rules when other were not… but I was totally invested in the story. I hope you’ll love it if you ever decide to give it a try!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted: WWW Wednesday #61 | September 11, 2019
  2. Okay I’m legitimately cackling because I saw this on people’s blogs and decided to do it tonight so I can post it while it’s Thursday ?? So in case there was any doubt left that our brains are the same… here we are.

    Also read Dry. You might not love it as much as Unwind and Scythe but it’s definitely still good. Very good.

  3. OH MY GOD, I’M SO RELIEVED THAT YOU HAVE REPLICA ON HERE. Because I’ve not read it yet either and I’m fairly certain I’ve had it for a century now? (Granted, it’s not THAT old but maybe in YA years it’s that old. Joking. Mostly.) Anyways, we both need to get to that ASAP or else. Or else what, I’m not really sure, I didn’t think that far ahead, okay? Like, threats aren’t my thing. I once dropped my television controller and APOLOGIZED to it and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing re: intimidating tactics.

    Woah, that went off track really quick. I love the musical for Les Miserable too! Definitely a favourite. I tried reading Hugo in the past but he and I just don’t seem to mesh in terms of writing. I like it just fine but I couldn’t focus on it, you know what I mean?

    Here’s to hoping that if ever you get to any of these books, you enjoy them!

    • So many people love her books. And I’ve heard that this one isn’t even all that much about football, but for some reason whenever I think about reading it, I get this meh feeling and the football part pops into my mind. I know I’m being irrational—I just need to get over it and pick it up one of these days!

    • Yep, November 9 is another one that I read that I just couldn’t quite get on board with. I didn’t specifically dislike that one the way I did Ugly Love, but I wasn’t a huge fan either. That was the last one I read—I can’t bring myself to read the others in fear of tarnishing my thoughts of Hoover’s books further!

  4. I know what you mean about Robin Hobb. I’ve only read one of her books, and I really liked it, but I hesitate before getting into the whole multi-volume saga — it’s just so long! If I’d read her when I was younger and had more time I would have inhaled them.

    I don’t think The Night Circus is too “literary” for you but I found it a bit precious, too convoluted and self-conscious in its language for me to enjoy it. It’s the kind of thing where you could read a chapter or two and know if you’re going to love it or not, so you might want to just do that. Some people find it just fabulous.

    As for Les Mis, it is a huge commitment to read the whole thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying an abridged version that will give you the overall sweep of the story and a flavor of Hugo’s language, without all the digressions. But it will still be long!

    Lory recently posted: Doctors playing God: Awakenings
  5. I don’t know about all of these books, but I do know you should read A Monster Calls, Night Circus, and Les Mis. I read an abridged version of Les Mis and it was perfectly fine. Maybe you can swing back and read the whole thing some day, if you want. Night Circus was a book I avoided for many years, but, when I finally got around to reading it, I found it was quite lovely. And A Monster Calls is wonderful if sad story.

  6. Les Mis is a giant endeavour. I read a little bit every day (a chapter or two at most) and ended up finishing it in about 6 months. Did some parts suck? Of course. Was it worth it? Yes, definitely.

    As for First & Then, it’s not really a football book. Football’s like the back drop of the story. The characters and the romance are the central focus. I thought it was super cute and it’s my favorite Emma Mills book. It had major Pride and Prejudice vibes, if you like that story.

    And I don’t think The Night Circus is too literary. I usually avoid literary fiction and hate it because it’s boring and I adored The Night Circus. It has a good blend of fantasy and historical and whimsy.

    Hope that helps and good luck with reading!

    • I just mentioned to another commenter that I’m not sure where I even got the idea that The Night Circus is “literary”—it doesn’t sound like it would be from the description. But once it got labeled that way in my head, it stuck! I definitely still want to tackle Les Mis. One day it will happen!! (But I’ve been saying that since high school, which was … a long time ago.)

  7. Long books stress me out, too! Even when I know I have enjoyed everything else by that author. (I have several Connie Willis books on my TBR that I’ve been avoiding because of page count.)

    I didn’t find The Night Circus to be too literary, but of course your mileage may vary. I found it a little light on the obvious fantasy aspect, though of course the book wouldn’t exist without magic. Most of the magic is hidden, though, where you know it’s there but it’s not always onscreen.

    • It’s funny because I don’t even know what gave me the impression that The Night Circus is “literary”—somewhere along the way, I read or heard something that gave me that sense and I’ve just always held onto it (for no real reason other than it was an impression that stuck).

  8. I hear you on Colleen Hoover! Something similar happened to me with Jennifer Armentrout’s books. All of a sudden they just didn’t click with me anymore. I started finding more bad than good in them. Not all books are for everyone. We just have to learn to deal and move on unfortunately :/

  9. Megan

    OMG you crack me up. I’m reading *Wuthering Heights* right now for the first time, and I don’t know why I’ve put it off for so long, since *Jane Eyre* is one of my all-time favorites. And technically, I’m not actually *reading* it, since I’m listening to it on Audible (they had that $5 sale a few weeks ago, and I stocked up on unread classics). I’m not loving it with anything like the devotion I feel for Jane, but I am loving the reading by Joanna Froggatt, better known as Anna, the maid in Downtown Abbey. Fabulous performance.

    I never read *Go Set A Watchman* because I’m convinced Harper Lee wasn’t in her right mind when they published it, and I love *To Kill a Mockingbird* so much. I also am afraid to read Margaret Atwood’s *The Testaments* for the same reason. *The Handmaid’s Tale* seemed so perfect without any sequel. What if it doesn’t measure up?!

    Everyone keeps talking about *Where the Crawdads Sing* and so I’m cynically reluctant to read it. I fear it will be another *Bridges of Madison County* (gag). It’s a completely unreasonable and irrational resistance.

    • I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read Jane Eyre OR Wuthering Heights. Honestly, I haven’t read many classics since my high school days (when I LOVED them and read many). I’ve been thinking lately of trying to get a few classics via audiobook—I’ll have to make Jane Eyre a priority.

  10. I ADORED A monster calls but will never read it again. That book totally undid me. I spend the night sobbing, Too close to home! I do recommend it though (given this trigger warning, a love done dying of cancer )

    The Night Circus… I actually just bought it to force myself to read it LOL

    I think you may be right! I think is very literary so I have DNFed twice!

    BUT I know most of the time it’s me not the book so I always try again

  11. I loved Challenger Deep by Shusterman but haven’t read his other books & Dry is my ALA guilt book that I need to read.

    I’ve also had The Night Circus (signed) and on my shelf for YEARS. I haven’t read it for the same reason. A friend had gifted it to me and I feel awful.

    And there are a lot of those YA/NA books that I can’t read anymore despite loving the authors in person.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  12. I don’t really purposely avoid most books – though sometimes if the book is really long, it gets pushed to the side because I know it will take forever. LOL I want to read more of the books that I own, and continue with series, like Scythe…loved that, need to read the second book. LOL I also own, and need to read, A Monster Calls.


  13. Okay, first of all, go ahead and read Confess, if you liked Maybe Someday, you’ll love this one too. I also have an ARC of Replica that I traded for but still haven’t read. And I loved her Delirium series! I loved the Unwind series too, and know that I will probably love the Scythe series by Shusterman, but have yet to start it. Fun post!

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: ARC Review: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
  14. If you read any of the ones on this list, do read A Monster Calls! And I also feel immense guilt for still not having tried a Sanderson, Hobb or Hoover book before. I definitely need to get on that train. I tried one Shusterman story and I didn’t love it, but I want to try some of the other books by him!

    Olivia Roach recently posted: August Wrap Up! [2019]

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