I spotted this meme at Kath Reads (it was created by The Broke and the Bookish), and decided to also post my answers to it. We may be avoiding reading certain books on our TBR lists for a variety of (rational and not-so-rational) reasons. We may feel that we simply must be in the right mood for certain books or have enough time in our planners to finish really heavy tomes. Below are ten books from my TBR list which I have been avoiding reading because (i) they are too big and/or complex; or (ii) I receive conflicting messages whether I would love them; or (iii) I want to love them, but I am afraid I will not (for example, because I loved an author’s previous work), etc.
I. 2666  by Roberto Bolaño
The sheer size and complexity of 2666 mean that I keep avoiding reading it. Bolaño’s last book is 1126 pages’ long, and its themes are manifold. It talks about ongoing murders of women in one violent city, but also touches upon the World War II, mental illness, journalism and the breakdown of relationships and careers, among other themes – a monumental work, in many respects.
II. The White Castle  by Orhan Pamuk
I have been meaning to read Pamuk’s books for ages. This Turkish novelist is also the winner of the Nobel Prize, and his book The White Castle is about an Italian scholar who is taken prisoner in Constantinople. I guess I have to be in the right mood to open my mind to Pamuk’s writing style, language and story.
III. Machines Like Me  by Ian McEwan
I admire the writings of Ian McEwan, and it will be interesting to explore the reach of new technological advances (artificial intelligence (AI)) in his latest book. However, I also feel like I “know” this book without reading it. In this book, an AI robot supposedly gets between two people in one alternative London. One of these days I will pick up and read this book.
IV. The Penelopiad  by Margaret Atwood
I loved Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale  and because I also enjoy reading on Greek mythology, The Penelopiad seems like a perfect read for me. I especially like the sound of a tale where we get to know the perspective of Penelope and the twelve doomed maids. It is possible that The Penelopiad keeps sitting on my shelf unread because I feel it will not live up to the high standard I set for Atwood, especially taking into account her other books.
V. Wilder Girls  by Rory Power
I am not a big YA reader, but the premise of this book has been fascinating me for months. Wilder Girls has been compared to Lord of the Flies , and I love the theme of girly friendship, as well as the sound of dark, dystopian twists. As things stand right now, I am still undecided whether to go ahead with this book. In these past months, Wilder Girls has been in and out of my TBR list more times than any other book in the history of my TBR (and all the hype surrounding this book only makes my final decision harder to make!). I guess the simplest solution will be to just sit down and start finally reading it.
VI. Jude the Obscure  by Thomas Hardy
I love Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles  and Far from the Madding Crowd , but feel that Jude the Obscure may disappoint me in some way. That is probably the main reason I keep postponing reading it. The goodreads synopsis reads that this book is about “Jude Fawley…who is trapped into marrying Arabella, who later abandons him…He then moves to another town and “falls in love with his cousin Sue Bridehead, a sensitive, freethinking “New Woman“.
VII. The Master of Go  by Yasunari Kawabata
I must admit I have a slightly difficult, strange relationship with Kawabata. I cannot say I appreciated fully Snow Country  or Beauty and Sadness , but I did find many things to love in The Sound of the Mountain . His reader needs to be able to discern subtlety in the “economic” writing, as well as maybe accord meaning to simple things that the author describes (plenty of symbolic interpretations and lots of “leaps of faith”). That is probably why I am still avoiding reading The Master of Go. It also sounds like a different book from his usual ones, though he does touch there on some familiar themes of older vs. younger generation, and tradition vs. modern progress.
VIII. 1Q84  by Haruki Murakami
This dystopian novel is actually composed of three books and counts 925 pages. This alone would not have put me off the book had I not also heard that the beginning (roughly 300 pages) is very “slow”. I want to read 1Q84, but the size, as well as the fact that it is Murakami, means I keep avoiding reading it.
IX. The Rehearsal  by Eleanor Catton
The truth is that I am a fan of Catton’s Man Booker Prize winner The Luminaries  and that is probably why I keep avoiding reading her debut The Rehearsal, even though I am very curious about her writing style there. Perhaps I am rightly thinking it will not be as good as her second book. The Rehearsal concerns girls at a boarding school who find out that one of their friends had an affair with a teacher.
X. American Gods  by Neil Gaiman
I know Gaiman has a lot of fans, and only to think of the number of times I kept moving his books in and out of my TBR list! At first, I wanted to read Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane , but then I switched to American Gods. I think American Gods would now finally settle how I feel about the author. Of course, the problem now is to start reading it. I realised I would need to be in the right mood for this book (not to mention that it is 635 pages’ long). I also fear that Gaiman would end up for me what Stephen King has become – an “over-hyped” author.
Have you read or planning to read any of the above books? What books you avoid reading are on your TBR?