Have you ever set out to read a book and found it intimidating?
"The Hunger Games wasn't at all what I expected, and it completely floored me. I reread it half a dozen times in the space of two months, just trying to absorb it, and I've never tired of it. I wouldn't say I was intimidated as much as I was fascinated with how Collins wove together such a compelling story." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test.
"I did find M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing rather intimidating because of the ambitious scope of the story. It's a beautiful novel, but not one to be read for passive entertainment. One must have all brain cylinders firing in order to properly absorb it. (In my case, this probably means that I missed a lot.)" - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant.
"Not really. I have to say I have found books other people love that, after reading a few pages or chapters, I am not interested in pursuing. Writers don’t intimidate me so much as they leave me, as a reader, out of the conversation. They seem to be writing for someone else. They’re allowed to do that. It doesn’t bother me to fail to get “into” a book. That said, trilogies drive me crazy. When I read a book I want to believe it is the whole story. And I simultaneously love series. Seems contradictory, even to me." - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules.
"There are a few books that intimidate me, but it’s because I know they are going to be brilliant, or complicated, or heart-breaking. I have several that are sitting on my shelf waiting to be read like Forbidden and Graceling that I haven’t had a chance to get to yet." - Suzanne Young, author of A Need So Beautiful.
"Graceling. It’s such a perfect book – great character arc, great plot, great love story. If I could write something ½ as good as Graceling, I would be happy." - Miranda Kennealy, author of Catching Jordan.
"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. James Joyce. And, ultimately, I found it to be not so much intimidating as impenetrable. I'm sure the failing is mine but I just don't get it. And I'm okay with that." - Lesley Livingston, author of Tempestuous.
"Boring, yes. Intimidating, no." - Amy Plum, author of Die for Me.
"Hmm… Dante’s Divine Comedy to some degree, which I read much of for research for Personal Demons. It’s just so damn long." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Original Sin.
"I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. Angel Star, my first book, had just been published, and I signed up to be a part of a book tour for Angelology, thinking it would be a lot of fun. When the book came in the mail, I held it up to Angel Star and laughed. You should have seen the size difference! I think Angelology could have EATEN Angel Star for a snack. - Jennifer Murgia, author of Lemniscate.
The book was wonderful, though. Beautiful, lyrical, intelligent. I enjoyed it very much. I also think I was intimidated because of the deadline to finish and send it off to the next reader. I learned my lesson, buy my own copy and read it at my leisure! And never, ever, hold it up to my little books again!"
"James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. Also Good Dog Carl. Took me the longest time to even figure out the first was about a dead guy and not a speedboat racer. And that Carl—is he a good dog, or is he not in fact a terrible babysitter? How many ways could that baby have gotten killed during Carl’s watch? And the mother! Who leaves a dog in charge of a baby in the first place? And let’s not even get into how spoiled that baby is, and how the book seems to think there’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe I’m missing something. Maybe Good Dog Carl has a deeper, subtler message that I’m just not getting. Maybe we’re actually meant to identify with Carl—for haven’t we all been the pushover babysitter at one time or another? And maybe we’re meant to identify with the mom, that beleaguered parent, overwhelmed by responsibility, who finally cracks and will do anything to get away from the kids—anything!—if only for an hour, an afternoon, a night out getting hammered at the bar. Maybe her shame is our secret shame. Or maybe, like Finnegan’s Wake, Good Dog Carl is beyond my powers of comprehension. And so it sits on my bedside table, mocking me, challenging me to read on, to push past my knee-jerk reactions, my facile judgments, and consider the possibility that there’s more to the story. So much more…." - Steve Watkins, author of What Comes After.
"I’ve often found books that I know I’m “supposed” to love intimidating like some of classics I know I “should” read. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed classics, but books that are supposed to be deeply intellectual or literary sometimes give me a little angst, because I’m afraid if I don’t like them- well what exactly does that say about me? What if I’d rather read a celebrity blog? Can I live with my own shallowness and ineptitude??"- Janet Gurtler, author of I'm Not Her.
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