The Broke and the Bookish hosts a weekly meme called ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘. It aims to: 1) encourage people to talk about books and 2) introduce book-loving bloggers to one another. Today’s topic of discussion is ‘Top ten books that were hard for me to read’.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.
The books that I have selected are based on grouped together based on these reasons: 1) peculiar storyline, 2) disturbing content and 3) unlikeable characters. Kindly take note that this post contains spoilers so skim it if you don’t want too many details.
‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez
I took up Intermediate level of Spanish Studies at university. My teacher was very passionate about Latin American culture (she’s a New Zealander) and as a student, I find that inspiring. However I wasn’t happy when we were told to analyse this book for a written examination at the end of semester. Oh, did I mention that the examination was in Spanish?
The story was long-winded and the family saga was exhausting. The names are frequently repeated in many generations; I got confused even where there was a family tree diagram in the foreword. I didn’t finish the book but I passed my exam. Despite not liking the story, I bought an English copy just in case I feel like reading it one day.
‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami
I read many good reviews about this book. I’ve never read any of the author’s works so I decided to try. Personally, I’m glad the book was borrowed not purchased.
This is the most bizarre book I’ve read…ever! There were so many characters that are supposed to be connected to each other but I couldn’t understand the connections. Certain scenes seem unnecessary such as cat torture and sex scenes with a minor. It was a mess!
‘The Surgeon’ by Tess Gerritsen
Tess Gerritsen used to be a physician but now writes novels. I decided to read this novel because I have never read a medical thriller before.
I had a tough time reading the book because the villain was a sadistic rapist and killer. The crimes were minutely described so readers could definitely feel the victims’ suffering. Despite the brutality of the crimes, it was an enjoyable read because the story was well-written. I will most certainly continue reading this book series.
‘Accidentally on Purpose’ by L.D. Davis
I really enjoy reading contemporary romance and I must say that this is one of my favourite books.
I don’t like it when a person cheats on his/her partner. Despite the infidelity, I was sympathetic to Emmy because of the abuse she endured from her lover. At the start of the story, Emmy was a witty, independent woman but after the abuse, those qualities vanished. She didn’t think she deserved happiness. Emmy slowly healed with the help of friends and family and got her happy ending. The next book in the series is based on the abusive lover’s point of view. I am conflicted about reading his side of the story.
‘The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden’ by Jessica Sorensen
I read this book when I was in ‘New Adult’ book binge. This is one of my favourite books in that genre.
This book was difficult to read because of the subject matter. Both main characters were abused; Callie was raped at a young age while Kayden was beaten by his own father. They are tormented by their pasts and their coping behaviours are just too troubling. Well I’m glad that they were friends first before becoming lovers because building trust takes time. They don’t live happily ever after at the end of the book. There is a cliffhanger, which I think is appropriate for such traumatising story.
‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold
I bought this book when I found out that a movie was going to be made. Did you know that Ryan Gosling was set to play Mr Salmon until he had some creative differences with the director Peter Jackson?
Anyway ‘The Lovely Bones’ was a tough read because of the tragedy that befell Susie Salmon. She was attacked and murdered by someone she knew and that happened in the beginning of the story. Hence the novel/movie is told from Susie’s point of view in the afterlife. It is devastating to read the impact of Susie’s death on her family. Oh I had one issue with that body-swapping scene at the end. That’s just weird and unnecessary.
‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy
I watched ‘Anna Karenina’ starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson-Taylor and the movie confirms one thing: Keira Knightley cannot act. Her acting is appalling! I am considering reading the book.
However I think this book would be difficult to read because it is a very long book (about 800-1000 pages depending on the publisher/edition). I am afraid of losing interest once I start a few chapters. Another hesitation is due to the main character. In the movie, Anna is very unlikable. I can’t imagine myself spending so much time on such character.
‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov
I watched ‘Lolita’ the 1962 movie and I understand why the book is highly controversial even till this day.
I think this book would be difficult to read because of the subject matter. Paedophilia is not acceptable even if the minor says that it is “true” love. Humbert Humbert shows no remorse for his immoral behaviour. The movie was ambiguous about their sexual relationship but I think the book is more descriptive. I will only read this if my book club chooses the book. At least the discussion could be therapeutic.
‘New Moon’ by Stephenie Meyer
Speaking of paedophilia, would you consider Edward Cullen a paedophile? Despite the youthful appearance, he is more than 100 years old. Putting that issue aside, I actually like ‘Twilight’ (I own a copy :P) and that’s about it.
I cannot stand the second book in the series because I felt like strangling Bella majority of the time. I understand that she is afraid of growing old while her true love remains a teenager forever. But must she make a life-altering decision at such a young age? When Edward refuses to comply to her wishes, he vanishes and leaves her heartbroken. Jacob Black helps Bella recover from the breakup and during that period of recovery, Bella sees the possibility of turning the friendship into something more. Then Bella gets confused. Come on, girl…make up your mind! If you are torn between two options, then stay single!
‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver
I am a huge fan of Tilda Swinton ever since I watched ‘Constantine’. She is a brilliant chameleon, from acting to fashion. There are so many praises for the book and movie. Since I love book-to-movie adaptations, I decided to read the original source before watching the movie.
This book was a gruelling read. First, the main character Eva Khatchadourian uses sophisticated words because I believe she has a superiority complex. I checked my Dictionary app whenever I encountered “big” words. Half-way through the book, I stopped using the app because it disrupted my flow of reading. Secondly, I was puzzled with Eva’s lack of connection with her son, Kevin. Why didn’t she get any help/counselling when she had doubts/suspicions about Kevin? Despite all the negativity, the book was thought-provoking for example “Who is to blame for Kevin’s atrocious behaviours?” Eva, Kevin, Franklin or all three?
What do you think of my list of ‘Top Ten Tough Reads’? What books do you find strenuous to read? I’d love to read your picks so just share them (or a link to your blog) in the comment box below.