This is an interesting topic. I wasn’t quite sure how I should define “difficult.” There are a lot of reasons a book might be difficult to read. After some debate, I decided to include several different kinds of difficulty here.
Readability: There are just some books that are just plain difficult to read, as in difficult to understand and comprehend the words you see with your eyes, what the author wants you to see. I’ve read a few of those over the years.
1. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle by Vladimir Nabokov – Actually, I think I’ll include just about all of Nabokov novels. He kinda tries to be difficult on purpose sometimes, I think. This one and Pale Fire were the most difficult for me, hands down.
2. Two Treatices of Government by John Locke – Okay, so this isn’t pleasure reading, but I’ve literally tried to read this particular political/philosophical essay about a dozen times in my life and can’t understand a frickin’ word! I had to include it on the list. It’s one read I have yet to conquer.
3. Between Mom and Jo by Julie Peters – Peters often shreds me into pieces when I read her, but none more than this book. I’ve never ever cried at any book more than I did at this one. I was left hollow and empty afterwards. In a good way.
4. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta – I can’t begin to describe just how angry this book made me, not at it, but at the idea of abstinence education in general (as a replacement for real sex education). I don’t believe I’ve ever been so angry after reading a book as I was with this one.
Guilt: Worst thing in the world – reading a book that someone has given you, or recommended to you specifically, or reading a universally beloved book…and really not liking it. These sorts of books are the ones I wish wholeheartedly that I’d never picked up at all! It’s so much more difficult to dislike a book everyone else loves, or that someone really thought that you, personally, would love. 😦
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I wanted to like it. I really did…
6. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – Really. Really I tried. I did. I like other books by Sarah Waters…
7. Germinal by Émile Zola – I nearly stopped reading this before I finished it, despite how good it was. It was that stressful.
8. The Awakening by Kate Chopin – This is another one of those books where I was practically in tears only a few pages in, before anything had even happened yet. I could just feel the pain coming…
9. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – GAH!!!!!!!!!! Why why why??? Maybe it’ll feel better on reread…if I can gather my courage to reread it…
10. Market Day by James Sturm – This was all set to become one of my favorite graphic novels until it…degraded. Ick. I still get a bad taste in my mouth when I think of this one.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.