Intimidating Classics: The Classics Club November Meme

This post is written to answer The Classics Club’s November meme question:

What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? (Or, are you intimidated by the classics, and why? And has your view changed at all since you joined our club?)

Intimidating Classics for me are:

Especially those that are called chunky books. Number one on my list is Les Misérables, in which I did a-bit-too-bravely act when I decided to join a Les Misérables read along equipped only with an e-book and a laptop. Now I know that I really suck at reading on laptop. How could I ever finish this 1.600+ page book? I want to finish reading the unabridged version at least once in my life, since I have read and loved the abridged version very dearly.

On second place is Shakespeare plays. I joined Let’s Read Plays event to encourage myself to read Shakespeare plays, but I have to admit that Shakespeare is really hard to digest. At least for me whose mother language is not English, and wasn’t taught about Shakespeare’s works nor read any at school. Luckily, there’s still a light in the dark, I can still understand what Shakespeare was trying to say through No Fear Shakespeare. This section on SparkNotes provides today’s English translation to some Shakespeare plays. Without NFS, I am blind in case of reading Shakespeare.

Then there are lengthy works from Dickens. So far I have only read a translated version of A Tale of Two Cities and a simplified version of Bleak House. But I love Dickens and I want to read more of his works. Yes, I love Dickens. That is because I watched some movies and miniseries adapted from Dickens’ works, such as Little Dorrit (review in Bahasa here), Great Expectations (review in Bahasa here), and Nicholas Nickleby. Watching movies and miniseries wasn’t a great deal, but when I learned that most of Dickens’ works are very lengthy, I am intimidated. However, reading The Christmas Books this December might be a very nice prelude in reading more Dickens. I also have an unabridged copy of Bleak House, waiting to be read. (Though honestly I really don’t know when I can read it, I have so many other books on my TBR pile!)

Oh ya, and one more chunky book that I wish to read at least once before I die is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Do you have any Classics that you wish to read but are intimidated with? I would love to hear about it!

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
― Gustave Flaubert

8 thoughts on “Intimidating Classics: The Classics Club November Meme

  1. Seems Les Miserables and War & Peace appear most often in this meme… 😉
    About Shakespeare and Dickens, I think we should read them in slow pace; we should take a break quite often between chapters or acts (or even scenes) to savor the beauty of the words, because both authors’ strength are on the words. Especially Dickens, with his long sentences, but if you’d be patient to read them, you’ll find Dickens’ writings are beautiful (and the stories too of course).

    Anyway, I hope you won’t give up with Shakespeare for Let’s Read Plays, who know at the the end of this event you might even like the Bard? 😉


    1. I agree completely with Fanda. The strength in old classics such as WS and JM is in the words. With Shakespeare, it’s difficult because he speaks in English much older than ours, with Milton, it’s difficult because he tends to write sentences 20 words long. No comment on Dickens, because I have only read Christmas Carol.

      For Les Miserables, (sigh) I lost my reading orientation after finishing it. It’s like, “Okay, it’s done. What must I read next?” because it’s so so long. And I don’t think I will ever read War and Peace. Talking about being intimidated. :p

      Good luck with your reading list! 😀


  2. Any book you read in a language other than your mother language is intimidating….Congratulations for reading Tale of Two Cities, one of my favorite books.


    1. Yep, Rachel. I will continue reading Shakespeare plays for LRP event. Guess what, I have read your November meme earlier, but I haven’t left a comment. I particularly love the 2 dogs image. That’s what I call intimidating! Hahaha.


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