Have you ever been afraid of picking up a book? (Yeah, straight to the point today.)
I was thinking about my TBR today and about how it keeps growing while some books keep slipping towards the shadows because I haven’t picked them up yet.
As a picky reader, I find it hard to choose my next reads. I also find it hard to enjoy them.
Unfortunately, some books are doomed from the start with me. And all of that because of some dumb prejudice.
I’ve gathered in this post five books that I’m not feeling courageous enough to read yet. I also explain why and when I expect to read them. All of this while trying to be funny.
Hope you’ll have a good time!
1. Sorcery of Thorns ~ Margaret Rogerson
Reveal SynopsisAll sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
I know some Margaret Rogerson fans will knock on my door holding pitchforks after I say this, but I really disliked An Enchantment of Ravens.
I felt like the story was very disconnected and lacked any real substance. Plus, (gee, I can already hear the angry cries) the writing was a bit nauseating.
And see, since I’d seen positive reviews of the story everywhere… It makes me wary of the other very hyped Rogerson book.
Look… I know authors can grow, and I’ve actually loved books from authors that I haven’t been a fan of from the start (take Leigh Bardugo: I didn’t really care for The Grisha Trilogy, but I cried when I finished reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom).
But it doesn’t compare to how high my expectations for An Enchantment of Ravens were and how low I fell. The kind of scarring experience.
Sorcery of Thorns does have a 0.55 higher Goodreads rating than its sibling, and with even more ratings (almost 46k for almost 42k), so I am confident I will eventually manage to pick it up.
Not before a few months, though, and not before I am through with my list of highly anticipated reads. I give myself until June.
2. The Starless Sea ~ Erin Morgenstern
Reveal SynopsisFar beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.
Take the problem with Sorcery of Thorns and give it a 180 degrees flip, you’ll get the reason why I’m afraid to read The Starless Sea.
I fell in love with The Night Circus so badly that I am terrified Morgenstern’s second book won’t be half as good. (It would still be exceptional in that case, but you get my point.)
Its Goodreads rating doesn’t help: 3.85 stars with barely 94k ratings compared to The Night Circus‘s 4.03 stars with almost 700k ratings.
Add to that the reviews claiming that the book doesn’t make much sense and you’ve got the perfect recipe to make me paranoid about reading a book.
Still, it’s a paranoia that comes laced with excitement, so it really confuses me. I am trying to fit it in my near-future TBR, but I keep pushing it away like one does in a toxic relationship. Or like I’m ignoring the elephant in the room.
I want to say I’ll have read it by March.
(Yes, I am a coward.)
3. Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1)~ Maggie Stiefvater
Reveal SynopsisThe dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . .
There’s a bit of both previously mentioned issues here.
One the one hand, I don’t think I’ve ever found a more delightful writing style that Maggie Stiefvater’s. I can physically feel my love for it. It makes my heart swell and makes electricity course through my veins.
You get the idea.
(I have been thinking for a long time about writing a post gathering some of my favourite descriptions of hers. Let me know if you’d like to read it.)
On the other hand, and while I’ve loved the first three books of The Raven Cycle series, the fourth one let me down a little. The Raven King felt rushed and lacked some of Stiefvater’s finesse.
Disclaimer: she wrote it when she wasn’t in a great mental place. You can read her post on it here.
Also, Call Down the Hawk is focused on one of my favourite ships of all times, so expectations are HIGH.
This is perhaps my most unforgivable act of cowardliness included in this post. After all, the Goodreads rating for Call Down the Hawk is pretty high (4.35 for almost 20k ratings). But I realistically can’t see myself opening it before way into 2021.
(Forgive me, Maggie.)
4. Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Brontë
Reveal SynopsisOrphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.
But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
I have been a Jane Austen fan for almost six years now, practically since I started reading books in English. From that point of view, anyone would think it safe to assume that I’ve read Brontë books.
Never assume, people.
It’s hard not to, though, right? In addition to being a classic written by a woman, Jane Eyre has 4.35 Goodreads stars based on over 1.6 million ratings. (By now you must have come to the conclusion that Goodreads is somewhat of a spiritual guide to me.)
So how on this spherical Earth have I not picked it up yet?
I do have an idea. Or an excuse, however you’d refer to it.
As I told you a few lines up, I read Jane Austen’s books when I started reading in English, By then, my comprehension skills were pretty low. Pair that with the old and flourished prose, and you’ve got… Well, basically a disaster.
However, I loved some of Austen’s protagonists so much that I still enjoyed the novels.
As I’ve read countless reviews saying how silly Jane is and how twisted the story is, I’m afraid I wouldn’t appreciate the story and get lost in it.
What makes me lose my calm is that, after six years of full-time English studies, I still have that mental block. The subconscious part of my brain seems to be tripping the conscious part of it every time I think of laying my hands on Jane Eyre.
If I could grab one to hit the other, I would, believe me.
I am not even thinking of giving myself a date by which I expect to read it, because I can’t imagine myself doing it just yet.
*Sobs in non-native-English*
5. The Hobbit ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Reveal SynopsisIn a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
Phew, finally a book written by a man. (Women have a lot of power over me.)
Even if I’ve only mentioned The Hobbit in the title, this goes for The Lord of the Ring and all books set in Middle-earth as well. The bookish community says they are amazing (Holly Molly, 4.27 stars on Goodreads based on over 2.9 million ratings!!), and yet everyone who’s read them that I’ve met in real life says they are boring.
Not that I don’t trust the online bookish community, because pretty much everyone here knows what they’re talking about. But it’s hard to get rid of a belief that has been hammered into your head.
Plus, I’m not really in the medieval-fantasy mood right now, so that plays a big part in it too.
It’d be very optimistic of me to say I would read them before the end of 2021 (if we ever get there).
Have you read some of these books? Which of my fears are unfounded? Have you ever been scared of reading a book for the same reasons that I am? Let me know in the comments! I’d really love to read about your experience 🙂