Discussion: Beating Bookish Intimidation

Lately I’ve been dealing with a major bout of bookish intimidation: that feeling you get when you really want to read a book or series but you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the hype/length/commitment of it all.

Thankfully it’s unusual for me to feel bookish intimidation, but when I feel it…dang. A bunch of my friends have been gushing about Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series lately and y’all know that I hate being the odd one out when it comes to a great series, so I want to get in on it. But there’s something about starting a series that’s so popular and so long that’s been putting me off. What if I don’t like the series? What if I do, and then all I read for a month or two is one series? That isn’t even considering the intensity of its fandom!

I’m similarly intimidated by some of the bigger books on my shelves, like Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s not that I’m intimidated because it’s a classic; I had to read lots of those in university and enjoyed most of them. And I know I’ll like it once I get into it, since it’s a story of revenge and murder (yaaasss). The problem is the sheer size of the thing! How on earth am I going to find the time to read a book with more than a thousand pages in between all the new releases I want to get to?

I like to think of myself as someone who’s pretty damn difficult to intimidate, but even I feel apprehensive about starting a 15-book series or reading a 1200 page book! But I don’t want to let that stop me from reading the books I’m interested in, so I do what I always do when faced with a large, engrossing task: I take it one step at a time. 

I tried out the Psy-Changeling world in a low-commitment way, by reading the first book in a spinoff series called Silver Silence, which is the only book in the spinoff that’s currently released. Way less pressure than 15 books, right? Well, I adored it…and now I feel much better about starting such a long-running series. Still don’t know what my plan is for The Count of Monte Cristo though!

So here’s what I want to know: do you ever experience bookish intimidation? Are there books that you want to read, but they’ve got a reputation for being insanely popular, too long, or notoriously difficult to understand? Does the intensity of a series’ fandom ever intimidate you? How do you beat your bookish intimidation?

Tell me your tales of bookish intimidation, share your tips, and if you don’t get bookish intimidation…please teach me your ways!

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