So what makes a book intimidating?
That's the thing, you can't just put book intimidation into a box. There are countless reasons why a book can be intimidating to a reader, and the reason any one book is intimidating can change depending on which reader you're asking.
It's also important to note that being intimidated by a book is not the same thing as being disinterested in a book. Both are similar, but there is one huge difference.
The difference between disinterest and intimidation
Being intimidated by a book means you actually want to read it, you're intrigued by it, but you just can't seem to push yourself to start reading it because of a variety of reasons. For example, I want to read Moby Dick, but I'm just too intimidated to start because I've heard it's boring and long.
Disinterest on the other hand means that you're not interested in a book at all. Like being intimidated, it could be because of a variety of reasons, but unlike intimidation you're not intrigued by the plot, story, or characters. Not even a little bit. For example, I know that Fifty Shades of Grey is really popular right now, and I know a lot of people are reading it, but nothing about the story intrigues me and I just don't want to read it. Period.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about a few of the reasons that people can become intimidated by a book.
Oh my freaking gosh THAT BOOK IS HUGE
Size is the biggest intimidation factor for me, as witnessed by the Does Size Matter post I did a few months ago. If a book is absolutely ginormous (like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy) then I am so intimidated. Huge books scare me, and it's especially bad when the type is small. If a book is huge you can bet I'll put off reading it for as long as possible, if not forever. I'm clearly not the only person who feels this way because a huge number of people were citing length as a reason for book intimidation in their Top Ten Tuesday posts. What is it about length that's so darn scary? For me it's the fact that I know it will take me so long to finish. Plus, there's always the fear of not finishing the book at all. I'm the kind of reader who finishes every book they start (okay, 99% of the books they start) and because of that I hate starting a book and never finishing it. There's something so unsatisfying about it, and I honestly feel like a failure every time I do it. That's the biggest reason why size is intimidating to me.
But what if I don't like it?
I was really surprised by the number of people who listed hype as a reason that a book intimidated them. I was even more surprised that Harry Potter was one of the main culprits of hype intimidation. Maybe it's just because it was banned in my house as a kid, but as soon as I turned 18 I jumped on reading Harry Potter, hype be damned. Personally, hype never really plays a role in whether or not I'm intimidated by a book. Does it raise my expectations? Yes. But does it make me intimidated? No. In fact I'd say that hype normally makes me even more excited to read a book or series. However, I can understand why someone would be afraid that a book or a series couldn't live up to it's hype. That being said, I think everyone should just dive in, hype or not. You'll never really know if you'll enjoy something unless you try it! And if something doesn't live up to the hype or you don't enjoy it like everyone else, big deal. At least you tried. :)
That book is just too (insert adjective here) for me
Too sad, too edgy, too sexy, too violent, these are all things I saw people saying about books in their Top Ten Tuesday posts. I find this element of intimidation interesting because I would normally put books with too much of something in my disinterest category, not my intimidated category. I think it's strange and a little bit sad that some people will avoid reading books simply because they're afraid it might be too sad or too edgy. I think one of the best things about reading is being able to experience those kinds of emotions and having the chance to become educated on difficult subjects. I think if you're really interested in a book you should read it, regardless of the content and what emotions might arise because of it. For all those people out there who are intimidated by The Fault in Our Stars or The Book Thief because of their content, read them. Regardless of the crying that these books might cause I promise you the truth they hold are worth every tear.
So those were the three big reasons for book intimidation that really stood out to me. Size and the fear of not finishing a book are the two elements that really play into my book intimidation. What about you? Do you get intimidated by size like me? How about hype, or a book having too much of something? Or are there other reasons that lead to your book intimidation that I haven't even thought of yet?