Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic focuses on books that are hard to read, for any number of reasons. For my list, I’m including books that were hard to take — some because the subject matter is very emotional or upsetting, some because of the high levels of violence or horror, and at least one because I just hated the reading experience (but finished it anyway).

1) Room by Emma Donoghue: This story of abduction, imprisonment, and abuse, as seen through the eyes of a five-year-old, made me feel like I’d been put through a wringer.


2) The Pact by Jodi Picoult: The Pact was my first Jodi Picoult novel, and while I loved it, I was also devastated throughout. So much pain, both on the part of the teens involved and their parents.


3) The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow is one of my very favorite books, and it’s beautiful in so many ways, and yet the main character suffers so tragically that it’s simply heartbreaking to read.

the sparrow

4) A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon: Bad things happen to Diana Gabaldon’s characters in all of her books, and yet in this one, the 6th in the Outlander series, the bad just keeps coming and coming and coming. It’s still essential reading for fans of the series, but it’s really hard to take… and considering that the book is over 1,400 pages in length, that’s a lot of bad to deal with.


5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: No explanation needed, right? TFiOS is a beautiful book, but who can read a book about teens with terminal cancer and not completely melt down? Not me.


6) Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: Another beautifully written book, but so tragic and disturbing to read.

Rose Under Fire

7) Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: A terribly sad novel that hits so many of my auto-cry buttons. Imperiled children, family tragedy, Holocaust, generations of suffering. Reading this book felt like getting punched over and over and over.


8) Hater by David Moody: I probably wouldn’t have finished this book had it not been a gift, due to the unrelenting violence and bloodshed and overall intense level of senseless mayhem and hatred. I ended up glad to have stuck with it and the rest of the trilogy, as the story is fascinating, but these books are definitely not for the faint of heart.


9) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: I loved NOS4A2, but I also can’t recall the last time I was this creeped out by a book.


10) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I hated this book. Really hated it. I read it through to the end to see what would happen, but I found it just vile, with its oversensationalized violence and brutality.

girl dragon

What books are on your list this week?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

  1. Haven’t read many of these, but sounds like a lot of them are tragic. I admit I’m a sucker for tragedy sometimes, so I might check a few of them out. Like you, I didn’t like the MiIlenium trilogy. I actually liked book 1 okay, because I thought the whodunit mystery was well done, but I agree about the over-sensationalized violence, and the trilogy just went downhill from there. My TTT

  2. NOS4A2 was completely creepy! I own both Sarah’s Key and The Sparrow that I still need to read. Good to know about the sad factor prior to going into it. 🙂

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