For me…Gödel, Escher Bach is one of the first that comes to mind — heard of it back in college, picked up a copy probably 6 or so years ago, and probably ~3 years back even read the first few chapters, but have yet to get through it!
It’s not that I’m not into the subject matter; I think it’s super interesting and I finished reading (and loved) another book of Hofstadter’s a couple years back: Le Ton beau de Marot. I guess partly the combination of a) challenging and b) not really one simple through-line to carry you through the text has me stalled…
Similarly: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs:
Regarded as one of the classics / bibles of computer programming. But also super intimidating (especially having never formally studied CS) and the difficulty level ramps up quickly. I read the first chapter or two a couple years back but haven’t continued with it since.
Anyway I thought it would be fun to share and crowdsource some books along these lines!
These could be books that are particularly long / challenging / intimidating (as with the two above), or ones that are actually approachable but you’ve been putting them off for whatever reason.
Others I’d add here would include a couple classics of pedagogy like bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress:
And Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
This well-known art book I heard about in college and now own a nice re-print copy but haven’t gotten around to yet, Anecdoted Topography of Chance:
Also I feel like I really need to finally read some James Baldwin:
Finally (for now) these two books by amazing authors named Ursula — Franklin’s The Real World of Technology and Le Guin’s Always Coming Home:
(The latter I’m planning to start soon & perhaps spin up a virtual reading group here on the forum!)