The world's most difficult books
Have any of you read the ten toughest books, as selected by The Millions?
Or even five of them?
1. Nightwood, by Djuna Barnes. I heard about this book in the 60s. If you were hip you were supposed to have read this book. I might have read 20 pages of it. But I can't remember what it's about.
2. Tale of a Tub, by Jonathan Swift. Never heard of it. Or, hmm, maybe that title is kinda slightly familiar.
3. Whatever, by GF Hegel. I have not read a word of it. I heard of it, though. Isn't this book tied in with Marx, somehow? I think "philosophy" doesn't matter, except to a minuscule soi-disant élite, that is my honest opinion. I wouldn't waste my time reading "philosophy." Before you sneer, tell me the truth: have any of YOU read a book of philosophy all the way through?
4. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf. I have never read anything by Virginia Woolf, though I hear she's a very good writer, and people I respect have read her. I'm open to reading one of her books.
5. Clarissa, etc., by Samuel Richardson. Never heard of this book, or this writer.
6. Finnegan's Wake, by James Joyce. Hasn't everyone heard of this famous book? I know I have. But has anyone -- you, or anyone you know -- read it? I doubt it.
7. Being and Time, by Martin Heidegger. I never heard of this book, but I have heard of Heidegger (Nazi lover of Hannah Arendt -- whom I haven't read, either). I have no idea what Heidegger wrote about, what his influence is supposed to be. Nor do I care. Have any of you read, say, 100 pages of this book?
8. The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spencer. I heard of this book. I love the title, and the way it's spelled. But I have no idea what it's about. I think I'll check out what the Wikipedia entry has to say.
9. The Making of Americans, by Gertrude Stein. Never read it (actually I never heard of it). Although of course I heard of GS. She is a moderately interesting person to me, but I doubt she has anything of importance to tell me. Wouldn't bother reading anything she wrote.
10. Women and Men, by Joseph McElroy. I never heard of this book or this writer? Have you?
11. Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. Now we're talkin'. Back in the 60s I read V and The Crying of Lot 49, both of which I enjoyed. But I don't think I need to read any more books by Thomas Pynchon. Have you read any of his subsequent books, or do you feel that you must read any before you die?
Finally ... 12. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. Nope. Never read one word by this guy. Am I missing something?