|I'm NOT linking this to Amazon|
because you really don't want to buy it.
This one on Flavorwire did, but I hesitated -- would I have read any of these 50 incredibly tough books? What was my toughest book, come to think of it?
Well, I've never been able to read Ayn Rand (who, as it turns out, is not on the list) ... and struggled with Ulysses, but almost everyone does, so that doesn't count.
Got it. English Literature before 1700. Edmund Spenser. Faerie Queen. If Faerie Queen is on the list, I thought, it's getting posted.
Number Thirteen. That's all it took. Post written.
One of my favorite books -- Stephen King's Pet Sematary -- is on the list, although it scared the bejesus out of me so badly I can't read it again (and I'm an inveterate re-reader). But I've never, ever forgotten it. Which one is worse? The chapter where his little boy gets hit by the truck? Or the magical thinking chapter where it un-happens? Joan Didion would appreciate that one.
I love Emily Temple's description of The Canterbury Tales (of which I've read quite a few. I also have the Prologue memorized, still. Long story.):
You know who was a pretty tough, kick-ass broad? The Wife of Bath. You know who else? Anybody who reads her tale, particularly in the original Middle English.(Aaannddd ... no, Amazon. I do not want to read The Canterbury Tales on my Kindle in less than a minute. There's a reason it's on this list.)
And speaking of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking -- brilliant. Totally agree with Ms. Temple's assessment. Very emotionally hard to read. Stephen King can relate.
If it wasn't my birthday (as I'm writing on Monday night) I might do a little chart of books I've read, books I've partially read, books I've never heard of, and books I'd never touch whatever. But that seems awfully organized and thorough for a Monday, much less a birthday.
And holy cow, Ms. Temple -- your descriptions are insightful, concise, humorous. DID YOU ACTUALLY READ ALL THESE!?
Just one more comment -- by partially read, I mean perhaps started-but-never-finished. And also, as an English major who has to take lots of literature survey courses, we read excerpts or parts of longer works -- Swift, for example, Canterbury Tales as mentioned, Divine Comedy, Kafka, Joyce, etc. And after reading this article, I'm thinking that's all that's necessary.