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Old 04-24-2012, 03:28 AM   #31
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Pretty much anything by Joyce is tough to get through. The man has some great things to say, I just wish he was a little clearer in saying them. It's definitely easier if you start with his earlier stuff. Dubliners is a great read, and much easier to get through than, say, Ulysses. But Ulysses isn't nearly as tough once you start to get a feel for how he writes. Joyce is a brilliant author, and that's probably why it's so hard to understand his stuff. It's hard to understand the mind of a genius.

Oh, and Finnegan's Wake is completely unreadble. It's not that it's a bad book. I'm not saying it's good, either. It's just one of those things where there's almost no hope of ever understanding it.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:13 PM   #32
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F all that. Try reading Ulysses by James Joyce. I read it in my second year English Lit class. The challenging part comes at you from every possible angle. From content to length.




I'm a pretty big Shakespeare fan. No matter how much you love the stories, reading them can be a huge chore.
No way, Ulysses is easy compared to Finnegan's Wake. I found that the essential pleasure of Ulysses was the constant mixing up of Greek myth and Modernist takes on patterns of imagery, eg the body parts wtf?, but the Wake isjust impenetrable... And Shakespeare is great. Especially Lear.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:34 AM   #33
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I still haven't managed to finish Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory. I made it through about 1000 pages (that isn't a typo) before giving up at a little over the 1/2 way mark. They still hadn't gotten around to the holy grail quest at that point.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:03 AM   #34
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Finnegan's Wake, which remains incomprehensible and undecipherable to me.

Thucydides and Demosthenes in the original Greek. Other ancient authors renowned for their opacity, e.g. Aeschylus.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:13 AM   #35
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The silamarillion. Trying to keep up with all those freaking elvish names and timelines was to tedious.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:58 PM   #36
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The silamarillion. Trying to keep up with all those freaking elvish names and timelines was to tedious.
That one is a rough go.

But for me it was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Sweet mother of trout that fucking book was a dragging tedious slog from hell. Late in the book there's a rant by the John Galt character.... that I swear is longer than the whole Silmarillion. ONE RANT.

Psychotic. It just keeps going and going.

And on top of that Rand's writing is didactic and hard to swallow. It was an awful experience.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:36 PM   #37
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deffo Bunnicula. it is a tough read about a rabbit who sucks juice from veggies

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That one is a rough go.

But for me it was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Sweet mother of trout that fucking book was a dragging tedious slog from hell. Late in the book there's a rant by the John Galt character.... that I swear is longer than the whole Silmarillion. ONE RANT.

Psychotic. It just keeps going and going.

And on top of that Rand's writing is didactic and hard to swallow. It was an awful experience.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:32 PM   #38
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:28 PM   #39
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:55 PM   #40
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I'm going to beat the poop out of the both of you.

And since that's a service I'm offering and providing to you that you so badly need, I must insist upon a payment of two Mulligan gold pieces.

I was pretty proud of plowing through Atlus Shrugged, but Galt's speech is just... ugh. I already know what he's going to say. He's got a concise motto that everyone that buys into it has to recite anyway; why drag it out?

Anthem was shorter and conveyed nearly the same message concisely. There's a graphic novel out there that made it even shorter than the novella.

I can summarize Atlus Shrugged in four thoughts, though:

1. In case of cabin depressurization, place the mask on your face first before placing it on a child, disabled or other person that may need your assistance.

2. From the movie "A Beautiful Mind": If no one goes for the blonde, we all get laid.

3. Contrary to Rand's side of where the pendulum goes to the extreme, selfishness will not trump charity. Selfishness is optimal and will always trump faux charity.

4. Everything has value and nothing is free.

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Everything?
EVERYTHING.

The Portrait of Dorian Grey has been mostly painful thus far.

And if I stopped reading The Hound of the Baskervilles right now, I'd think it was the most obnoxious thing I've ever read and would wonder why Doyle had any following at all. Holmes isn't just a dick. He's a Mary Sue dick.
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:05 PM   #41
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Trying to get my head into the 'scottish' accent reading Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting was quite tough for me - but then I find the thick Scots accent (esp Glasgow) quite hard to understand on the best of days. Another 'Accent-writing' one that was a little tough for me was Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

As for plot: William Burroughs' Naked Lunch was pretty darn near incomprehensible unless, like the author you were off your face on multiple mixes of drugs the whole time that you read it (I believe mostly hash mixed with morphiene/heroin). Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (by Hunter S. Thompson) has similar echoes but is a little bit less surreal overall.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:34 PM   #42
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The Prince by Machiavelli, I read the book when I was 15. To a certain extent it proved to be relatively taxing.

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Old 12-15-2013, 03:06 PM   #43
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I enjoy Shakespeare even though I have to look back at it, but there's one book that I found horrendous to read. Gulliver's Travels was 200 pages or so of straight, unadulterated walls of old British text. The fact that the book smelled like it was 70 years old, making me nauseous 5 minutes after opening it, didn't help, but damn was it a chore.

Oh, and Spade? You only underline book titles when physically writing book names. You italicize them when typing them
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:31 PM   #44
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I totally struggled with Gone with the Wind.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:33 PM   #45
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try "Nad Niemnem"...
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:08 AM   #46
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One of the toughest books to get through (for me) was "The Mystical Qabalah" by Dion Fortune. It discusses (in depth) jewish mysticism, which was previously an oral tradition. It's interesting materialm but there's quite alot to it, (tarot, astrology, astronomy, theology...) I'm happy to be reading George R.R. Martin novels now!
I may be quoting an ancient post here, but it's SO true: The Mystical Qabalah is a pretty thick read, as are most of Dion Fortune's practical works. Then again, you can say that about almost everything written by any follower of the Golden Dawn. However, her fictional works The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, The Goat-Foot God, and (especially) The Sea Priestess are among my favorite books of all time.

My most challenging book? I once took a stab at James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and found it completely incompatible with my ADHD. Then again, I think it's incompatible with humanity in general given the number of English-speakers (not to mention other people in this thread) who find the book equally painful.

I also had much of the same problems while reading Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Some day I intend to finish it just to say I did!
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:43 PM   #47
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Well it depends on what you mean by challenging here. If you mean one that forces you to deal with serious moral questions, then prehaps Velocity by Dean Koontz.
Geez. Velocity was such a roller coaster ride. Great read, though a little messed up at times.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:14 AM   #48
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The Iliad was tough for me when I read it. I found it tedious.
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