Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

Yes my friends, it's that time once again. Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, a wonderful celebration of literature started over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week:

Top 10 Most Intimidating Books.

Listed in order from longest to shortest.*

1. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. 7 volumes, ~4300 pages total. Page long sentences. Extensive metaphors. You need a ***good memory*** to read this book. (That's a hint for you in understanding this book.)

2. Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann. 1492 pages, argued to be "more complex" than In Search of Lost Time (is that possible??)**

3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. 1296 pages, hundreds of characters with long Russian names that are hard to differentiate. Intimidating, but WORTH IT!!! (I've read it twice!)

4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. 1222 pages. Includes many very, very, very long (and arguably very boring) historical tangents.

5. Ulysses by James Joyce. 736 pages. Lots of Irish slang, making the dialogue difficult to read. Joyce is infamous for his use of stream of consciousness, which can be hard to follow.

6. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. 720 pages. Packed with philosophical references.

7. Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce. 688 pages. See # 5.

8. The Phenomenology of Spirit by Georg Hegel. 591 pages. Specialized terms and abstract ideas ... takes extreme concentration to even just read a sentence of this.

9. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. 544 pages. Enigmatic vocabulary, highly controversial subject matter. (But one of my favorite books of all time.)

10. Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. 464 pages. Rough language difficult to read, complex narrative, more stream of consciousness.

* based on the first edition listed on amazon.com
**according to Dr. Sondrup

note: for inspiration, here's a list of articles at The Millions on tackling difficult books