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the 10 most difficult books, and a few of the easiest

A literary website called The Millions has compiled a list of the ten most difficult-to-read English language books of all time. Here it is:

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes;
A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift
The Phenomenology of Spirit by GF Hegel;
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf;
Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson;
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
Being and Time by Martin Heidegger;
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser; 
The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein
and Women and Men by Joseph McElroy.

Their question was, How many have you read? Well – this coming from someone with a B.A. in English literature – I had a plant once named Djuna, after Djuna Barnes. I have read some Joyce, though not that one, and “Mrs. Dalloway” and a bit of Swift and “Clarissa” – yay! – for English 201. At least, I’m pretty sure it was “Clarissa,” though maybe it was “Pamela.” I’ve walked by Gertrude Stein’s house in Paris and have heard of Hegel, Heidegger and Spenser but have no idea who McElroy is. Though I do have a lot of opinions about women and men. 

Not so good a score. How did you do? 

Dear Wayson was just here. “Love your mother utterly,” he said, “even when you want to push her down the stairs. Love her utterly – and THEN push her down the stairs.”

I have read all of Wayson’s books. But then, they’re not hard, they’re a pleasure to read. I get 100% on the Choy test.

Another article explores the value of children’s books to adults. The writer looks at one of the easiest to read, and also best, books ever written, “The House at Pooh Corner,” and analyses the lines that express my philosophy of life. 

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” Piglet asks him as their adventures near an end, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” Pooh answers. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” responds Piglet.
Pooh thinks it over. “It’s the same thing,” he says.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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