Question of the Week #61: Joycean Challenges
February 2nd is James Joyce's birthday. The Irish author is famous for his innovative works like Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, both of which readers routinely cite as among the most difficult books they've ever read (or tried to read).
What's the most challenging book you've ever read? Did you finish it? And, maybe most importantly, did you feel it was worth the extra effort?
Angela's Ashes- very compelling- I could not put the book down-and challenging- my sense of doing what's right-no matter what- could just not understand how a person could neglect his children and cause them to suffer. Yet, I understood.
Feb 1, 2010 1:58 pm
Moby Dick was the hardest I have ever finished. (Thanks Daily Lit!)
Don Quixote and The Sound And The Fury are the hardest I have ever failed to finish. (I have tried twice on both)
Somewhat fittingly to this topic I suspended my email of The Dubliners because I was having trouble getting into it. I will eventually try again.
Feb 1, 2010 3:01 pm
I would say the most difficult book I have ever tried to read was easily 'Ulysses.' To the reader who has had trouble with 'Dubliners,' I might suggest starting with his lovely story 'The Dead' first. I have to say anything by Thomas Pynchon has given me fits too!
Feb 3, 2010 12:00 am
Ulysses by far tops the list. I could not go beyond 80 pages or so and even then I was confused as to what exactly happened in those pages.
The most difficult book I have finished is Umberto Eco's - Foucault's Pendulum, and I do not recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a deep interest in the Templars.
Feb 3, 2010 1:15 am
I started the audio book version of Ulysses but had to give up. It's not a book to listen to while driving. I may try again with the ebook edition.
Feb 3, 2010 10:30 am
For me, it has to be "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.
Feb 3, 2010 1:42 pm
On Daily Lit: Paradise Lost
Offline: Catch-22. It should have been easy but things kept delaying me from finishing it. It took such a long time.
Also, "A Time to Kill" by John Grisham, maybe I'm just not into that type of genre.
Feb 4, 2010 1:54 pm
The Odyssey--BUT I loved it, and it is now my favorite!
Feb 5, 2010 10:50 am
Don Quixote I tried twice to read it on my own and failed. The only way I got it read was by being in a Great Books group that was reading it. Yes, I was glad to have read it and recommend it. www.greatbooks.org in case anyone else needs a group to help with a tough selection...
Feb 6, 2010 12:40 pm
The Sound and the Fury. I think I read it twice and was still challenged.
Feb 7, 2010 3:08 pm
I am glad I am not alone with The Sound and The Fury!
Feb 8, 2010 10:29 am
A Room with a view - i never got past the intro. and the first six pages!
Dec 4, 2010 10:20 am
I tried Moby Dick twice, and failed miserably both times. What a turgid read! Also, for some reason, I have difficulty with Russian literature. I've tried several books by the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky but just can't seem to get on with them. I think it is perhaps the Russian fondness for long-winded names. French authors like Hugo and Dumas can be difficult to get into. being rather prolix in style. It would be useful if the editors of such works could give the reader an idea of what parts could be missed, thus saving us time and perhaps stopping us putting down a good book.
Jan 28, 2011 11:35 am
If anyone thinks Joyce's Ulysses is hard going, you should try his Finnegans Wake. Ulysses is clear as glass in comparison.
Jan 28, 2011 11:37 am
Finnegans Wake, Joyce is the master of giving you alphabet soup and hoping you'll turn it into something.
Apr 17, 2011 1:32 am