50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
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Eldritch
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50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Because everyone loves lists, and the ones who don't do so anyway, they just don't admit it.

50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers

I've read some of these (Moby Dick, Blood Meridian, Pet Semetary (??), Heart of Darkness, The Divine Comedy, The Castle), abandoned a couple (2666, The Infinite Jest, Gravity's Rainbow).

2666 I may try again in English translation -- or Finnish one, should one ever come into existence.

My strongest objections are the presence of Trainspotting and Naked Lunch on the list. Reading garbage may be "tough", but if the point is that tough books should nevertheless be ultimately rewarding, then they don't belong on there.

I like to look at the human self-model as a neurocomputational weapon, a certain data structure that the brain can activate from time to time.

Thomas Metzinger
(This post was last modified: 2013 Nov 08 22:32 by Eldritch.)
2013 Nov 07 22:45
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Phlegethon
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
I've read "Moby-Dick", "Pet Sematary", "Johnny Got His Gun", "Heart of Darkness", "War and Peace", "Divine Comedy" and "The Gulag Archipelago" Not too bad for someone who hardly reads novels at all. But this whole selection seems completely arbitrary to me. I have to admit that several of these novels are completely unknown to me.


Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod,—
Nay, in oaks on woody hill
Lives and moves the German God.

2013 Nov 08 00:23
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Eldritch
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Link fixed. Smile

I like to look at the human self-model as a neurocomputational weapon, a certain data structure that the brain can activate from time to time.

Thomas Metzinger
2013 Nov 08 22:32
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Treffie
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Was wondering why Pet Cemetary (I hate American usage Big Grin) is on there? I read that book when I was 18 and found it rather easy to read. Perhaps it's just King's way of moving repetitively from present to past and back again that makes it difficult for the reader?

Kafka's, The Castle was a hard book for me to be honest, but I was quite young when I read it, and as a fan of Gothic fiction, I was determined to finish it after putting it down a few times.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac did not make sense to me

Thanks for the list J - there are quite a few books on there that I've never heard of and look rather...erm...interesting Big Grin

Quote:Coin Locker Babies, Ryu Murakami

The first line of this surreal novel tells you (almost) all you need to know: “The woman pushed on the baby’s stomach and sucked its penis into her mouth; it was thinner than the American menthols she smoked and a bit slimy, like raw fish.” At once a disturbing coming-of-age story and an equally disturbing end-of-the-world tale, it’ll take a tough reader to blithely drink the water after closing this one.
2013 Nov 09 12:07
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Tintagell
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
I don't know if it counts as tough, but I read Carrie by Stephen King when I was in fifth grade (I think I was about nine or ten at the time).
2013 Nov 09 14:02
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
(2013 Nov 09 12:07)Treffie Wrote:  On The Road by Jack Kerouac did not make sense to me

Good to know I'm not the only one. One of those few books I've had to simply stop reading after a few dozen pages. All the time I thought I was reading a book about nothing.

“I'm an economist. I've even got a PhD in Economics. Yet, I'm a good person, I swear!” - Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador
2013 Nov 10 05:23
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Mein Krapfh is a god-awful read. 1) I read an unabridged translation; 2) In English.

Ach. Hmm...

You goddamn communist heathen, you had best sound off that you love the Virgin Mary... or I'm gonna stomp your guts out!
2013 Nov 10 08:32
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Eldritch
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Now that we're on the topic of book lists, here's a list of books David Bowie says everyone should read. I can see why they appeal to him, but everyone? Hmm hmm.

I like to look at the human self-model as a neurocomputational weapon, a certain data structure that the brain can activate from time to time.

Thomas Metzinger
2013 Nov 10 19:12
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Phlegethon
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008) - check
A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980) - check
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980) - check
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980) - check
Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975) - check


Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod,—
Nay, in oaks on woody hill
Lives and moves the German God.

2013 Nov 10 23:55
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Aemma
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RE: 50 "Incredibly Tough Books" for "X-treme Readers"
Well I'm halfway through this one: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976). I need to dust it off and pick it up again.

And I've read a good bit of this one a long while ago and still have it kicking around in my library somewhere: The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979).

As for the rest, well I'm not really interested in reading about the life and times of Little Richard. :/ Most of the others I haven't a clue about or peripherally know some passing reference such as the title ringing a bell.

I still need to go through that first list of yours, E. I doubt I will have read much from that one either.

Ignorance is bliss? I dunno. Tongue

Ahh just reviewed that list of 50. I think I prefer it to Bowie's--less obscure. I've read a few from that list of course, Canterbury Tales, Heart of Darkness, a good chunk of War and Peace to name couple of them off hand. I'm surprised that Golding's Lord of the Flies wasn't mentioned: I read it and that one was tough for me way back when. There're definitely some works there that I'd like to read though.

~Be the Virtuous Man or Woman you are meant to be.~
2013 Nov 11 00:26
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