Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Even Further Conversation about Reading Challenging Books . . .

Challenging books Our current conversation has had 6 installments; beginning on September 12th and continued on September 14th17th19th, 21st, and 24th—each installment powered by one or more reader comments on the previous installment…

The comment permitting this continuation of the discussion comes from an author and publisher in Germany:

“One summer term in the early 1990s, I had an English class assigned to read ‘The Canterbury Tales‘. Although it was a literary subject, the professor usually taught linguistics. But, older versions of languages (many languages!) were a kind of hobby of his, and therefore we looked at Chaucer’s text in a different and surprisingly entertaining way. After that class, I spent the summer vacation reading a modern translation of ‘The Canterbury Tales’. If I hadn’t had the class before, I would have given up. The lack of historical knowledge, the metaphors I could just recognize as metaphors but not understand … still, I finally finished the book. Looking back, it was definitely a challenge; but, I gained a glimpse of so many facets of history and mythology.”

I’m surprised The Canterbury Tales wasn’t included on the list of 10 difficult books I included on two previous posts in this series…

But then, one person’s list is another’s poor attempt at congregating things… :-)

I’ve never read Canterbury

There’ve been plenty of books called “classic literature” that I haven’t read…

Still, taking that last link could re-educate you about what is considered “classic” and what “should be” classic…

And, just as the meaning of classic can receive different interpretations, what about the meaning of the word guiding our expression in all the installments of this discussion—“Challenging“…

My Oxford dictionary says, among other considerations:

“testing one’s abilities ; demanding”

And, my Collins dictionary says:

“Demanding or stimulating”

So, remembering that it takes only one comment to keep this conversation going…

What books have you read that tested your abilities…?

What were some of the demanding books you’ve read…?

And, I need to share the etymology of “Stimulating” before I ask more questions:

“act of pricking or stirring to action…an incitement…goad, urge,”

What were some of the most stimulating books you’ve read…?

What are some reading challenges you enjoy dealing with…?

What are some challenges that drive you crazy…?

How about reading challenges your friends or acquaintances reveal…?

Perhaps you’ll share challenges you used to have but you’ve overcome or grown used to…?

Will there be another installment of this conversation…?
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

4 responses to “Even Further Conversation about Reading Challenging Books . . .

  1. Mike September 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Excellent question, and I agree with your premise. A difficult book I ultimately found rewarding was “Godel, Escher, Bach” by Doug Hofstadter. Not only is it long, but its summarization and commentary on modern physics and the possibilities of AI are serious and in depth. It took me three readings to “get” it. Hofstadter keeps it entertaining by presenting his ideas through the quirky adventures of Achilles and his friend Tortoise.


  2. Pingback: Still Further Conversation about Reading Challenging Books . . . | Notes from An Alien

  3. Pingback: Blog Conversation about Reading Print Books or Ebooks? | Notes from An Alien

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