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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life--Which book was so far over your head you almost didn’t come up? (254 comments)

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  •  Books (3+ / 0-)

    that have defeated me:  Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.  

    Albert Camus's works have resonated with me for decades:  The Rebel, The Plague, the Myth of Sisyphus, the Stranger.  Likewise, Hardy's Jude the Obscure and Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

    I'm a Holocaust scholar and there are many, many important works there, but these stand out:  Browning's Ordinary Men; Staub's The Roots of Evil; Barnett's Bystanders:  Conscience and Complicity in the Holocaust; Cargas's When God and Man Failed.

    •  On James Joyce's (3+ / 0-)

      Finnegan's Wake...he embedded something like 26 different languages in the text...and, allegedly, said "It took me ten years to write it.  It ought to take them ten years to read it."  Near the end of his life, his "secretary" was Samuel Beckett.  I've heard that they had some very strange conversations.

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