Three toughest books I’ve ever read

1. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

This novel was meant to look like a medieval document, and I must say the author, Umberto Eco, succeeded. Like, very well. That’s really impressive, but it does make this book at times hard to read. Eternal descriptions of a church, or endless discussions on ‘did Jesus laugh or not?’ are a great part of this book. Plus: people are killed, and you’d better be not too sensitive for the vivid descriptions of the corpses. But overall the story is interesting, a decent thriller. You would never guess the ending! And that’s what keeps you going. So if you know how to skip or read quickly over certain parts in a book and you like thrillers, then go for it. I never regretted reading this, not at all. And when you say you have read this, you will immediately gain the respect of those who know this book. It’s like becoming a part of the Elite That’s Read This Book. All you need is some stamina. Good luck!

2. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky

As someone studying Russian, this is real blasphemy. This semester (but actually that means three months) I had to read ten Russian books. Translated, yes. But still. I started with this one, and set a deadline for when I had to finish it. But it was a struggle to finish these 600 pages… The perseverance was gone after this. The initial idea of this book is very interesting though: a student kills a woman, a pawnbroker, so that he can continue his studies and his mother and sister will have a better life. But he starts to feel guilty… Very interesting, but to fill such a giant book with just this? It ends up being like this: guy kills two women, gets away, fever, fever, talking about God, fever, God, God, guilt, sister, fever, punishment.
I was so glad when I finished this book… If you are more like me and like stories that are to the point, I’d suggest you read Father and Sons. That was a good Russian book, one of my favourites so far.

3. We didn’t mean to go to sea – Someone who should be forbidden to write

I had to read this book for my English class, and after that I had to resume it in three minutes. The point is, how are you going to resume a book in which nothing happens? Here’s what happens: a few children, overly attached to their parents, end up on a boat, and o lord, there are no adults around when the boat leaves, and o god, they’re heading for the sea… But they promised not to go there! O my! So they sail on… And on… And on… O look, a cat, floating on the sea! And they sail on… And on… And on… Until someone they knows enters the boat and brings them home.
Such a happy end.
So little happens that I was totally focusing on talking for three minutes, and then I even forgot about the cat… I never found out what grade I got for this assignment, but I hope it was a good one ’cause I read this damn dull book ’till the end.

Luckily there are still good books as well, and what gift is better for a poor, bored student than a free book? So thanks again to Michael Cargill for helping me retaining my sanity. Though I had read these stories before, I was still pleasantly surprised by how good they are. Recommend much!

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What tough books have you read? Were they worth it?

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