Slate magazine pulled off a neat trick by getting a bevy of contemporary authors to sound off on the great works they haven’t read, and it’s called to mind the works that I just haven’t managed to get through. Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow took 5 attempts across 6 years to finish, and I’ve never managed to get through 90% of the Beat Writers. Finnegan’s Wake? Threw it against the wall around page 15 or so (though I can say I made it through Ulysses) I’m pretty certain Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series tried to kill me, and Charles Bukowski? Can’t stand his work.
Then there’s the guilty pleasures… I can safely say I’ve read everything Robert Ludlum ever wrote, and I still find myself picking up Nelson DeMille books, even though he hasn’t written an original character in 12 years.
How about you?