Great article and ironically short and to the point. For Whom the Bell Tolls is an incredibly dense and complex book, indeed.

The idea that only a few people will make an effort to read complex writing seems a tad elitist to me, but I agree that good is good. Simple is not always best, and our ability to challenge ourselves as writers and readers is so important for our brains, I think, to grow and maintain a high level of critical thinking skills. That is why I try and struggle to read Derrida and others, philosophy, fiction, poetry. The ability to express simple and complex ideas clearly is my ongoing challenge for my own writing.

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Kafka is missing and I don't say that for personal reasons. Like Borges he changed so much. If I was just picking a favorite then The Sheltering Sky would be in the top ten, but I don't think it is. It is better than some of these books though. Foucault's Pendulum should be in the top 25. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is just slightly better than Harry Potter.... ;-). For Whom The Bell Tolls is great, just long.

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Charles Keatts

Charles Keatts

Essays, poetry, and prose. Published novelist, memoir pending, new novel, art. I like Proust, Joyce, being sober, trail running, hanging with my kiddo.