@Molly What Keith said, plus they're very badly written. As novels, they have shitty plots, terrible characterization and romances that are (sometimes hilariously) immature.
If you want to dip a toe in, read Anthem. It's very short and, since all her novels are about the same thing, you'll get the idea.
My theory is that, during a peyote ritual gone wrong, he transferred all his punctuation to Allen Ginsburg. Ha...well done, dude.
@melmuu You win this comment thread.
I just finished giving up on Ulysses at page 250 because I realized that the only reason I was considering finishing it is to say I had. Which, by a weird turn of logic, would mean that the mere act of finishing that book would make me a pretentious juicebox.
I think Ulysses is a great book, actually - but I don't think I have the background to appreciate it. I was constantly looking up references, which prevented me from connecting with the story. It was a struggle for me. It's okay to write a book that will only be appreciated by a small number of people! That's totally cool! I'm just not one of the people.
I totally agree that Finnegan's Wake has never been understood by anyone.
@sox Things on my table now: Darwin's Origin of Species, a big coffee table edition that I put next to me on the couch and set my wine glass on, thus relieving me of the horrible strain of reaching all the way to the actual coffee table. I totally explain that to guests, don't worry.
A New Literary History of America, which I was reading the other night. It's uneven, but at it's best it's terrific so y'all should check it out.
Actually four other books too because I like being surrounded by books.
Not that anyone asked me.
@Glittoris well, this conversation just got weirder. Uh...glad we could help? Or something?
@Br. Seamus I looked that up and...was that even in English? I didn't understand any of the words in the description or the reviews. Mystified.
@jfruh I read Friday like ten times. *facepalm*
Also, I'd never heard that quote...thank you for that.
@werewolfbarmitzvah Just re-read Bovary. That book is great.
@Wanda Tinasky Yeah, right? Same exact thought: when I saw the title of this piece I thought "This list is going to be mostly Fountainhead and On The Road, with one Flowers in the Attic reference and one D&D book reference." (Almost nailed it.) But Raymond Carver was, like, a dark horse.
@camanda Right? I like Crichton too, but State of Fear was SO AWFUL. And not just because of his lunatic politics.