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Old 9th-June-2015, 03:30 AM   #1
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Default most complex/difficult books you have read

i have only read one book that was actually challenging to keep up with the plot.

gardens of the moon

best description of the difficulty ive read was: like the third book in a ten book series

its the first book though
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Old 9th-June-2015, 04:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Novel's by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and other famous Russian authors have been painfully boring. It was definitely a challenge to finish the boring novels. I can now consider myself to be one of the sophisticated cool kids...
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Old 9th-June-2015, 06:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

My Calculus book during college.
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Old 9th-June-2015, 07:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

I had a hard time getting Gulliver's Travels if I remember right. Lord of the Rings trilogy was pretty boring too, same with Narnia. I.. also took a look at Wittgenstein's Tractatus in a bookstore once. Didn't really get it.
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Old 9th-June-2015, 08:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

when i frequented intjf i started a recomend me some books thread and someone recomended "beelzebubs tales to his grandson" i only got to chapter three before i had enough, might try to read it again since i was only 15 when i first tried.
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Old 9th-June-2015, 09:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Ulysess and our lady of the flowers
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Old 10th-June-2015, 04:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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Originally Posted by ProxyAmenRa View Post
Novel's by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and other famous Russian authors have been painfully boring.
Them's fightin' words!

Seriously though, I enjoy Dostoyevsky's books (especially the Idiot). He had such a beautiful grasp of everyday mental illness, especially personality disorders. He could turn the most monstrous person into a work of art, and effortlessly reveal the complexity of a seemingly simple mind.

Now, if you had called out Leo Tolstoy as your example, I would totally agree. Tolstoy is boring as the Dickens. It's like I'm swearing, but it's also true. It's a two-fer!

To answer the OP question, I'll admit that as Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker books drag on, I have a harder and harder time following them. I don't think it's necessarily because it's complex, though. I think the problem is that as the novelty of his chaotic references wears off, it begins to drag along. Once I reach the Life, the Universe, and Everything/So Long and Thanks for all the Fish threshold, I stop paying attention to everything until I'm like "perfectly normal beasts. Really? Can't he just say "cow" for once?"

Sorry, Perfectly Normal Beast .. please don't kill me.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 06:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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To answer the OP question, I'll admit that as Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker books drag on, I have a harder and harder time following them. I don't think it's necessarily because it's complex, though. I think the problem is that as the novelty of his chaotic references wears off, it begins to drag along. Once I reach the Life, the Universe, and Everything/So Long and Thanks for all the Fish threshold, I stop paying attention to everything until I'm like "perfectly normal beasts. Really? Can't he just say "cow" for once?"
i had that problem until i tried taking breaks between books, i used the lost tribe of the sith for this and i ended up finishing both series within a week. then when i went back to reread the hitch hikers guide i found it much easier to power through and didn't need to break up into the seperate books they are.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 08:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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I had a hard time getting Gulliver's Travels if I remember right. Lord of the Rings trilogy was pretty boring too, same with Narnia. I.. also took a look at Wittgenstein's Tractatus in a bookstore once. Didn't really get it.
Reading LOTR is like reading the King James version of the Bible. As for the Narnia books, I finished them all in one sitting. It's actually pretty digestible.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 08:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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Reading LOTR is like reading the King James version of the Bible. As for the Narnia books, I finished them all in one sitting. It's actually pretty digestible.
yeah but all that extra fiber made me crap every 30 min
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Old 10th-June-2015, 08:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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yeah but all that extra fiber made me crap every 30 min
Dude, pacing. Be sure to drink water after each volume
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Old 10th-June-2015, 08:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

the little prince

seriously, i was trying to arrenge this pile of nonsense in my head but the sentimentality of this guy was just too much even for a possible NFP. It was like reading the diary of one of my friends, who lives in a bubble thinking the world can't harmn her. Totally opposed to self-sufficient.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 08:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

something by thomas pynchon. i never finished. it's like he wants to tell a smart story but can't help veering off into ornamental, poetic language all the time. it's distracting and too demanding. the age of the monumental literary achievement is over because there's no true reason for readers to indulge in that stuff anymore.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 09:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Don DeLillo's Underworld.

I've picked it up a number of times absent-mindedly and in in fresh forgetfulness, only to leaf through it with ever increasing anxiety at the furious swarm of pretentious adjectives coming at me with such literary condescending authority, and consequently throwing it to the other side of the room in pure revolt just like last time - I mean, how much can one wank over....baseball !?

This book makes me
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Old 10th-June-2015, 09:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Any book I have no interest in always feels complex/difficult to read. That said the malazan book of the fallen series (gardens of the moon is the first of 10, I read them all) is not the simplest book. But even though those books are technically more complex I had an easier time reading them than lord of the rings or the wheel of time series since those books were dull.

Odd styles of writing are also refreshing but difficult to read a good example is
http://www.lulu.com/shop/gabriel-da-...-17551795.html
(put link since it's free and an unknown book)
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Old 10th-June-2015, 12:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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I think the problem is that as the novelty of his chaotic references wears off, it begins to drag along. Once I reach the Life, the Universe, and Everything/So Long and Thanks for all the Fish threshold, I stop paying attention to everything until I'm like "perfectly normal beasts. Really? Can't he just say "cow" for once?"

Sorry, Perfectly Normal Beast .. please don't kill me.
it's not merely a chaotic reference but a joke. the point being that the (migratory patterns of) perfectly normal beasts are very strange indeed*. this type of humour is an integral part of adams' style so i'm not surprised that you find his books drag if that sort of comedy is not to your taste.

*which has nothing at all to do with my choice of username

*advances on yellow in a perfectly unthreatening manner...*
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Old 10th-June-2015, 03:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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it's not merely a chaotic reference but a joke. the point being that the (migratory patterns of) perfectly normal beasts are very strange indeed*. this type of humour is an integral part of adams' style so i'm not surprised that you find his books drag if that sort of comedy is not to your taste.

*which has nothing at all to do with my choice of username

*advances on yellow in a perfectly unthreatening manner...*
Fair enough. I do enjoy the humor, but apparently in smaller doses. Maybe I should take Eagor's advice and break it up, or try reading from So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.

*looks like an idiot, running away from PNB and hiding.*

I know that walk. That's the walk of someone trying to pick up a cat that doesn't want to be picked up, or trying to stab someone who deosn't want to be stabbed!
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Old 10th-June-2015, 05:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

I'm not quite sure about fiction, but the one book I could not stand was this one about Lenin. I had to do a project on him one time, so I picked out some books. One was rather large, so I thought it would be of use. It wasn't. At all. I started it and all I could learn was his name and where he was born. The rest was just droning nonsense. Only the blandest ISTJ could read, write, or enjoy that book.
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Old 10th-June-2015, 05:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

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Dude, pacing. Be sure to drink water after each volume
DAMN , i'm such an idiot

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I know that walk. That's the walk of someone trying to pick up a cat that doesn't want to be picked up, or trying to stab someone who deosn't want to be stabbed!
what's the difference?
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Old 12th-June-2015, 01:36 AM   #20
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

I'll second Ulysses and throw in Absalom, Absalom by Faulkner. Both demand multiple readings and a few helper books to get through them without just scanning over the letters.
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Old 12th-June-2015, 02:11 AM   #21
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I love Henry James, but I had trouble finishing The Wings of the Dove.
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Old 12th-June-2015, 02:50 AM   #22
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Definitely Ulysses in terms of fiction; there were chunks of it I enjoyed but scattered with a lot of sections I found incomprehensible/ too frustrating to enjoy. Half-way through I watched a film adaptation which I ended up finding necessary to actually get a sense of what's happening, objectively speaking, in certain chapters.

I don't enjoy prose & poetry much though tbh, I'm a lot more image-focused.

I'm unsure about non-fiction. I've read a lot of academic philosophy (and next to nothing in terms of mathematical or scientific textbooks) and there's a certain kind of obtuse writing that blends into each other in terms of difficulty. Maybe Whitehead's 'Process & Reality' in terms of books I found useful.
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Old 16th-June-2015, 04:44 PM   #23
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

This fiction:

The Urantia Book

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:



The Urantia Book Edition of The Urantia Book published by the Urantia Foundation

Author Unknown Publisher Urantia Foundation (original), others (since becoming public domain in 2001) Publication date
12 October 1955 Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Pages 2,097 (1st edition) ISBN 0911560025 OCLC 49687706


The cover of The Urantia Book, published by Uversa Press and designed by artist Gary Tonge, ISBN 9780965197236.



The Urantia Book (sometimes called the Urantia Papers or The Fifth Epochal Revelation) is a spiritual and philosophical book that originated in Chicago sometime between 1924 and 1955. The authorship remains a matter of speculation.

The authors introduce the word "Urantia" as the name of the planet Earth and state that their intent is to "present enlarged concepts and advanced truth."[1][2] The book aims to unite religion, science and philosophy,[3] and its enormous amount of material about science is unique among literature claimed to be presented by celestial beings.[4] Among other topics, the book discusses the origin and meaning of life, humankind's place in the universe, the relationship between God and people, and the life of Jesus. It has been described as "a rich and complex moral narrative, equal parts Tolkien and St. Paul."[5]

The Urantia Foundation, a U.S.-based non-profit group, first published The Urantia Book in 1955. In 2001, a jury found that the English book's copyright was no longer valid after 1983.[6] The English text became a public domain work in the United States,[7] and in 2006 the international copyright expired.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Urantia_Book
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Old 17th-June-2015, 12:29 AM   #24
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Most confusing books I loved ,but could never finish was the books of the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series. It starts off very enjoyable, but after a couple Of days of re-reading chapters to get what they mean I sort of put it off ...
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Old 17th-June-2015, 05:19 PM   #25
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Most confusing books I loved ,but could never finish was the books of the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series. It starts off very enjoyable, but after a couple Of days of re-reading chapters to get what they mean I sort of put it off ...
do they mean anything? i thought it was a parade of random funny, cool and atmospheric stuff
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Old 17th-June-2015, 05:27 PM   #26
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

once i tried reading brief history of time
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Old 21st-June-2015, 05:13 AM   #27
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1Q84 was difficult to read because the plot sucked and was not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. I never thought I'd finish it.

What a misleading blurb.
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Old 28th-June-2015, 03:45 AM   #28
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My Calculus book during college.
Ditto. Any math text book without an instructor standing by to help. I found my biology textbook difficult as well. I kept trying to understand certain terms as they were written and never got the help I needed to do so- especially the parts that talked about how food is turned into energy, and the parts about how life might have started. I think I had a hard time picturing a couple of other things, but I didn't get the chance to ask anyone my questions.
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Old 28th-June-2015, 03:50 AM   #29
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when i frequented intjf i started a recomend me some books thread and someone recomended "beelzebubs tales to his grandson" i only got to chapter three before i had enough, might try to read it again since i was only 15 when i first tried.
I totally want to read any book called Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. LOL!
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Old 28th-June-2015, 04:09 AM   #30
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"translation: Astrophysics of Planetary Systems" was very challenging for my high school self, since I was never too interested in practical physics but loved the theory and especially the astronomy part. So I did force myself to spend a few days to familiarise myself with the scientific notation, SI units, basic calculations, many body problems, to begin to properly understand the book and once I did it was profoundly fascinating, because most of the calculations said more than descriptions of the mechanics had to offer, a very imaginative and intuitive understanding and journey.

Another book was about computational complexity theory, which focused on theoretically disassembling algorithms and programs, evaluating and analysing their complexity, defining points of improvement and creating a function of a given program, where output is efficiency or another equal program with a different algorithm.
Which was and still is very difficult since it requires to keep large parts of the algorithm in mind, while imagining and describing equal solutions and shorter versions. Usually it comes down to finding errors in initial assumptions or seeing shortcuts that provide exact same results.
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Old 11th-July-2015, 07:48 AM   #31
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Aristotle's Organon, Empiricus' Pyrrhus, Plato's Phaedra and Plutarch's Lives, are some books that make the English literature I read in my youth seem like an exercise in banging two rocks together by comparison. Half the difficulty is the language barriers, and the other half is trying to follow and retain an entire argument or narrative.
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Old 14th-July-2015, 05:36 PM   #32
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once i tried reading brief history of time
Oh my God, that book was awful. The writing was boring, and Bryson seemed to mostly focus on white men from the 1800s. Like, no. That's very inaccurate.

As a rule, though, I don't read books that are difficult. Life is short, and if my brain craves the ridiculousness of a trashy YA novel, so be it.
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Old 5th-August-2015, 03:15 PM   #33
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This is embarrassing to admit but Catch-22. It's entry-level book, I know. I only started reading recently. My favorite author is Anne Tyler, really loved The Accidental Tourist.
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Old 30th-November-2015, 07:13 PM   #34
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Of Grammatology, by Jacques Derrida. Made Chomsky's Syntactic Structures seem like a children's picture book.
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Old 1st-December-2015, 05:27 AM   #35
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Godel Escher Bach. Didn't finish it, but maybe someday.
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Old 1st-December-2015, 06:09 AM   #36
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Of Grammatology, by Jacques Derrida. Made Chomsky's Syntactic Structures seem like a children's picture book.
dear god Derrida hahah yeah, oh man, Baudrillard is up there with him as well, maybe lacan too
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Old 1st-December-2015, 06:30 AM   #37
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

boomeritis by ken wilber is an illustration of common modern ways of thinking (technically "post modern") and a critique of how they are lacking or are crazy, camouflaged as a humorous novel, a bit satirical. i find a direct abstract analysis of the subject (as in normal books by ken wilber) more easy to digest than this odd novel approach.

carl jungs typology, in particular his discussions of historic figures ... requires so much guesswork to get into his head or language ....

i don't read much.

oh wait, http://spinbitz.net/spinbitz-in-a-nutshell/ is the most complicated one i have tried to get into, but i didn't make it. it's just that i don't even know the meaning of every other word used in his writing.
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Old 1st-December-2015, 06:32 AM   #38
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Derrida and lacan are binches
Very annoying to read

Tbh though...i find most philosophy books difficult in that they require a lot of focus and i find myself rereading pages many times before I can feel like I really understand what is being said. Also I tend to misunderstand, so...often reading the book itself is not enough and I have to read commentaries on it
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Old 1st-December-2015, 07:24 AM   #39
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Derrida is just dry. Most of them are. I remember slogging thorough Speech and Phemonena when I was younger and more pretentious. I even recall convincing myself that I enjoyed reading it. I doubt I'd have the patience to wade through any of his other works these days.
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Old 8th-December-2015, 10:56 PM   #40
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Madame Blavatsky and some Aleister Crowley.

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Old 13th-December-2015, 05:27 AM   #41
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Pretty much everything is difficult to read for me. I can't translate words into meaning very well and I get impatient. I'm more of a passive reader... If I read over a topic enough times then all the information ends up being understood almost automatically without any effort on my part. But for the most part I don't read anything. For this reason I am one of the most mentally lazy people I know. :P
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Old 14th-December-2015, 03:33 AM   #42
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Psychological Types
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Old 14th-December-2015, 03:48 AM   #43
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

The Castle by Kafka. What made it particularly challenging was that I read it in Russian, and I can't really read Russian.
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Old 20th-December-2015, 03:34 PM   #44
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, 5th Ed, John D. Anderson.

I don't understand the math, but the rest is easy to visualise.

I guess I should learn Calculus
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Old 20th-December-2015, 07:37 PM   #45
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

How do you guys read fictional books? My mind wont stay on topic. I can read them for about 2-3 mins before I have to go back and reread what I forgot to pay attention to. There is no interest.

I read books from Hawking, encyclopedias, dictionaries, I read complex and technical articles, anything that provokes me to think about what I'm reading. Interest in the topic is the key. Fictional books don't do it for me.
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Old 22nd-December-2015, 08:23 AM   #46
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogart View Post
How do you guys read fictional books? My mind wont stay on topic. I can read them for about 2-3 mins before I have to go back and reread what I forgot to pay attention to. There is no interest.

I read books from Hawking, encyclopedias, dictionaries, I read complex and technical articles, anything that provokes me to think about what I'm reading. Interest in the topic is the key. Fictional books don't do it for me.
I stay away from fictional, they rarely ever get finished unless I like the story/it gives me good visualisations. ie. The Hobbit, I could read it all day every day. Non-fiction is a lot more interesting, at least it deals with what could be real or is real, and if this forum is anything to go by, the possibilities get us hard as a rock and giggly with excitement
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Old 28th-December-2015, 05:35 AM   #47
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

If you can read, say, half of Being and Time, then you can probably read anything.
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Old 28th-December-2015, 07:03 AM   #48
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

oh! I remember reading bits of the German version of that when I was trying to remember German. I figured it was a language barrier that was making it so dry.
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Old 28th-December-2015, 07:10 AM   #49
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

I'm sure the language barrier made it more dry, but I wouldn't argue that that's where all of the dryness originated. Heidegger is just dry, period. Plus, he has a vocabulary endemic basically to Being and Time.
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Old 15th-January-2016, 02:16 AM   #50
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Default Re: most complex/difficult books you have read

I only made it 1/3 of the way through Tolstoy's "War and Peace". At first I was so impressed with his detailed descriptions, it was like watching TV! Then after a couple of chapters I was like OMG, they're so detailed the story isn't going anywhere. I did like the bit about the Russian general whose sole skill is convincing everyone that whatever chaotic thing happens on the battlefield, he planned it!

Having "War and Peace" read to you as an audio book doesn't help either.

I'm not sure I've made it even 20 pages into James Joyce's "Ulysses". Very strange book, couple of gents in a barracks, seemingly homoerotic undertones. My Mom has been unable to read it either and she's quite an avid reader compared to myself. Maybe I'll try again sometime, but, uh, this isn't one you just pick up. You have to be somewhat mentally prepared for what you're getting yourself into, I think.
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