Is it me or am I seeing a lot about difficult books? Life is too short and abandoning Finnegans Wake being recurrent themes. I’ve yet to even attempt the Wake and may come to sympathise with those who leap overboard. I do however disagree with those that give up difficult books and then encourage others that these books are not worth trying to understand.
I share the view that I’d rather tackle a dense, chewy book that has entranced or confused or challenged readers for many decades or centuries, than tackle some fashionable jujube that will be forgotten within a decade. You have probably come across the fantastic series of articles running at The Millions, encouraging readers to tackle a series of “difficult” books.
What I’ve come to think of (somewhat unfairly) as the grad-school response to such allusiveness – treating each sentence like a puzzle to be solved – isn’t always the best way to approach to a tough text. With Finnegans Wake, for example, a willingness to let things wash over you can be the difference between sublimity and seasickness.