Until this year I would have answered the Bible in the King James translation. But, because I’ve read it so many times in easier translations (such as the New International Version, Revised Standard Version, and New Living), I have a point of reference. Now I find the KJV wonderfully meaningful because I can ponder the beautiful phrases as I read them slowly and connect them to the passages I’ve read before.
No, the most difficult books I’ve read this year have to be those those written by Georges Perec. I’ve read one and a half: Life, A User’s Manual and A Void. What makes them difficult, besides that he’s a genius? I think he has a whole lot of background knowledge that I know nothing about. This combined with a mind which is adept at playing tricks, puzzles and games makes him the most challenging author I’ve read.
And, I enjoy those French guys! Flaubert, Zola, St. Exupery? Love them! Perec is just one of the French authors who is slightly over ma tête.