Ulysses by James Joyce
Who on earth thought this was the best English language book ever written? Were they so intimidated by Joyce's smarts that they didn't want the world to think they might be stupid because they didn't enjoy the book? Ooh, look how he mirrors the Odyssey and how this chapter shows the evolution of the English language. Congrats, Mr. Joyce, you sure know a lot. But you also know how to write a good story. Why don't you go back to that?
There are some amazing passages. Some funny and quotable phrases. But I found the whole thing annoying. And I loved Dubliners. And I will still read Portrait, but there's no way I'm reading Finnegan's Wake after this. Maybe we would have been better off if they would have kept the book banned. There were parts that were surprisingly offensive, but I was more offended by the meaningless absurdity in it.
The book was so difficult and without reward. I don't recommend it. In fact, I advise against reading it. Sure, Joyce is brilliant, but I want to read a good book.