I have recently developed a crippling addiction to StumbleUpon and now waste more time giggling at funny pictures and anecdotes than anyone, I mean anyone, ever should.
Today I "Stumbled" into a list of the "Top English Language Fiction of the Twentieth Century", supposedly compiled by Stanford. It was a list of books that are, frankly, mostly the type of book that is so boring that the reader is left feeling as if only they were smarter they might have understood and enjoyed it more and therefore walk away gushing about the complexities and nuances while in reality not understanding them at all. To be fair they did have a few jewels in there like The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood (my all time favorite author), Winnie the Pooh, Watership Down, Corelli's Mandolin, everything George Orwell has ever written, and Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. However, I was hugely disappointed to see the disgusting abundance of James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway littering the top ten with their pretentious rambling (fine, I'm a hypocrite, sue me).
Take it from someone who can understand them, they're not worth it. What is the point of fiction? To entertain. True it is often used to project the author's views on society but the central focus should always be to entertain. Now I challenge anyone to try and make it through an entire volume of Hemingway without wanting to shoot him yourself by the time you are finished. If you manage it then you are a more patient soul than I.