Challenging material


I just started reading William Gibson’s Burning Chrome. And I have to say it is quite a challenge. Lots of unusual (and coined) words and it is overall difficult to grasp what is going on. Having finished the first story I would say it is very interesting and intriguing but certainly on the difficult side. I don’t know if native speakers would agree here but that is my experience.

So I got the idea of a thread where people could recommend reading and listening material in their native language that is challenging but at the same time interesting and fun.

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I’ll start off with Swedish:

August Strindberg - Hemsöborna
A true classic and I would say part of the Swedish literary canon. Famous in Sweden among other things for its first line: “Han kom som ett yrväder en aprilafton och hade ett höganäskrus i en svångrem om halsen.” The vocabulary is rather old school which might make it somewhat difficult. It is however quite short and there is a fantastic mini series that preferably can be seen before reading the novel. I’m not sure if this is available worldwide but it is up on SVT Play.

Vintersorg - Naturbål etc.
Metal band with with rather catchy songs. Strongly recommended to anyone who wants to add more LingQs to their statistics. :slight_smile: If this is something for you, I suggest starting with any for the most recent albums.


Fantastic idea. Recently have been making my way through Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It is a surprisingly entertaining read and includes a smattering of archaic words or usages which have me reaching for the dictionary.

My all time favorite book, regardless of category, is Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts, a memoir of the first leg of a journey, mostly on foot, from the Hook of Holland to present day Istanbul in the early 1930s. He was 18 at the time, though this was written much later. A fascinating journey in its own right, the book is elevated by Fermor’s erudition and charm.

Discovered these impressive lists recently (unclear from the first title, but all originally written in the English language):

And finally, I’ve recently subscribed to the London Review of Books, which seems to attract some of the best authors in the English language and is well worth a look.

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Thanks for the recommendations!

I added A Time of Gifts to my to read list. I’ve had Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall…” series in that same list for some time. But it didn’t really cross my mind that it was written almost 250 years ago. I will for sure get to it eventually, just the size of the read holding me back…

In one of the list you posted I noticed James Joyce’s Ulysses. Along with Finnegans Wake they appear to be regarded by some as the most difficult reads you can find.

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Sure! And yes - have not conquered Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake but have heard they are quite rewarding.

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