At least, that’s what we’re told:
Let me get it out of the way. I may well be an uncouth, uncultured, redneck from a backwater, flyover state. Guilty, guilty, maybe, and yes. Despite these serious cultural deficiencies I am not necessarily uneducated. My Alma Mater is consistently ranked fairly high in the various rankings published every year of colleges and universities. In addition, I have always read — a lot. If you take the various lists of 100 books you should read, I have read most of them, including War and Peace.
To the meat of the matter: Catch-22 is drivel; unreadable schmaltz. So is From Here to Eternity. In fact, many of the so-called classics are crap, Moby Dick first and foremost. Joyce, Cervantes, and Milton all are impossible to read. Hawthorne I can manage, but why would I want to? Bunyan, blah. I will take bawdy Moll Flanders over The Vicar of Wakefield any day.
I’ll defend the Vicar should it become necessary. Still:
I wonder how many people who tout Proust as a genius ever tried to read his work? How many finished it? That, my friends, is the point of this post. Do not let anyone tell you what to like or what is good.
I’ve known people who started À la recherche du temps perdu; I’m not sure if I know anyone who finished it.