Moby Dick, Ulysses and The Sound and the Fury can cause tremors or cold sweats just by coming up on a syllabus or in conversation at a cocktail party. And there's good reason: The terrifying trio present some real challenges to the reader (Moby Dick with its encyclopedism, Ulysses with its recondite vocabulary and constant experimentation, and The Sound and the Fury with its flip-flopping of times and names, and general narrative confusion).
But here's a secret key to finishing — and actually enjoying — these all-time intimidators: You have to realize how much humor is packed into each, and let laughter get you over the humps.
'The Sound And The Fury'
The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner, paperback, 336 pages
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, paperback, 464 pages
Ulysses, by James Joyce, paperback, 783 pages
In Moab, Utah, the local citizenry's expectations for their public library are as lofty as the colorful canyons, mesas and buttes that surround them.
It's Eve Tallman's job to meet those high expectations. She directs the Grand County Public Library in Moab, which serves a county the size of Delaware and Rhode Island put together.
Tallman's library — built to citizen specification — was recently named the best small library in 2007 by Library Journal.
Books on tape are a popular choice for locals who drive long distances in the remote region, Tallman says. A million international visitors come through Moab each year, many of whom are interested in climbing, canyoneering and rafting down the Colorado River.
Tallman, who enjoys canyoneering in her spare time, says the local landscape influences her reading choices. She kicks off Weekend Edition Sunday's annual summer reading series with a handful of books she's set aside for the season.