What makes a challenging book? It might be the way it demands attention or the subject matter which is stretching expectations. It can be a book that tackles a heavy subject whether intellectually or emotionally. Or it can be the complex language sometimes without punctuation, or a huge cast of characters with lots of names and relationships to remember, often spread over many generations. Authors love to play clever tricks with a jumping narrative – flashbacks, stream of consciousness, unreliable narrators, no chronological progression.
But when a book throws down the gauntlet, some of us leap to respond, feeling brave enough to accept and step up to claim the prize. There are many rewards for taking on such a challenge – the knowledge that you have chosen a demanding path and the anticipation of some incredible sights and sounds along the way, a sense of personal achievement of a goal achieved, the hope of learning something new that might enrich your life. And what is a challenge for one reader, is pure stimulation and satisfaction for another. So check out the selection here, test your stamina and dare to give one - or maybe two if you want to push yourself - a go.