The Atlantic

Readability Is a Myth

There aren't "difficult" books and "easy" ones. There are books that are difficult for some people, and easy for others.
Source: Tim Chong / Reuters

What's the most difficult book you've ever read? For me, at least within recent memory, there's no question—the book that was hardest for me to slog through, the book that I would have put down if I didn't have to read it for work, was E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey.

is not the sort of book that most people think of when they think of difficult books. Instead, when thinking about books that are challenging, or hard to read, most folks' thoughts turn to imposing modernist book stops like (which I haven't (which I did read, long ago.)

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPsychology
The Startling Rise of Choking During Sex
There are a lot of emotions commonly associated with sex: love, happiness, excitement, maybe even relaxation. But for many women, one sexual feeling that comes to mind is a darker one: fear. In a recent study, Debby Herbenick, a professor and sex res
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Trump and Kim’s Interactions Aren’t Transactional Anymore
Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang entail the good, the bad, and the ugly of any relationship.
The Atlantic2 min readWellness
Should Human Feces Be Regulated Like a Drug?
A fecal-transplant patient has unexpectedly died just as the FDA is deciding the future of the unconventional procedure.