Last time I tried, I couldn't handle William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. Even so, Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech is a must-read for all Americans, especially during our so-called "Perpetual War on Terror":
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart...
For more, see HERE.