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by Toni Morrison

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(9) Mount Everest

The only reason we didn't ramp it all the way up to a 10 is because Beloved is so out there and creepy that it's a page-turner no matter how tough it is.

Why is so complex? For starters, every word means something deep; every random object is a symbol or metaphor for something. In other words, it's stuff that your English teachers go gaga over. And—you guessed it—the ideas match the writing.

If you're a little scared of that Mount Everest rating, that's natural, but don't let that stop you from scaling the mountain. The payoff is huge. Your brain will definitely thank you.

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