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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

Let's be honest – this is one long novel. You have to live with this novel for a while – it just takes a long time to read. Plus the action is frequently interrupted by long, philosophically dense passages – the Grand Inquisitor chapter, the elder Zosima's life and times, the speeches at Dmitri's trial. Fortunately there's enough blood, scandal, gossip, and twisted romance so you don't have to get overwhelmed by all the philosophy. The Brothers Karamazov will either dazzle you or baffle you – or both.

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