by Rudyard Kipling
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)
(3) Base Camp
Kim still gets marketed as a children's book, which tells you one thing: it's easy to read. Even though this novel is over a hundred years old, most of the language is pretty modern, and the plot is fast-paced and surprising.
What can make Kim a little tough for today's readers is the unfamiliar setting and political situation of the book. After all, Kipling is writing about a country that doesn't exist anymore: British colonial India. He describes a time when you could walk between what is now Pakistan and what is now India without crossing any national borders or military zones. So even though the language of Kim is straightforward and the plot line is thrilling (spies! secret identities! boarding school!), this book isn't simple. But it's worth plowing through anyway.