Wasafiri, a literary magazine I've never heard of, asked 25 "acclaimed international writers", most of whom I've never heard of, to name which book they thought most shaped world literature over the last 25 years. My ignorance of these writers probably speaks to the insularity of American writers/readers that Nobel Prize official Horace Engdahl was referring to in his comments last year, but I look at this list and think it could just as easily be titled, "Authors I Only Read Because I Feel I Have To."
Toni Morrison? I couldn't wait for Beloved to end. Roberto Bolano? I just gave up on reading The Savage Detectives after it took me about three weeks to get through the first 165pp and deciding I hated every single character and couldn't take it anymore. 100 Years of Solitude? Interesting and occasionally beautiful, but I just never felt like I could relate to it at all. You get the idea.
I'm not saying these books aren't brilliant, but must so many 'important' books be so... unpleasurable? Maybe it's just me, but I was very happy to see fellow nominees Lolita and The English Patient, two books that also have pretty weighty subject matter, but still manage to be engaging and compelling.