But it does one good when the conscience receives extensive wounds, because they make it more sensitive to each prick. I believe one should only read the books that bite and sting. If a book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a punch on the head, what are we reading it for? . . . We need the books which affect us like a disaster, which pain us deeply, like the death of someone dearer to us than ourselves, like being lost in the woods, far from everyone, like a suicide, a book must be the axe for the frozen sea in us.
Franz Kafka - (Letter to Oskar Pollack - Jan 1904)