This passage from Roberto Bolaño's 2666 reminds me of Underworld and Infinite Jest:
He chose 'The Metamorphosis" over The Trial, he chose "Bartleby" over Moby-Dick, he chose "A Simple Heart" over Bouvard and Pécuchet, and "A Christmas Carol" over A Tale of Two Cities or The Pickwick Papers. What a sad paradox, thought Amalfitano. Now even bookish pharmacists are afraid to take on the great, imperfect, torrential works, books that blaze paths into the unknown. They choose the perfect exercises of the great masters. Or what amounts to the same thing: they want to watch the great masters spar, but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.
(Via jeremy on Goodreads.)