I read some of Kafka's work in the 1990s but barely remember it. I vividly remember the first few pages of The Metamorphosis, which I think I read completely. (Full e-text available here; though I would hate to read an entire book on the computer screen. Get the book!)

I've been meaning to go back and read Kafka again - Kafka, who wrote like no other about the absurdity of everything.

Like he wrote: "A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us." A book of Kafka's shorter pieces and novellas is what I need. Today, on what would be his 125th birthday, is as good a day as any to start reading him. I'll pick it up at the library later this afternoon.

Meanwhile, you go read this very touching letter from Kafka to his (distant and domineering) father.

"My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast. It was an intentionally long-drawn-out leave-taking from you."

[Some of us could have done with such a long-drawn-out leave-taking from our fathers (loving and close and the opposite of what Kafka's father seemed to be)... a time to sit and talk. ..to time to say goodbyes.]