Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

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Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Fudge » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:49 am UTC

I've had a good number of them (lol fountainhead), but the one I'm reading right now is actually irritating me rather than just boring me. Meridian by Alice Walker seems like it's trying very hard to make me feel guilty for being white. I can't identify with the main character at all, and the writer seems like she's selectively critical of things, and the book is so mindnumbingly depressing that it's hard to finish... and it's only 240 or so pages.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby niende » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:03 am UTC

I had to read Catcher in The Rye for school and have actually even given it a second try after, but I still don't get it..

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby pieaholicx » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:01 pm UTC

For me, The Great Gatsby tops the list. I rather disliked it, and wasn't made any happier about it when I had to pick out all the "symbolism" from it.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:45 pm UTC

Jane Eyre.

Fuck that book, seriously.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Flying Betty » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:06 pm UTC

Great Expectations. Ugh.

Does having to read something for school make it that much worse? I went through a phase where I felt like I should read some classic literature because my high school's English department sucked, so I've read the last three books mentioned above and was at least satisfied with all of them.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:49 pm UTC

++ Great Gatsby, worst book ever.

Also, Wide Sargasso Sea, which is (IIRC) written by somebody who actually liked Jane Eyre and basically wrote a fanfic about the crazy lady in the attic, if you thought Jayne Eyre was bad...
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Rodan » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:37 pm UTC

I hate it when they invariably make me read things below my reading level, and talk about trying to get the class to "expand their horizons". Like I'll be reading The Time Machine or War of the Worlds, and they'll assign a book about sports.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby __Kit » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:39 pm UTC

Meh, shitty New Zealand teen books you wouldn't know about.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby 401K » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:08 pm UTC

A lot of the stuff I read for school I'm pretty content with, but the past few year I'm starting to dislike the books a little bit more. I couldn't even read Wuthering Heights which is so boring and is an effective alternative to a sleeping pill. Gulliver's Travels, which wasn't too bad, but the way Swift writes to satirize travel books is just annoying. Although I have read a lot of good books in school, mostly because I was allowed to choose. Ironweed was pretty decent (and that's all I have to say about that). I'm going to read Candide in a couple of days and that actually looks interesting.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Aleril » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:14 am UTC

I think I am the only person in this topic that actually enjoyed Gatsby immensely.

But I couldn't stand Invisible Man. Long, boring, and TOO DAMN DESCRIPTIVE. MOVE ALONG ALREADY I'M GETTING BORED.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby podbaydoor » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:40 am UTC

Aleril wrote:But I couldn't stand Invisible Man. Long, boring, and TOO DAMN DESCRIPTIVE. MOVE ALONG ALREADY I'M GETTING BORED.


Plus, it has the most cop-out ending ever. Nothing gets resolved, except maybe more pontificating.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Angelene » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:56 am UTC

I loved Jane Eyre.

I'm going with Great Expectations. Ah the most hideously tiresome piece of literature in existence. It took me months to finish it, and there was a chunk in the middle where I was skipping every second page.

While not entirely relevant, as part of our final exams we had to write a comparative essay on Great Expectations and My Left Foot (the film with Daniel Day Lewis). I also HateHateHate the film.

I don't think it's automatic that one must instantly despise a work purely because of its status as a 'schoolbook'. Some of the books we had to read at school that I really enjoyed were Summer of my German Soldier, Tuppence to Cross the Mersey, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Studying them in depth actually didn't negate any of the joy.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Narsil » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:11 am UTC

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This book is vile. It's 100 pages long and I still couldn't finish it. It's supposed to be a book about the feminist movement (which off the bat alienates every guy in class) but it ends up being about this self centered bitch that whines about how she's different for 100 pages and then kills herself. Whoo-hoo.

So, to piss the teacher off, I wrote an essay on how the book is actually a satire against the feminist movement. Ha.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Hoshi no Kabii » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:23 am UTC

Out of the Dust

It's a poetic novel. Not only does that poetic style burn my eyes, but the book was mind numbingly bland, depressing, bland, and without any solid plot I could make out (maybe there was a plot and it was hiding from me. I tried my best to pay attention to the book, but that wasn't much attention at all). Not to mention the book was nowhere my reading level.

I'm not saying whoever wrote the book was bad at writing poems, no. I'm saying it was the most god-awful thing I ever read.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Fudge » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:14 am UTC

I hated looking for symbols that weren't there or were a stretch at best, which I often had to do.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby tiny » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:19 am UTC

I passionately hat(ed) 'Lord of the Flies'. Ambiguity of nature, well, fuck you.
Besides having a disappointingly boring plot (i expected something Robinson Crusoe-like) the author does something I actually could kill for:
He doesn't create characters, he spits out archetypes to promote his view on society. I mean, I share a view quite similar to his, but why doesn't he write nonfiction? Why does he have to abuse defenseless characters to bring his point across!? Characters are a writer's children. Would you force your views on your children? Use them for your own interests? Don't let them have a life of their own? Not unless you do some pretty bad parenting.

I hate 'Death of a Salesman', too. Same reason.
And 'Die Geisterbahn' by... forgot his name. Never read it. Was tested about it on my final oral exam in German, though. Told the teacher I didn't read it. That look was priceless:D Still passed. Go me.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Crazy Eddie » Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:12 pm UTC

The Sound and the Fury

Sorry, I don't have a clue what the fucking thing was about. I didn't have much of a clue right after I read it. It went on for pages and pages and pages from the point of view of an idiot (yeah, a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing... great metaphor, not so great when it goes on for a hundred pages or so!)

Then a character that could actually get a coherent point across took over the narration and then... somebody committed suicide by drowning and there was this girl that the idiot thought smelled like trees who did... something. The end.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 pm UTC

A view from the Bridge.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby yellie » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:16 pm UTC

CaraInFrames wrote:... My Left Foot (the film with Daniel Day Lewis). I also HateHateHate the film.


+1.

We had to make a comparative study between Death of a Salesman (which I LOVED), Witness (starring: Harrison Ford. I think my soul died a little every time we watched it, it was so bad) and Reading In The Dark by Seamus Deane. I don't expect anyone to know about it because it's Irish, but it's a memoir of the author's life in the form of a novel. It wasn't actually that bad, but when you're forced to find father-son moments in all three texts and link them all together, the only feeling you're capable of is pure, unadulterated hatred for everything.

In 3rd year, we had to read The Machine Gunners, which was utterly mediocre, so we watched the television show instead. It was crap, but it's saving grace was this.

Incidentally, this thread made me find all of my old English notes and essays, and now I'm reading them and feeling all nostalgic and sad that I'll never write another Macbeth essay. Which I also loved.

... I don't think I belong in this thread. The only text I really hated in English class was actually a film.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Gadren » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:02 pm UTC

I have a lot of trouble in finding important symbols or even noticing important events in many school-assigned books. For example, in Catch-22, I somehow didn't understand that it was recalling the same event of the flight which killed Snowden -- so Snowden seemed to whine a LOT more in my reading of that book than he actually did. But Catch-22 wasn't bad.

Great Expectations was my introduction to hideous writing. The only good part about it was when Miss Havisham caught on fire, and it STILL took paragraphs upon paragraphs to describe it.

Lord of the Flies was also painful, also because of the symbolism and my inability to pick up important plot details, as was The Scarlet Letter (but that one was mainly because we had to annotate our book as we read).

And I consider Beloved and Bless Me, Ultima as similar in their suckiness: basically crazy confusion for the same of confusion (communicating poorly and then acting smug when not understood), mystical and nebulous obsession with amorphous spiritualism and the like, and so ethnically immersed that you can't criticize them without being dismissed as a white male who just can't understand (but still has to read the books).

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby madaloon » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:14 pm UTC

pieaholicx wrote:For me, The Great Gatsby tops the list. I rather disliked it, and wasn't made any happier about it when I had to pick out all the "symbolism" from it.


Yes. Yes. Yes. I don't care about the significance of green vs. yellow. I don't care about the old guy with the glasses. When Gatsby saw the light from the dock, he was looking at the lighthouse, not looking towards his unattainable goals.

Grapes of Wrath is the other book that I couldn't stand. How many pages are needed to tell us that the turtle crossed the road? Way too descriptive.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Clumpy » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:23 pm UTC

The original short story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a plodding, wordy monstrosity. That and "The Secret Sharer" are the only books that made me question my desire to go on living.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Oort » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

The Giver. The plot just didn't work for me.

Also, Love Medicine by Louise Erdritch. I loathe it for the boring, unlikeable characters, and the difficult and boring plot. I didn't finish it.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby masher » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:09 pm UTC

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton.

No punctuation denoting speech.

Stupid author....

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Araneae » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:47 am UTC

Bless Me, Ultima. Oh, the horror! The agony!

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Teh Russians » Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:57 am UTC

A lot of the books they make us read in school are actually not so bad, it's just that they overanalyze them to the point that it kinda kills my interest in the book. If Shakespeare heard some of the bullshit that is daily spewed in my AP English class, he would probably shoot himself.

The one book that I really REALLY hated was Silas Marner by George Eliot. That was the only book I ever burned.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Amnesiasoft » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:16 am UTC

I didn't find Great Gatsby to be all that bad. Great? hardly, but not horrible. Though that may have been tainted by having the single most awesome assignment for a book I've ever had, we had to make a soundtrack for the book, conveniently, Dragostea din Tei worked perfectly for part of it...

As for awful books, Cry the Beloved Country. I do not need to read two pages about how there is a list to get a house, I got it the first sentence. Maybe the second was appropriate to clarify for the people who aren't great readers, the third may be pushing it, but 4+ sentences that say the same thing? That is pushing it.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Marbas » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:26 am UTC

Beloved.

Oh how I loathed the book Beloved. It was vague, mystical, and the characters were uninteresting. It also had a lot of unnecessary vulgarity, I mean really, do you NEED to use animals bumping uglies as a literary device?

Oh, and entire chapters were written in stream of consciousness style, which was really really annoying.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby davis » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:44 am UTC

madaloon wrote:
pieaholicx wrote:For me, The Great Gatsby tops the list. I rather disliked it, and wasn't made any happier about it when I had to pick out all the "symbolism" from it.


Yes. Yes. Yes. I don't care about the significance of green vs. yellow. I don't care about the old guy with the glasses. When Gatsby saw the light from the dock, he was looking at the lighthouse, not looking towards his unattainable goals.

Grapes of Wrath is the other book that I couldn't stand. How many pages are needed to tell us that the turtle crossed the road? Way too descriptive.

So Fitzgerald wrote about him reaching his arms out towards the green light that marks Daisy's house when he thinks nobody's watching because it advanced the plot, right? Right? No.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby madaloon » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:29 am UTC

davis wrote:
madaloon wrote:
pieaholicx wrote:For me, The Great Gatsby tops the list. I rather disliked it, and wasn't made any happier about it when I had to pick out all the "symbolism" from it.


Yes. Yes. Yes. I don't care about the significance of green vs. yellow. I don't care about the old guy with the glasses. When Gatsby saw the light from the dock, he was looking at the lighthouse, not looking towards his unattainable goals.

Grapes of Wrath is the other book that I couldn't stand. How many pages are needed to tell us that the turtle crossed the road? Way too descriptive.

So Fitzgerald wrote about him reaching his arms out towards the green light that marks Daisy's house when he thinks nobody's watching because it advanced the plot, right? Right? No.


Forgive me, it's been more than a while. My sister and I just make fun of the lighthouse at every available moment.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby RacS » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:32 am UTC

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I've not even read the full book yet and I'm supposed to do a comparison essay about it.
A close second is Orange is not the only Fruit by some person I can't remember, that I have to do the comparison with ><

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby jareturns » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:37 pm UTC

I hated the play, 'a view from the bridge' too.

Also, Romeo and Juliet - grossly overrated, but then most of Shakespeare's is.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Fnord » Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:10 pm UTC

"Lycko landet".. a book about an illegal imigrant in sweden. The first 5 pages were interesting.. the following 100 pages were about how he made tea on a beach, and the last 50 or so pages were about how he made tea togheter with an old man. I still remember being forced to read it at 4th grade (the 3rd worst trauma in my life?).
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby apricity » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

Most of the books I read in high school were hard to get through, but once I'd finished them I liked them. I only like books right away if I read them in one sitting. The one book that I absolutely, completely despised, because it was pointless and I got absolutely nothing out of it, was Moby Dick. It's the most boring, overdetailed, pointless piece of crap in the universe. Grr.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby davis » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:42 pm UTC

madaloon wrote:Forgive me, it's been more than a while. My sister and I just make fun of the lighthouse at every available moment.

Alright, cool, it's just, well, one of the most blatant symbols in any book I've ever read. It's not just a lighthouse.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby LiraelGoldenhand » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:55 pm UTC

Gadren wrote:Great Expectations was my introduction to hideous writing. The only good part about it was when Miss Havisham caught on fire, and it STILL took paragraphs upon paragraphs to describe it.


Shit damn yes. The only time I ever liked Dickens after that was when he appeared in Doctor Who.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Severus Severance » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:02 am UTC

Bless Me, Ultima is awful. If you can, don't read this. It's not worth those hours of your time. Unless you are, unlike me, actually someone who can "appreciate" this goddamn book. Nothing happens and a bunch of people die. (Also, the protagonist is quite... literate for a six-year-old.)

Also, I despised The Alchemist. As a novel it's nothing special, but from the introduction on, the message of the book is POUNDED. INTO. YOUR. FACE. Plus there are a few mistakes that really make me angry -- like the place where he says that scarabs symbolize God in Egypt.

No.

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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby OmenPigeon » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:25 am UTC

jareturns wrote:Also, Romeo and Juliet - grossly overrated, but then most of Shakespeare's is.


I agree that Shakespeare doesn't make great reading, but I don't think it's entirely fair to call him overrated.

I haven't read all of his stuff, and less of it more than once, because the words on the page really don't hold my interest. But I've recently seen some it performed, and I mean really performed, and by God does it work.

Reading plays will always be, at best, a pale simulacrum of watching a really talented company act them on stage. Unfortunately, really talented companies are hard to come by, so we have to make do with what we have.

Ultimately, Shakespeare is a pretty good playwright. Unfortunately, this doesn't make him a very good novelist, and a lot of English courses seem to treat him as one.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:17 pm UTC

jareturns wrote:Also, Romeo and Juliet


I'll contend that.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby william » Sat Oct 27, 2007 3:28 am UTC

Narsil wrote:The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This book is vile. It's 100 pages long and I still couldn't finish it. It's supposed to be a book about the feminist movement (which off the bat alienates every guy in class) but it ends up being about this self centered bitch that whines about how she's different for 100 pages and then kills herself. Whoo-hoo.

So, to piss the teacher off, I wrote an essay on how the book is actually a satire against the feminist movement. Ha.

It would be incredibly hard for that book to be about the feminist movement, considering that the suffragist movement didn't even exist back when she wrote it. But at least it was shorter than the Scarlet Letter. Boo hoo, get a fucking divorce. HOW THE FUCK DID WE MISS THAT ONE? Perhaps because it's not a book but a torture method.
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