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

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

Postby sm_usagi » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

Senefen wrote:Ha ha, I love how long the thread is.

Hated 'Far From The Madding Crowd' by Tomas Hardy (?). He's spend 3 pages discribing a sunrise. Dullest book ever.
All the Australian stuff they made us read. They're all boring coming of age, dealing with racism crap >_>


Oh me yarm - My Place, by Sally Morgan? Wasn't it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawful. *cringes*

(ETA - Place, not House, I misremembered!)

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

Postby Sharkeh » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:35 pm UTC

clayasaurus wrote:Emma by Jane Austen

what a load of inane shit


Amen.

Made simply worse that we then had to watch Clueless (filled with just as much inane shit) and then compare the two. My English teacher happened to be a great lover of Austen, and the words 'inane shit' probably would have caused her to have an anuerism.

There have been books just as bad - I quote John Wyndham's 'The Chrysalids' as a main example. But at least with that book, in particular, I could force myself to read it all in one sitting (We were supposed to do a chapter a day, then a chapter review. I refused that, came back the day after we got the book and handed my teacher a book review). But Emma? Oh dear god no. H.A.T.E

Other Austen books, I can deal with. I could handle Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park... But not Emma

Off that dreaded book for a second - Whoever it was who listed Of Mice and Men as a book they could not stand... To you, dear sir or madame, I wholeheartedly disagree

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

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

Blech, I just found out I have to read 'The Great Gastby' again. After I had successfully forgotten the entire book. At least I'm in college now, so I can say 'I hated this drivel' without reprecussion, as long as I back it up.

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

Postby Senefen » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:47 am UTC

sm_usagi wrote:
Senefen wrote:Ha ha, I love how long the thread is.

Hated 'Far From The Madding Crowd' by Tomas Hardy (?). He's spend 3 pages discribing a sunrise. Dullest book ever.
All the Australian stuff they made us read. They're all boring coming of age, dealing with racism crap >_>


Oh me yarm - My Place, by Sally Morgan? Wasn't it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawful. *cringes*

(ETA - Place, not House, I misremembered!)

Nope didn't get My Place got the one about the Fat kid (Carl) and something about a bridge and he had a brother called Harley.
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Narsil » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:07 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:Blech, I just found out I have to read 'The Great Gastby' again. After I had successfully forgotten the entire book. At least I'm in college now, so I can say 'I hated this drivel' without reprecussion, as long as I back it up.

But it's soooo goooood!

Looking back, though, I wonder if I liked it because it was a good book, or because it was not another feminist novel in a year especially unmerciful with them.

Tom Buchanan breaking Daisy's nose with "a deft movement of his open palm" made me chuckle, though. Now my circle of friends refers to domestic abuse as "going Tom Buchanan" on someone.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby thatguy » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

Sharkeh wrote:Whoever it was who listed Of Mice and Men as a book they could not stand... To you, dear sir or madame, I wholeheartedly disagree

Second. I really liked the book, but my memories of it are tainted because our teacher made us watch a movie version with the guy from CSI:NY in it... yeacch

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

Postby Palomides » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:04 am UTC

I would just like to say, briefly, that The Kite Runner was terrible. The moral simplicity nearly made me puke after reading, also as required reading, Crime and Punishment, a great book that doesn't have pathetic, transparent take-away messages of The Kite Runner, like "rape is bad," "lying is bad," and "love your everyone because they might be bastard children of your father."
That retarded piece of trash has forced me to make new rules in choosing which books to read: "Nothing that says anything on the back about the hardships of adapting to a culture." Because I don't give a sh*t about how mean you were to the bastard son of your father because you were a spoiled brat.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Baron » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:23 am UTC

Fortress by Gabrielle Lord - possibly one of the worst books I have read anyway, it didn't in any way draw me in, and over analysis of a) the plot and b) what little development there was meant/means that I honestly would rather attempt to read a book in another language.. The film adaptation was just as bad, we had to watch that as well.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Wolf » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:52 am UTC

The book that drove me personally batty was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. It's not that the writing itself was bad, it was that the main character was a whiny little piece of crud who moped around for several hundred pages about how his suffering was more special because he was an artist, at least when he wasn't screwing hookers or having hallucinations about bird-girls.

Plus, we had to analyze all of it and while it was good analysis, it made the book go on even longer. Blech.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby mickyj300x » Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:06 am UTC

Guitar Highway Rose.
Just... Guitar Highway Rose.
It felt like the author thought she understood teenagers, and fails miserably.
And written in an obscure style.

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

Postby Chfan » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:30 pm UTC

A Separate Peace. The story itself is good, but John Knowles' writing is just so annoying and the main character's narration is so stupidly pretentious, I just didn't like it.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby mdyrud » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:10 pm UTC

One of the worst things I ever read was Ibsen's A Doll's House. Our teacher was super feminist, so every single thing that the guy said was taken as some sort of slur against women. She had us write a paper afterward discussing the ways in which the women were persecuted.

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

Postby the_stabbage » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:25 pm UTC

The Pearl by John Steinbeck was the worst book I had to read. A lot of people didn't like The Lord of the Flies, I think I was the only one in my class who did.

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

Postby Wolf » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

the_stabbage wrote:The Pearl by John Steinbeck was the worst book I had to read. A lot of people didn't like The Lord of the Flies, I think I was the only one in my class who did.


Oh man, The Pearl. I'd mercifully forgotten about that. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking "I get it: GREED IS BAD." Coupled with the fact that it was being taught by the woman I consider to have been my single worst English teacher in my Jr. High/High School career. . .yeah, I'm never touching that book again.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Chfan » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

It appears we had the same experience, then.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Brooklynxman » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:02 pm UTC

Any Shakesphere book when I don't have someone good teaching it, and Lord of the Flies (shoot me now)
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Chfan » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

I would also like to add that the name "Quackenbush" from A Separate Peace sounds like a game I play with your mom. That is all.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby molbio5 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

i positively HATED this piece of shit book called Things Fall Apart. in a sentence, its about a tribe in africa who were doing just fine until missionaries come and spoil the whole place (they basically torched the villiage) and this main character gets pissed when his son converted and went and hung himself from a tree.
i'm not sure WHAT the point of the book was, but i wrote a nice essay on suicide that was word for word George Carlins "suicide channel" bit. i'm relatively sure the teacher thought i was insane, because she obviously didn't get the reference.
other works of literature that were horrid include the Scarlet Letter (wrote an essay without reading the book)(too long,detailed,symbolic,and pointless), greek mythology (which i loved until freshman english), and a midsummer night's dream (i love shakespeare, but they translated it into modern english, and something got lost there)

i actually didn't hate the Great Gatsby, but it was analysed to death and overly symbolic (its just a light people! no fucking meaning at all!). lord of the flies was the same way. i did get to read some pretty badass books too, like macbeth and the crucible

on a funny note, we read macbeth and had to write an essay on the meaning of life in relation to the story, and i put the XKCD Philosophy comic on the cover, and got bonus points and a 100.

i had to do the Accelerated Reader program, too, in middle school. i pretty much topped the list because i kept reading things like The Republic and Lord of the Rings, and other "advanced" literature...
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Velict » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:40 am UTC

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The only way to make this book more overtly symbolic is to eliminate its plot entirely. I can deal with the archaic vocabulary and the active presence of the author (breaking the fourth wall constantly), but the symbolism makes me want to smash my head into a wall.

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

Postby Timequake » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:13 am UTC

Velict wrote:Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The only way to make this book more overtly symbolic is to eliminate its plot entirely. I can deal with the archaic vocabulary and the active presence of the author (breaking the fourth wall constantly), but the symbolism makes me want to smash my head into a wall.

Nathaniel Hawthorne does that. A LOT. It works well in his short stories (I didn't mind reading "Young Goodman Brown" or "Rappaccini's Daughter" for school), but I just couldn't find any interest in The Scarlet Letter.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Minstrel » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:05 pm UTC

Yet another vote for Gatsby. Yeah, I get the symbolism, now stop hitting me over the head with it. Maybe replace it with something about which I care, like a remotely interesting plot and characters.

Fahrenheit 451 was a close second. Again, yeah, I get it. Don't ban books or we'll be overrun by nazis. The heavy handed overly obvious cautionary tale aspect just ruined it for me.

At the risk of pissing off about a zillion people, Cat's Cradle and the few other things I read of Vonnegut's fell into the same category for me. In addition, his minimalist writing style just seemed pretentious.

And Catcher. I wanted to reach into the book and chokeslap Holden out of his frigging teen angst. Enough already, grow the fuck up! I was even the right age for it and probably full as hell of my own sillyass melodramas (9th grade), and it still pissed me off!

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

Postby Guiro » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

All the Jane Austen books I've ever had to read.

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

Postby FattyRNL » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:31 am UTC

Jane Eyre in freshman year and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn sophomore year.

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

Postby semicharmed » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:22 pm UTC

Freshman year (of highschool), we were given Cry, the Beloved Country. Which looking back, wasn't a bad book, but was a poor choice for that particular class. It was the first book I had to read for class that I didn't finish on the day the book was given out.
And way back in 5th grade, I was supposed to read Across Five Aprils for an independent, everyone in the class is assigned a book based on their reading skills, report thing. And couldn't get past the first pages; overly-exaggerated southern dialect was not easy going.
I think that's it, although sophomore year the teacher was a feminist and super-into feminist literary analysis, which spoiled, in order, Macbeth, Jane Eyre, To Catch a Mockingbird, and all of Sylvia Plath, not that she needed much.

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

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:30 pm UTC

Well, I just finished The Great Gatsby for the second time, and still hate it. Fitzgerald had a talent for lavish description, but he wasted it by wallowing in filth and gossip. I don't feel satisfied that I'm not one of those disgusting nouveau-riche, I feel vaguely sickened that he continued to throw himself wholeheartedly among those people he looked down on, just so he could have more juicy, salacious details for his stories. I feel insulted that he thought us plebeians would eat up his stories, sagely nodding over how much better we are than those awful rich people, while he was still having the joke on us, because he thought we weren't clever enough to get it.

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

Postby Jorpho » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:Well, I just finished The Great Gatsby for the second time, and still hate it. Fitzgerald had a talent for lavish description, but he wasted it by wallowing in filth and gossip. I don't feel satisfied that I'm not one of those disgusting nouveau-riche, I feel vaguely sickened that he continued to throw himself wholeheartedly among those people he looked down on, just so he could have more juicy, salacious details for his stories. I feel insulted that he thought us plebeians would eat up his stories, sagely nodding over how much better we are than those awful rich people, while he was still having the joke on us, because he thought we weren't clever enough to get it.
Darn it, now you've gone and found an intriguing new dimension of the story. Such depth was completely lost on me - I found it wholly forgettable, neither worthy of intense hate nor of lavish praise.

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

Postby NO1PCKTHS » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:07 am UTC

As expected, in a thread with so many posts, I both agree and disagree with many statements. So, of course, I must post my own.

Good:
I have also read Gatsby twice, and I actually kind of enjoyed it. I will agree (in high school anyway) that the symbology is horribly overanalyzed, but it is a quality, quick, and mostly entertaining read.

I also enjoyed Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart, and Portrait of the Artist.

Also in 12th grade, we had to choose four "significant works of literature" to read on our own and do a report on. All of my choices turned out well:
- All Silent on the Western Front
- The Brothers Karamazov
- Camus's The Plague
- Hitchhiker's Guide (hell yes)

Bad:
Scarlet Letter
Johnny Got His Gun
Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)

Ugly:
Winesburg, OH (Did anyone else even have to read this? I don't understand how it even weaseled its way into a curriculum.)
Lord of the Flies--This was the only book in my life that I refused to stop reading until I had finished just because I couldn't stand the thought of having to pick it back up to finish.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby urbazewski » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:47 am UTC

Wolf wrote:The book that drove me personally batty was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. It's not that the writing itself was bad, it was that the main character was a whiny little piece of crud who moped around for several hundred pages about how his suffering was more special because he was an artist...


I couldn't agree more. I reread it recently and it was even worse than I remembered. The narrator is completely full of himself. I'd mercifully forgotten all the long stupid parts about Irish politics.

On the other hand, Adventures of Huck Finn was much better on rereading, in my opinion.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:23 am UTC

NO1PCKTHS wrote:Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)
Not even Edgar Allen? (I place e. e. cummings at the other end of the scale, myself.)

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

Postby NO1PCKTHS » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
NO1PCKTHS wrote:Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)
Not even Edgar Allen? (I place e. e. cummings at the other end of the scale, myself.)


All of the poetry that we did in school was of the Dickinson/Whitman type, which I couldn't stand, this is the stuff that I thought was severely overanalyzed. I read the Raven, was kind of indifferent. I did (and do) enjoy Poe's prose - The Gold-Bug, Cask of Amontillado, Tell-Tale Heart, etc.

Verse, in general, ruins stories for me, I don't really know why, and I'm not really happy about it. This applies to Shakespeare (though not to the same extent), Virgil, Dante, even Homer. I can recognize the quality of the story, but I don't enjoy reading it as much as I would like.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby mewshi » Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:01 pm UTC

the_stabbage wrote:The Pearl by John Steinbeck was the worst book I had to read. A lot of people didn't like The Lord of the Flies, I think I was the only one in my class who did.


Exact opposite here.


Also -Ethan Frome - book sucks.

Things Fall Apart - sucks.

Silas Marner - Suck and fail

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

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
NO1PCKTHS wrote:Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)
Not even Edgar Allen? (I place e. e. cummings at the other end of the scale, myself.)


I think the worst thing schools do is kill poetry. They make it out to be terribly obscure and something only a few 'sophisticates' understand and enjoy. The teacher always holds the 'key' to understanding the poem, which is horseshit, because poetry is meant to be experienced, not analyzed.

Hell, most teachers don't even know how to read poetry properly -_-

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

Postby Minstrel » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

NO1PCKTHS wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
NO1PCKTHS wrote:Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)
Not even Edgar Allen? (I place e. e. cummings at the other end of the scale, myself.)


...I read the Raven, was kind of indifferent...


If you ever get in the mood to try Poe's poetry out again, I recommend trying a few of the ones they don't read in school. "The Raven" is nice, but it is (along with many of his other works) not "horror" or many of the other things people call it and falls flat when viewed as such. "The Raven" is more an essay in self-torture. The character isn't stupid. He knows that the raven is going to keep saying "nevermore" and he keeps asking questions that will have a bad result when answered with "nevermore".

The City in the Sea" is my favorite. "Annabel Lee" a close second. "Alone" is sometimes read in school, but really wonderful nonetheless.

Other recommendations that are far different from the Dickinson/Whitman type. These are fairly popular ones:

Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias"
Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott"
Byron's "She Walks in Beauty"
Yeat's "The Second Coming" (I recommend this just for the lovely flow of the poem, although it does require a little analysis/reading to know what he's talking about)

I had the same experience until some better lit courses in college. The poetry they had us read in high school was either too flowery, rambling/experimental (ee cummings) or modern stuff, written in current language, for which I never cared.

Sorry - I know this post was a bit of a tangent from the main topic. I always feel compelled to defend Poe's work from the poor interpretations presented by many teachers.

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

Postby knight2417 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:15 am UTC

We are reading "Julius Caesar" in English class. It seems like a great book, but my teacher is utterly destroying it. She stops to explain every line, so it takes us 10 minutes to get through a page. After this I don't know if ill ever be able to read Shakespeare.

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

Postby psyck0 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:21 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
NO1PCKTHS wrote:Any and all of the poetry (I'm sorry, it just doesn't do it for me)
Not even Edgar Allen? (I place e. e. cummings at the other end of the scale, myself.)


I think the worst thing schools do is kill poetry. They make it out to be terribly obscure and something only a few 'sophisticates' understand and enjoy. The teacher always holds the 'key' to understanding the poem, which is horseshit, because poetry is meant to be experienced, not analyzed.

Hell, most teachers don't even know how to read poetry properly -_-


Take a lit course in university. I am absolutely LOVING that we are not analysing them to death (we just don't have time), and have found a fair few poets I like. Check out Rainer Maria Rilke.

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

Postby rat4000 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:09 pm UTC

Ah, Rilke. He is amazing, particularly in German (which I am fortunately capable of reading).

I fail to see what was wrong with Lord of the Flies, though. They were kids, they were alone, they were frightened... everything that happened appears entirely logical to me. And it was stunningly well-written.

I have, thanks to God, never read a book for school that I couldn't stand. In fact, I'm reading "The Perfume" by Süskind for school right now because our teacher asked us to pick a book we liked. And we're not even analyzing it.

I'm such a lucky person...

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

Postby casiguapa » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter.

Damned stupid newbie A-Level teacher. We could've gone with A Handful of Dust, or Enduring Love but nooooo, it had to be this crap, which meant we were all subjected to fucking Margaret Atwood for background reading. My life would've been infinitely better had I not read Oryx & Crake and The Handmaiden's Tale.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:30 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:Take a lit course in university. I am absolutely LOVING that we are not analysing them to death (we just don't have time), and have found a fair few poets I like. Check out Rainer Maria Rilke.


Oh, trust me, I'm a poetry lover. Not a poet, but definitely a major fan of many different poems. I even enjoy teaching poetry, because I love it when a student's eyes light up and they provide a very possibly valid new interpretation of the poem.

I keep a huge omnibus edition of American poetry, 1600-1970, next to my bed. I often finish the day with a poem. If not from that book then from one of my huge tomes of Brit Lit, or modern poetry. My old school library winnowed out their poetry section, and I got at least 15 books from them.

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

Postby rat4000 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

@Kendo: How does one read poetry properly, and how does one read it improperly? This is not a rhetoric question or sarcasm or anything, I'd just never heard these words used in relation to reading before.

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

Postby psyck0 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

For me, "properly" would really depend on the author and style of poem; for instance, some are really meant to be read out loud or presented, while others are meant to be read in a big cosy chair in front of a fire. Generally, however, read them however you like and for fun. If you're not enjoying them, stop reading. Don't read too much meaning into them or figure out how they work; just enjoy them.


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