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 Kizyr » Sat Oct 27, 2007 4:21 am UTC

Yet another vote for Great Gatsby... I couldn't care less about the characters. The only other time I found everyone so damned pretentious in one book was when I read Pride and Prejudice (which doesn't go on my list, because it wasn't something I had to read for school--which is why I only got through 2/3rds of it before chucking it in disgust).

As for Dickens, I really didn't like Tale of Two Cities, but that's 'cause I just can't get into Dickens' writing style. I can objectively see why he's a good author, he's just not my style. Oh, and Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was lousy. The symbolism in that book is so blatant that it comes off as one giant cliché.

On the other end of the spectrum, I absolutely loved Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but for some reason I don't get, I seemed to be the only one in my class that did. Throughout high school, we also got to read quite a bit by Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury; thanks to that, those two are my all-time favorite authors.

Ah! I almost forgot! I hated Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Makes me glad that it's the only book she ever wrote. It's also the only time I can say with confidence that the Hollywood-ified version is better--at least they cut out the completely lame romance novel that Shelley arbitrarily stuck in the middle.

OmenPigeon wrote: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.


Absolutely... There are many huge gripes I have with how Shakespeare is usually presented. I couldn't stand him until my senior year of high school, when I finally had an English teacher who could teach his material the way it was meant.

There are two big reasons I've found for why Shakespeare can sound like crap. One you mentioned directly, that it's supposed to be a play, not a novel, and so it should be approached as a performance, not just a book.

The other reason is similar to what you said regarding good companies performing him. Most high schoolers' exposure to Shakespeare being acted comes from, well, high school productions. And... kids/amateur actors tend to read Shakespeare as poetry...

Regardless of the meter of the prose,
it should be spoken as one norm'ly speaks.

Reading Shakespeare's dialogue like poetry instead of dialogue absolutely ruins it. 'Cause then you have folks reading it, and attempting to act it, without understanding what it means. And when the actors don't even understand, you can't expect the audience to understand either. Then the meaning goes out the window and no one likes it.

...it also doesn't help that Romeo and Juliet is one of his lamer plays. KF
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby OmenPigeon » Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:02 am UTC

Kizyr wrote:On the other end of the spectrum, I absolutely loved Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but for some reason I don't get, I seemed to be the only one in my class that did. Throughout high school, we also got to read quite a bit by Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury; thanks to that, those two are my all-time favorite authors.

Same here. When we read it for class my teacher was awesome enough to not only have us read The Hollow Men, but also spend two classes screening Apocalypse Now.

Kizyr wrote:...it also doesn't help that Romeo and Juliet is one of his lamer plays. KF

Yeah, the stuff that he copied almost without editing from Ovid, et al is kind of weak.

I've found that a lot of the books I didn't really like from high school English class I've come to love dearly. I hated Sputnik Sweetheart with a fiery passion when I read it for class, but now Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors. The entire way that high school approached poetry made me despise pretty much the whole genre. It wasn't until I happened to pick up a Richard Brautigan book that had some of his poetry in between two novels that I started liking it.

While being forced to read something can destroy your affection for something you might otherwise enjoy, I think that English classes are, on the whole, a good thing. I never would have gotten back into Murakami if I hadn't had to read South of the Border, West of the Sun in college, I never would have read The Color Purple or The Handmaid's Tale if it hadn't been for class. It would have taken years, at least, for me to find Borges and Calvino on my own.

I think it's important to approach English class with a little bit of humility. While the books often don't live up to their titles as Great Works of Western Civilization, there is a reason that they're on the curriculum, and it's worth figuring out why that is, even if the work as a whole isn't all that fantastic.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Jesse » Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:49 am UTC

I would like it noted that I find Shakespeare to be a disappointing playwright save for The Tempest, Midsummer Night's Dream and Othello. Everything else just felt like it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi to me. I have always found Marlowe to be a much more reliable and interesting playwright (We did a comparative study in my English Literature class).

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

Postby Belial » Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:58 pm UTC

I second Jesster's comment, but would like to add Hamlet to the list of acceptable plays.

Also, Heart of Darkness was badass, and "The Hollow Men" is possibly my favorite poem ever.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Angelene » Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:04 pm UTC

Ah, yes, Hamlet. I loved Hamlet. I still anxiously await a Baz Lurhmanesque interpretation. I see so much potential.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby bbctol » Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

Semi-related: Has anyone ever had to make a book log? At the simplest level, it is a record of all the books you have read. At the highest level, the one the most obnoxious english teacher ever made me reach in seventh grade, you must make a table of:
Book
Author
Time started
Time stopped reading
Times for all the different rimes you began reading and stopped reading for the while
Date begun
Date finished
Personal opinion

This drove me fucking INSANE. She recommended "attaching a stopwatch to your bookmark".
Last edited by bbctol on Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Kizyr » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:48 pm UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:I've found that a lot of the books I didn't really like from high school English class I've come to love dearly. I hated Sputnik Sweetheart with a fiery passion when I read it for class, but now Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors. The entire way that high school approached poetry made me despise pretty much the whole genre. It wasn't until I happened to pick up a Richard Brautigan book that had some of his poetry in between two novels that I started liking it.

Interesting that you had a high school English class with Murakami--particularly considering it'd be through the filter of a translation, rather than English literature itself (then again, the same argument could be made for Herman Hesse, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Sophocles, Homer, etc...). ...ok, now that I think about it, it's not that odd.

I didn't read any of Murakami until Japanese class in college--translated and untranslated. He really is a brilliant author, if a bit odd. *ehem*, but off-topic...

OmenPigeon wrote:I think it's important to approach English class with a little bit of humility. While the books often don't live up to their titles as Great Works of Western Civilization, there is a reason that they're on the curriculum, and it's worth figuring out why that is, even if the work as a whole isn't all that fantastic.

I have to agree here... One of the good things my junior and senior year English teachers got across was that it's perfectly fine to criticize literature--even if other folks like to call it a classic. So, thanks to that, I can explain exactly why I thought Frankenstein was overrated crap, and likewise have legitimate reasons for liking or disliking other things.

bbctol wrote:Semi-related: Has anyone ever had to make a book log? At the simplest level, it is a record of all the books you have read. At the highest level, the one the mos toboxious english teacher ever made me reach in seventh grade, you must make a table of:

...I've never seen anything like that before. And attaching a stopwatch to the book? I couldn't think of a more perfect way to ruin the process of reading.

I've always been a slow reader, which is the main reason I don't read a whole lot. But timing myself? That'd make reading so much damn work that I wouldn't read anything unless mandatory. KF
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby George Orr » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:28 pm UTC

The book that springs immediately to mind is Pride and Prejudice, which bored the hell out of me. Not only did the plot utterly fail to interest me, but the writing style offered nothing in the least bit unusual or aesthetically satisfying. Some of my friends enjoyed it, but I actually ended up reading some summaries online instead of finishing it, which is the only case I have ever done such a thing in my entire life.

Generally, my English classes read books that were tolerable but not revelatory. The one exception was the second semester of my Junior year, in which we read "World Literature," which in this case included The Stranger, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Siddhartha and Crime and Punishment, among others. I enjoyed that semester very much.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Joeldi » Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:44 am UTC

Typhoon by Conrad

Games by Robin Klein about a loser girl that goes to an old ladies house with some bitches that hate her in order to be cool.

Another book about a whiney girl. I can't remember what happened very well. It had a hostage situation in a restuarant.

I guess I hate all books with whiney people as the central character.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby loratwopointone » Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:51 am UTC

Anything we had to read by Charles Dickens. I hate his writing so much. I tried to re-read Great Expectations a few years ago and still couldn't get into.

Shakespeare, I liked. To start with at least, I studied his plays every year for seven years and the over-analysis ruined them in the end. It's a shame really.

Slightly off topic: We had to study the poems of Simon Armatige at school, that was quite possibly the worst experience ever!
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby cathrl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:46 am UTC

bbctol wrote:Semi-related: Has anyone ever had to make a book log? At the simplest level, it is a record of all the books you have read. At the highest level, the one the most obnoxious english teacher ever made me reach in seventh grade, you must make a table of:
Book
Author
Time started
Time stopped reading
Times for all the different rimes you began reading and stopped reading for the while
Date begun
Date finished
Personal opinion

This drove me fucking INSANE. She recommended "attaching a stopwatch to your bookmark".


The teacher who both my kids had in year 2 (age 6-7) demanded something similar, to be completed by the parent when the child read to you. Since both mine had been reading to themselves for several years by the age of 6 and considered being asked to read out loud a mortal insult, it was a problem. I dutifully struggled through, filling it in, with my older child (who did tend to read out loud like a Dalek, to be fair; she could use the practice). She also read to herself, I had better things to do that record that. I had a couple of spats with the teacher as to why the page numbers recorded had gaps in them.

My younger child at age 6 read out loud better than most adults. I simply told the teacher I was not going to do it, he read silently at home and I did not know when he started and stopped reading - taking a book away is a punishment in our house.

I really, really object to this kind of attempt by teachers to stop reading being fun and make it into work.

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

Postby LiraelGoldenhand » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:03 pm UTC

loratwopointone wrote:Shakespeare, I liked. To start with at least, I studied his plays every year for seven years and the over-analysis ruined them in the end. It's a shame really.


I always found the in-depth analysis fascinating, though. There's so much about the literature that you don't really pick up on at first, it's fun to go back and reread it and notice all the little details. With King Lear, anyway, that was an awesome play. Especially the bit where Gloucester gets his eyes ripped out.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby podbaydoor » Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

My teachers in from 5-8 grade all had us do some sort of book log, all ridiculously detailed as well.

I refused every year (or just plain forgot to do them).

But then, I always had some ridiculously high score in the Accelerated Reader system, which was basically proof that I was constantly reading, so the teachers all exempted me from making a book log. Maybe this post is better off in the smug thread.

Re: Shakespeare - yes, definitely better when played or even just read aloud. Shakespeare class would have been a lot worse if my teacher wasn't a fan of the "assign everyone a character to read, now everyone get comfortable with the large pillows and blankets I have just spread all over the classroom, and start reading out loud."
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby kcr » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:00 am UTC

The Pearl by John Steinbeck. We "read" it with an audiotape, but I read way faster than the recording, so I would go ahead in class (advantage of my back-row seat!) and then just get really bored. And the book itself... god, I just couldn't stand it.

That's it, pretty much. I LOVE reading, and I've been really lucky in that my English teachers have been on the whole fantastic. Instead of feeling like the books were destroyed with analysis, the way they taught made me appreciate the books more by understanding them better with the analysis. Some of my favorite books are ones I've read for school.

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

Postby Narsil » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:42 am UTC

The only time I have actually enjoyed assigned reading was my 8th grade class, when we read things like "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Giver". That rocked. Since then, it's all sucked, death by overanalysis.

Incidentally, the same teacher also recommended his favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, which was my favorite book I've ever read.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Amicitia » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:59 am UTC

I hated the Odyssey, but love Ulysses.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby OmenPigeon » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:52 pm UTC

Amicitia wrote:I hated the Odyssey, but love Ulysses.

The epics lose a lot in translation.

The Aeneid isn't all that fantastic a story, but going over it in detail, in Latin, with a teacher who knows the poem inside and out was amazing. It changed the way I read forever.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby jareturns » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:06 pm UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:
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.

You're probably right, perhaps I was too hasty in labelling Shakespeare as overrated. And on reflection, I have seen the production of Macbeth which I thought was rather good. Nevertheless, there's something about Romeo and Juliet that really ticks me off. Having read both the play and watched adaptations, it would be fair to conclude that my opinion isn't going to change on R&J. I didn't care for Midsummer's night dream either, which we also had to cover at school.

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

Postby CrackTheSky » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:19 am UTC

Bless Me, Ultima. Don't get me started on that tripe.

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

Postby The Spherical Cow » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:03 am UTC

podbaydoor wrote:Re: Shakespeare - yes, definitely better when played or even just read aloud. Shakespeare class would have been a lot worse if my teacher wasn't a fan of the "assign everyone a character to read, now everyone get comfortable with the large pillows and blankets I have just spread all over the classroom, and start reading out loud."


This was the standard way of reading it at my school (minus the pillows and blankets), and I'm actually surprised that it's done any other way. I just assumed that's the way everyone read it - makes sense, got a class full of people to read, so might as well read it through like the play that it is.

I can't imagine having to read it like a novel - knowing that some people did makes sense of a lot of comments above.

Anyway - I liked most of what I read at school. Nothing sticks out as being something I particularly disliked. Although I was supposed to fill out those reading forms in first and second year, but rarely did. I was reading far more than most the people who received better awards than me for it, but I never recorded it. Made something which I enjoyed become a chore.

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

Postby rrwoods » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:16 pm UTC

I couldn't stand the Scarlet letter, but reading The Great Gatsby made me physically sick. Like, literally, whenever I opened the book to read, I felt a churning in my stomach that would simply not cease until I closed the book. I hated using SparkNotes, but I had to for that book because I literally could not read it.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:25 am UTC

Had to read Mary Schelly's Frankenstein for senior year of high school, and I found it to be one of the worst pieces of literature I've ever read. Most of the time I read the book, all I could think was, "why would any of these characters be doing any of the things they are doing?"
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby aaron » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:58 am UTC

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


you're not the only one. I read Gatsby the day we got it. loved it, hated analyzing it though.

well, that came out weird. i enjoy analyzing books, but not in the sense that our teacher had us do it. we had to examine the "colors" of the characters. it was really lame and had nothing to do with the overall theme of the story.

i still find it to be a fascinating read, however.

i think school killed certain shakespeare for me. i can't stand much ado about nothing because we spent a good 5-6 weeks on it and EVERYONE at my school overhyped how good Romeo and Juliet was because they're all desperate lovers.

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

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:25 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.


I loathed The Awakening and I'm a chick. It's bad whiny feminist literature and people assign it way too much value for being feminist before feminism became cool. *rage rage rage* Never was I so happy that a main character killed herself.

Wuthering Heights - Hated that one too. All the whiny crazy bitchy people needed to DIE and they did not die fast enough. This book was made worse by the fact that one of the servants spoke in a completely unintelligible dialect and I had to flip to the end of the book EVERY SINGLE TIME he spoke to find the translation.

Jane Eyre - Don't hate it with the passion of a thousand suns, but it's BAD. It's bad and whiny and all I can remember really of it is how BAD it was and how I rolled my eyes every time a Coincidence happened. (Yes, I know it's part and parcel of the style of the era. It's still really bad if I'm not willing to suspend my disbelief)

All three of those are too highly thought of simply because they were written by women. Women wrote, and wrote well (see: Frances Burney's Evelina, which still cracks me up to no end). Find the good books and stop shoving the tripe in my face.

And now to hating on men:

A Separate Peace - I wanted to throw myself out of a tree by the end of it.

Animal Farm - After a long time, I reread this and loved it, but at the time, not only were we required to read it and annotate every chapter, but we were also assigned a HUGE writing assignment, which I believe ended up being thicker than the book itself when the assignment was bound. Talk about an assignment killing the love of a book.

Dubliners - There was just something about this that I positively loathed. Not quite sure what it was, and am not brave/stupid enough to try and find out.

David Copperfield - I know Dickens wrote for word count, but could he at least have made it interesting?
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Tisiphone » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:39 am UTC

We had to read the complete works of August Wilson in my College Composition class. It was horrible because we only went through 5-10 pages a week and over analyzed them past anything the author could have ever been trying to infer with his writings. Plus I hated his writing to begin with. Longest class of my life
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Angelene » Wed Oct 31, 2007 11:03 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:Dubliners - There was just something about this that I positively loathed. Not quite sure what it was, and am not brave/stupid enough to try and find out.


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

Postby Jesse » Wed Oct 31, 2007 11:11 am UTC

Oh man, I do not like when other people dislike Dubliners, because me and James Joyce are soulmates.

Also, trivia time, apparently his publisher tried to burn all existing copies of Dubliners before it could be printed. Bad luck for you that he failed, I guess.

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

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:55 am UTC

Jesster wrote:Oh man, I do not like when other people dislike Dubliners, because me and James Joyce are soulmates.

Also, trivia time, apparently his publisher tried to burn all existing copies of Dubliners before it could be printed. Bad luck for you that he failed, I guess.


The thing is, I don't even know why I hated it. Maybe there was some underlying trauma, but I honestly cannot explain why I don't like James Joyce. I just twitch in pain when someone mentions his name.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Splurgy » Thu Nov 01, 2007 5:44 pm UTC

The Pigman by Paul Zindel.
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Partly because the book had such embarrasing situations I kept cringing, partly because the ending was unneccesarily sad, and partly because whoever had the book before me had attempted to make Mr. Pignati sound like a paedophile by continuing his sentences with asterisks and margin notes.

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

Postby Reid » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:51 pm UTC

"Tess of the D'Urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy. The man wrote some good things in his day, but this was not one of them.

Edited to add: High schoolers doing Shakespeare is bad, yes. But high schoolers doing Chekhov is worse.

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

Postby zomgmouse » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:57 am UTC

The Catcher in the Rye. That's got to be one of, if not the biggest waste of time, let alone being boring.

Our literature teacher has a habit of making any book that we study good. I read Fly Away Peter by David Malouf, and that was very boring. But then when we actually studied it, it turned out to be extremely good. Same goes for Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Which probably goes to show that I don't look deep enough into books while I read them.

On the subject of Shakespeare, the only one I actually liked (that I've read) was The Merchant of Venice. Julius Caesar and Macbeth weren't great.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Ian Ex Machina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:17 am UTC

Of Mice and Men- In all honesty I couldn't give a flying fuck about alfalfa.
I hated the whole time period that it was meant to be set it, old west america with farming is never in my interests.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Eleyras » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:42 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.

Agreed on the symbolism in Gatsby. It has a quote at the end though, that I really like, so I read the book with an eye to finding that quote and understanding its context. Once I did, the book was over. It was a fine read, I just hated the busywork.

I thought the interchapters in Grapes of Wrath were great. It was the long narrative ones in which I had to piece through written-down dialect that bored me (yay for sparknotes.)

Agreed with Catcher in the Rye, mostly because people thought I should empathize somehow with Holden, instead of thinking him a lazy, irresponsible bastard that needed to pull his head out of his ass.

Adding to the list! Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow is...ugh. It wins the award for second least arousing sex scene in a book (A Handmaid's Tale has first) and the narrative style just did not grab me. It's written in a very matter of fact manner, where the author tells you everything and expects you to infer the emotion, but he doesn't -quite- get it right, so you're just left with words on a page.

On the subject of things English teachers do, mine always required a "dialectical journal", meaning that we would record on the paper a quote we found significant and analysis of why it was significant or what it made us think about. This pissed me off. I never really did quite get the idea of looking at a book and pulling out significant quotes until I read Atlas Shrugged (for fun) and found myself needing a pen and highlighter to note and comment on various things of significance. I could then go back and read those and watch myself think through the book. I still don't understand why the teachers demanded we do that, though. If I find something significant enough, I'll write it down!
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:22 pm UTC

Eleyras wrote:On the subject of things English teachers do, mine always required a "dialectical journal", meaning that we would record on the paper a quote we found significant and analysis of why it was significant or what it made us think about. This pissed me off. I never really did quite get the idea of looking at a book and pulling out significant quotes until I read Atlas Shrugged (for fun) and found myself needing a pen and highlighter to note and comment on various things of significance. I could then go back and read those and watch myself think through the book. I still don't understand why the teachers demanded we do that, though. If I find something significant enough, I'll write it down!


Mine did it too. The worst part was we had a minimum quota of significant quotes we had to have per chapter. Which, of course, leads to a bunch of crap quotes being thrown in with BS significance for filler. It was good practice for finding things of significance (especially for getting into the mindset), but ugh it was tedious.

Granted, I may be a little bit bitter because I was accused of cheating on a dialectical journal once via CliffNotes because I did too well, and there was no way a high school junior could be that good at pulling out significance from classic literature.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby Splurgy » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:03 pm UTC

zomgmouse wrote:The Catcher in the Rye. That's got to be one of, if not the biggest waste of time, let alone being boring.

Ian Ex Machina wrote:Of Mice and Men- In all honesty I couldn't give a flying fuck about alfalfa.
I hated the whole time period that it was meant to be set it, old west america with farming is never in my interests.

Oh dear! I loved both! :o

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

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:35 pm UTC

Yeah, I liked "Of Mice and Men" a lot as well.

I think the setting was largely inconsequential to me, though. You could have set it in any period where there were wandering unskilled laborers, and told the same story.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby H.E.L.e.N. » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:40 pm UTC

I like the language in Gatsby, I don't understand the Awakening hate because that kind of early feminism was just sort of about recognizing that women could think about things in ways that didn't line up with the "morals" that were assumed of them.

In Shakespeare aside from Hamlet, I like King Lear and Twelfth Night. I also liked Much Ado About Nothing, mostly for the female lead, which was probably heavily influenced in my mind by the decent film version.

Macbeth sucked, though.

But I like most books, I had a lot of literature in college too and I would figure there had to be something worth looking at in most cases. And because I had so much to read, I don't really remember disliking things so much as not absorbing them properly. I did get to a point where I was all "that's it, no more Victorian prose, you all sound like a bunch of asshats" but that was more an overarching stylistic thing than one particular book's fault.

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

Postby Danyul » Sun Nov 04, 2007 2:34 am UTC

Last year I had to read "Life of Pi" and I knew a bunch of people who had read it and said it was great, but when I read it I found it really stupid and the ending just failed.

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

Postby Flying Betty » Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:12 am UTC

With the exception of "Wuthering Heights", I think I've liked all of the literature that I've read on my own. I frequently hated the stuff I had to read for class. Having a bunch of 14 year olds inexpertly tear a book to pieces or butcher the reading of a play really does not help me actually enjoy what I'm reading.
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Re: Books you had to read for school that you could not stand

Postby blackeye » Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:23 am UTC

Gatsby is really great in my eyes. You can call me crazy, but I loved it. Then again I didn't even really make a big deal out of the whole lighthouse scene. I actually barely remembered it. What fascinated me was the fact that the characters seemed pretty damn realistic. I also am a firm believer that Shakespeare was/is one of the best play writes ever. Why? He entertained his audience of of common folk while working on a deeper layer of satire at the same time.
Also...catcher in the rye makes sense if you went to a private elementary/middle school, I don't expect a soul to understand it otherwise.
I find books to be rather boring and ridiculous if I am unable to relate to it in anyway (logic yes?)

anyways... the worst books ever....Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.....
I mean christ....
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