Friday, January 21, 2011

Literary Blog Hop: Reading Books for School

Literary Blog Hop
The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase.  It is for blogs centered around classic and literary book reviews and discussions.  If you are interested in participating, visit The Blue Bookcase :)

This week's question is:
Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated when you were made to read it in school or university.  Why did you dislike it?

Heh.  Let's just say that me and school readings haven't always gotten along.  In high school, I can honestly say that I disliked most of the required books.  I absolutely hated The Catcher in the Rye and never even finished it.  I couldn't stand Holden and finally just had enough of him.  I also never finished Flowers for Algernon.  I felt SO bad for that poor mouse and am totally against animal testing and whatnot and my heart was breaking, so I put that down.  I hated The Crucible but did finish it.  I thought the characters were being idiots (I know I know, it's based on true events and all that.....but it still made me mad that everyone was being so dumb!).  In college I had to read Robinson Crusoe.  I don't think I got even half way through it.  It seemed really ridiculous and fake to me.  Really Robinson?  You're on a deserted island and you are building a table and chairs?  I understand that maybe he wanted to feel like he was home, but..I think I'd be working more on food and clothing and the like. 

I know you may be wondering, "Kelly, if you didn't even finish a lot of these school books, how did you pass the tests?"  Good question.  With Robinson Crusoe, it was a British lit class, and the test was super easy.  You got to pick the essays you wanted to write.  So I just picked the essays for the stuff I had actually read.  For the high school books, we discussed the books SO much in class that you really didn't need to read them.  Not to say that I'm a bad student.  I usually did finish books.  I always did the readings except for those 2 books listed above. 

I just thought of one more book I had to read that I couldn't stand, and that is Phedre by Jean Racine.  I had to read it last Spring for a French lit class.  And I couldn't stand it.  I did finish it though, because I'm such a good French student ;)  I do not enjoy reading plays, and Phedre was a play, and the story was in my opinion stupid and boring.  It was also based on Greek or Roman gods or something like that, which I find sort of boring.  I kept thinking, "well, you COULD do this, instead of that, and everything would be okay.."  (Much like the way I feel when my family is all watching Pretty Little Liars and I'm like "How can you all be addicted to this show?  All they need to do is ignore A and go to the police and blah blah blah..") *sigh*. 

I love reading the classics, I just really hate it when books are forced down my throat.  Most of what I read in high school I didn't like, and I think it was mostly because teachers talked about each chapter wayyyy too much, and they focused on things that sometimes really didn't matter.  I sometimes wonder if I had read any of these books on my own, if maybe I would have enjoyed them a lot more. 

What are you thoughts?  Did you dislike any of the same books as me?  If not, what did you hate?  I can't wait to visit the blogs of my fellow hoppers to see what you all have to say!

9 comments:

  1. *bangs my head on the desk*

    I'm doing a lot of that today, as I go through all these posts. lol I adored Catcher, as I'm a huge Salinger fan. But, I'm leaving this one alone because I don't want to debate that book's merits anymore.

    Flowers for Algernon was a bit rough for me, too. I finished it and enjoyed it (not surprised that you didn't like it when it was left unfinished, because much of its power and redemption comes near/at the end) - but, most of the recommendations I received for it were SO glowing, that I was a bit confused. It wasn't all that stellar, to me.

    I enjoyed Robinson Crusoe as well, but I think it was because I read it in college with a great professor - I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it on my own. We also read Gulliver's Travels in that class, which I hated. ugh.

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  2. I read Robinson Crusoe ten years ago and was quite shocked at how religious and didactic it was. I was expecting more or the make-the-tables-and-chairs adventure than I got. I wish I had known what to expect!

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  3. isn't it illegal to have a french inspired blog & hate Racine, am in agreement with Catcher though, never got that.

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  4. I probably read a couple of Racine's plays when I was in school, but can't say I appreciated them then.
    I have been teaching Hughes's translation of Phedre for the past two years and I enjoy it. I don't think I would have picked it, but it's a great play to teach and usually generates a good debate.

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  5. I luckily was guided through the horrorland of Required Reading by some amazing teachers.

    Here's my post: http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2011/01/required-reading-dont-get-me-started.html

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  6. Some books are so difficult to get into. And those put us off that author too, for always.

    And my teacher spoiled A Passage to India for me. But I did go back and loved it!

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop: Disliked Book post!

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  7. My read was STONEHENGE DECODED...uggh. Did anyone else have to suffer through it?

    Stop by my blog if you like...I also have a giveaway that isn't very literary, but check it out.

    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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  8. Kelly,
    Thanks so much for visiting Reader in the Wilderness and posting the helpful advice about foreign language reading.

    I'm so psyched you're reading Bride of Pendorric! What a fun read that is! The old "Gothics" of the 1960s and early 1970s were so much fun. I loved it. Don't miss Legend of the Seventh Virgin--I think it one of Holt's best!

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

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  9. Required reading was pretty hit and miss with me...some I loved, some I hated. My school wasn't very ambitious in the academics though, we didn't even get to some of those big classics.

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