Each week, the Literary Book Blog Hop asks a question and has writers from literary book blogs engage in a discussion around that question. This week's topic 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?
When I was in high school, we had to read Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy as summer reading. I hated everything about the book. The long, flowery passages in which Hardy describes the English countryside tried my patience. In contrast, the most important event in the book, Alec's rape of Tess, has only a passing allusion. Since I had switched to skimming the book to get through the long descriptions, I didn't even realize anything had happened until Tess had a baby. At this point, I became annoyed at the weak characters including the pitiful Tess, her useless eventual husband Angel, and her rapist-with-a-heart-of-gold Alec. I ended up skipping to the end and limping my way through class discussions.
These were my views at the time, but I wonder what I would think if I read it now. My tastes have changed. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have liked Crime and Punishment as a high schooler, and re-reading Red Badge of Courage changed my opinion of it from hate to a begrudging appreciation. On the other hand, reading the plot summary of Tess from Wikipedia didn't pique my interest in the least, so perhaps I'll pass on a re-read.