Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literary Book Blog Hop: What book did I not like?

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 isLiterary Blog Hop

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.

13 comments:

LifetimeReader said...

I know so many people who have hated Tess. While I think getting past the "rapist with a heart of gold" might be hard, this does sound like a book adults might enjoy more than high school students!

dragonflyy419 said...

This definitely doesn't sound like an exciting high school summer read to me. I probably would have hated it to, but then my high school didn't emphasize much reading of the classics or summer reading ... go figure ...

Melody said...

My school didn't emphasize any summer reading either--I didn't even realize schools did that until my oldest started high school this year!

I don't know how a teen could be expected to appreciate Tess on their own. Tall order.

JoAnn said...

Haha! The Red Badge of Courage was my answer to today's question. Have been wondering if I should give it another chance.

parrish lantern said...

Always preferred Jude the Obscure to Tess, but then I got to read it through choice, not school.

Jackie said...

One of my friends absolutely raved about this book. She's been trying to get me to read it for years, but I've always passed on the opportunity. It just...never seemed appealing. Ever. Everrrr. She did the same with Wuthering Heights. I tried that one, but never got past chapter 8 =/

IngridLola said...

Haha. I had to read this for summer reading in high school too! And I also hated it.

Em said...

I have never got around to read anything by Hardy yet, although I have at least one of his books on my shelves.

gautami tripathy said...

Except for Jude the Obscure, I like Hardy's work.

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!

Elizabeth said...

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

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

http://silversolara.blogspot.com

Letter4no1 said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about how required reading in high school tends to be more about getting kids to read the classics they think everyone should read instead of things appropriate for their age group. This sounds like one of those case's. Though, all I have read of Hardy is a short story, that I don't remember the title of, where death and or Satin was taking a girl to a ball. I was not amused.

Sarah said...

I remember hating this book in high school too. Made Shakespeare seem easy in comparison.

redtekbek said...

I had to read Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge in high school, and that seemed really tedious at the time. I recently tackled some others that were on my classics list and enjoyed The Return of the Native. However, I could not stand Tess! It was as if written by a different author or a much less mature Hardy. The stupid ending made the whole book pointless and reminded me way too much of 'Thelma and Louise' - death because you cannot find a good way to live. So, don't feel bad about not giving Tess another try, spend your effort on something better.