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What was your least favorite reading in HighSchool/College?It has been nearly 14 years...

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 23, 2011 at 5:49 PM via web

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What was your least favorite reading in HighSchool/College?

It has been nearly 14 years since I said these words and I still cannot believe I felt this way but...

I HATED Faulkner- and had to get a synopsis for most of his works.

I HATED Twain and didn't even bother with Tom Sawyer.

Equally I detested any play because I wanted to dictate how the actors spoke.

I especially disliked the SIZE and weight of all the English Literature books I bought and I remember trying to sell them as quick as I could.

Yes, I confess. I am a born-again lover of literature.

What about you?

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 23, 2011 at 6:41 PM (Answer #2)

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I don't remember disliking a lot, but if I remember correctly Franz Kafka's "Metamorphis" was not to my liking at all. In addition, I got on a classic lit kick and tried to read The Pathfinder, but the first paragraph was a paragraph long, and I gave up.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM (Answer #3)

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I wasn't a lit major so I didn't read as extensively as some, but I read a lot of the classics and tolerated it pretty well -- Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, The Iliad are all things I remember reading in full.  All of that was okay.

My wife still remembers gleefully the time I was reading Capital (by Karl Marx -- huge thick book) and I feel asleep and dropped the book on my face.  But that wasn't as bad as some things (though reading both Marx and Kant and their German syntax wasn't that fun).

For me, there's only one choice for least favorite reading -- Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi-Strauss.  I was required to take a class that consisted of one whole quarter reading that book.  I thought that Anthro might be interesting until I read that book.  Maybe if it had been a small part of a course I could have lived.  But it was the whole course.  That was in 1987.  I'm still scarred.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 23, 2011 at 8:57 PM (Answer #4)

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I had to read Wordsworth's The Prelude in sixth form. Myself and other classmates were so bored that on a visit to Grasmere we went to check Wordsworth's grave to ensure he was dead and would not be writing any more poetry to plague us with. Twenty-four years later I live in New Zealand amidst mountains and spectacular landscapes, and I have to say... Mr Wordsworth - I get it now!

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 24, 2011 at 4:28 AM (Answer #5)

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It is funny how the books that we were "forced" to read actually can become firm favourites when we are able to reflect upon them from a more mature standpoint. For me, I really didn't enjoy the plays of Arthur Miller that were (I felt) rammed down our throat. So what if Willy Loman committed suicide? It was all somewhat alien to a 15 year old teenage boy in Britain. However, I have really come to love and appreciate his plays now.

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martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:57 AM (Answer #6)

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I think that the novel that I  had to read in college that I liked the least was The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. The beginning of the novel is told from the viewpoint of a person with mental disabilities which confused  me from the start.  The whole stream of consciousness thing is something I had a hard time with.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM (Answer #7)

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Some people just love Beowulf.  I'd like to take it on a long walk off a short pier.  It still seems to me, today, that the only reason it is taught in literature classes is because of tradition, and because it is one of the earliest known pieces of literature.  I've read better stories off of a cereal box, but hey, that's just my bias.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM (Answer #8)

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My high school least favorite was Huckleberry Finn.  I just couldn't get into at the start, so by the time he was making his 'big decision' I was checked out and reading a children's adaptation of the story so that I could get the basic plot line.  It was a sad state of affairs...  I still don't like the book, but now it's for a bit more intellectual reasons.

My college choice would be Middlemarch.  I frankly really like George Eliot, but to this day don't know what I was supposed to gain from this ENORMOUS tome that I couldn't have learned from reading any of her shorter and more interesting novels.

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 25, 2011 at 1:42 AM (Answer #9)

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I have found that my least favorite books during grad school have become my most favorite as a teacher.

A little background... I was not a reader in high school. I didn't read anything that was assigned to me. I wasn't a reader in college either, but I got by because I wasn't an English major. When I went back to school for my teaching certification in English, I fell in love with reading and regarded the challenge of it as comparable to the physical challenges I took on when I was in the Army and running and cycling a lot.

To that end, I was asked to read The Sound and the Fury during one of my classes. My professor, an Englishman who often referred to any writing besides his own as "schlock," told us that we would want to kill him when we came to class the following week. He was right. I HATED that book. But as we discussed it in class and I saw the anger present in my classmates, I realized that it would serve as a trophy for my "literary" career. I had done it, and I knew, sitting in that classroom, that I would do it again. Now, I use parts of it in class to illustrate "point of view" and to my delight, some of my students have attempted to read The Sound and the Fury, and they have loved it as well.

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maadhav19 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 25, 2011 at 4:25 AM (Answer #10)

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I agonized through Melville's "Billy Budd" and Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" in American Lit in high school, and I guess I'm a better person for having read them. The book that gave me the most problems, though, was "Wuthering Heights" in my British Lit course. I read half of it - up until Catherine Linton dies - and couldn't bring myself to pick it up again. I should say I'm an avid reader, and have gone back and read or reread many classics, but the Bronte sisters have to win the prize here for me. Sorry to all the English teachers out there!

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:31 AM (Answer #11)

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The absolute worst for me was The Red Badge of Courage. I had to read it in 9th grade and I found it unbearable. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde wasn't much better! I think the issue with those two is too much focus on description for a young mind to handle. I would probably appreciate them if I re-read them now!

I'm also depressed by the original poster's disdain for Faulkner... The Sound and the Fury is one of my favorites!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 26, 2011 at 6:24 PM (Answer #12)

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The Grapes of Wrath.  I loathed it and found myself more than once wishing I had some good, stout vino to help me through it.  I painfully recall hoping someone would kick that darned turtle across the dusty road so we could get on with the rest of the book...and Rose of Sharon nursing that old man at the end?  Oh, even remembering it makes me grimace and dry-heave.

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rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:46 PM (Answer #13)

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I did not enjoy Lord of the Flies when I read it in high school. I've read it twice more and now appreciate it a great deal more. I'll admit that it's still not my idea of a good time.

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jashley80 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:54 AM (Answer #14)

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High School bores included the summer readings of Brideshead Revisited and The Great Gatsby. Yes, you read correctly on the latter one... while I appreciate it as an important text today, I still do not like it and try to avoid teaching it (when possible). 

In college, I really did not care for The Ramayana. I could not find anything in the plot to hold my attention span... and listening to an audio version the professor played for large chunks of time did not convince my eyelids that they wanted to stay open and focus.

Other pieces that top my list of "why are you doing this to me?" readings include: anything by Melville, most readings from Benjamin Franklin's writings, Jude the Obscure, Orlando, and Death Comes for the Archbishop.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM (Answer #15)

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I did not like Thomas Hardy, especially Tess of the d'Ubervilles.  I think it was just depressing.  In general, I liked most of the books that were assigned, even if they were depressing like The Grapes of Wrath.  The book I hated the most was a reference book assigned for summer reading, Edith Hamilton's Mythology.  It was assigned completely out of context, and we were expected to remember all of it.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 11, 2011 at 11:03 PM (Answer #16)

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When I was in high school, I totally disliked poetry. That did not change until I started to teach high school. Then I totally fell in love with it. I don't really write it, but I love to read and teach it. And every year when I teach poetry, the kids find something new that I missed: it's awesome.

In college, I hated the modern grammar class I took because it did nothing to strengthen my understanding of what I knew I would have to teach...that was the fault of the class. Grammar is not my favorite thing to teach, still, but I get by.

The author I did NOT like at all was, and is, James Joyce. I took the class on advisement of a favorite professor who was teaching the class, who told me it was a great course. HE was an enthusiast. As soon as the class started, I knew I had made a mistake, but the professor was really wonderful—when I shared my misgivings, he told me to hang in, I did, and did very well in the class because HE was so passionate about the subject—he made it easier for us to understand.

I still don't like Joyce, though. (I've never understood how you could need a second book to understand the first: Finnegan's Wake...)

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mrsc2011 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM (Answer #17)

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What was your least favorite reading in HighSchool/College?

It has been nearly 14 years since I said these words and I still cannot believe I felt this way but...

I HATED Faulkner- and had to get a synopsis for most of his works.

I HATED Twain and didn't even bother with Tom Sawyer.

Equally I detested any play because I wanted to dictate how the actors spoke.

I especially disliked the SIZE and weight of all the English Literature books I bought and I remember trying to sell them as quick as I could.

Yes, I confess. I am a born-again lover of literature.

What about you?

  I love Edgar Allen Poe.  The other works I loved were Oedipus Rex, Antigone, 12 Angry men and To Kill a Mockingbird being my favorite.  Favorite short story?  Easy.  "A Rose for Emily"  In high school I had a teacher who attacked us with Sherlock Holmes.  I hated every moment of it.  I love literature.  You have to read extensive amounts to find your likes and dislikes. 

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moladchand | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 24, 2011 at 12:57 AM (Answer #18)

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I dislike most Theorms and Trignometry.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:33 PM (Answer #19)

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Absolutely anything by Joyce and Faulkner.  Point blank.  *sigh*  And much to the chagrin of most of my professors, I still don't "like" them even though I have learned to appreciate them.

I'm afraid I'm still an idealist at heart.  Even after watching my best friend die in the ICU from kidney cancer, I am still someone who desperately longs for the elusive happy ending.  I'm the kind to wish that the wonderful parenting of Julie Andrews' interpretation of Maria Von Trapp could actually happen.  This idealism stands in constant battle against the focus on the negative and depressing aspects of the modern world, ... aspects that both Joyce and Faulkner write about so very well.

I can't say that I adore happy endings, ... but I do adore an ending full of hope.  This is why I still bear a grudge against those two, ... for they are the ones who broke me.

Noelle Thompson

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