Thursday, January 20, 2011
Literary Blog Hop – Books I Was Forced To Read
This week’s prompt: 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?
The Blue Bookcase prompt is difficult for me for two reasons. I don’t like discussing works I don’t like; University was a while ago and I tend to block out books I don’t like. Part of me feels bad about not liking a novel, especially a literary work that has somehow stood the test of time, that is studied and that other people adore. I do agree with Lucia at The Blue Bookcase, however, not liking a book does create more lively discussion.
One book I’ve mentioned here previously is William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. I read it during my “Victorian Literature” class (the class wasn’t actually called that, it gave some dates, but it was the Victorian era, so that’s what I call it to make it easier). I read some great books by Dickens, the Brontës and Hardy. When I started reading Vanity Fair I couldn’t get into it. I found the characters flat and the style boring. It was made into a movie a few years ago, which I didn’t see and flopped at the box office. It was the most disappointing read in a class full of wonderful literature.
So that I’m not constantly harping on Thackeray, I thought I’d mention Canadian author Hugh Hood. I took a wonderful 20th Century Canadian Literature class. It was one of my favourite classes in University. I discovered so many fantastic authors; it made me want to read more by Canadians. In that class, we were assigned to read Hood’s A New Athens. It was boring. I don’t even really remember the plot. There were landscapes and wilderness and so much boredom packed into such a little book. I looked up a synopsis on Wikipedia that was vague; I looked at amazon.ca and it didn’t have one; I looked at chapters.indigo.ca, which had a short synopsis and it actually made the book sound interesting. I don’t know if I wasn’t “ready” to read that book or if it was just very different from the other books in that class, but I didn’t like it. Unlike Vanity Fair I’d be willing to try reading it again.
Do you like one of the books I don’t? What don’t you like?