Part of it is the “forced to read it in high school” crap, because your teacher thought it was great when they were a teenager.
We had some good ones for high school that I can remember
- Day of the Triffids
- Z for Zachariah
- the Hobbit
- Animal Farm
- Of Mice and Men
- The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe
- Wizard of Earthsea
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- My Side of the Mountain
- Heart of Darkness
- Our Mutual Friend
- The Outsiders
- The Chocolate War
I mean… it’s better than Hemingway, but that’s not saying much.
I liked To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn.
We read 4 Shakespeare plays in high school and I liked them all (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet) but they were all tragedies. We didn’t read any of the comedies or histories.
We also read some of his poetry. But it seems like if you’re going to put 4 Shakespeare plays in the curriculum, they shouldn’t all be tragedies.
I remember despising The Sun Also Rises in high school.
And in 7th grade I hated A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, but now looking back I think I would’ve enjoyed it if I’d been a little older. I remember my mother being shocked that I hated it and telling me how much she loved it. A few weeks later we were at my grandparents house cleaning out stuff and she gave me her diary from 7th grade. Like three pages in she was writing about how much she hated A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court. I guess it’s one of those books where you like the idea of it better than the actual reading of it. Or at least 12 year-olds do.
I liked the great gatsby a lot better when i reread it as an adult, although I didn’t love it. It was Faulkner that i really hated. Maybe i should try that again.
That is a really interesting choice for high school.
It’s my fave Dickens novel, but usually much shorter Dickens works (either A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations) are assigned at the high school level.
I didn’t hate the book so much as got depressed by it… and then went back to reading the Riverworld series, which was depressing in a very similar way, come to think of it.
It did set me up to read really long books over the next couple of years such as Les Miserables * (with its famous 60ish-page section describing the Parisian sewers) and Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Nowadays, I hesitate to commit to anything longer than The Long Read in the NY Times.
- I got off easy with the English translation at 1400 pages. In French, it’s 1900 pages.
The Dark Tower Series, which is 7 books and goes 3 books too long. I started it when I was young and foolish, and really liked how it just opened into one mystery after another. Until it suddenly stopped, and author vaguely attempted to tie everything together with a perfectly dumb meta-explanation, and ended with an apology for his crappy ending.
Same. I wish, I wish, I wish I had listened to King when he broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience at the end of The Dark Tower.
I mean, I’m gonna read them all again, but it won’t be the same. I blame the auto accident for dramatically changing the storyline right as he was in the middle of the thing.
Hmm good point. I don’t think he ever could have “finished it” well. The whole thing was never really his style. I feel like he sort of set himself up with that weird first book. And sort of kept the thread going in neat directions for a while… but you know… he’s not great at poetry or philosophy or sci-fi or fantasy or fairy-tales… I did love book 4 though.
Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The title is back to front - the first half was more about motorcycle maintenance which I liked but then the second half was more and more about zen (perhaps the author was consuming more mushrooms as he went along) and became really dull. It probably put me off zen for years.
Whups, wrong thread
The Crucible was okay.
Not a fan of reading plays though. Too much of a distraction. I’m not an actor.
This post cheated me.
I don’t remember the name or author, as it was a long time ago and wasn’t a popular author, but the biggest cheat I’ve ever run into was a first-person mystery where, in the end, it turned out the narrator committed the murder. There was no foreshadowing or any tricky stuff to make it actually make any sense at all. The whole book had him trying to solve the murder until the final chapter.
Was it this one?
So, this was the complaint against one Agatha Christie novel (I won’t tell which one), though it did play fair with the tricky clues, and, amusingly, the first-person narrator who actually was the murderer gets really confused about some of the clues (as he has no idea what had been going on in one of the sub-plotlines) but not so confused about some of the others (as he was the one who laid down one of the false solutions). Anyway, Christie liked playing tricks, and having the narrator be the murderer turned out to be far from her most audacious trick.
I wasn’t cheated, but there was one book where I considered it her most tricksy, and I had already read the novel mentioned above and a few other of her “twist” novels… and she still completely took me in. I was disgusted with myself, not Christie.
In my youth, (20’s maybe?) I remember tearing a book in half and throwing it in the trash, thinking “No one should ever read this.” I don’t remember the author, I don’t remember the book just the visceral reaction to feeling cheated.
I don’t know why they don’t assign more short stories in HS rather than novels.