worst books?

Having started the week by listing my favorite books, I was thinking about keeping with the list theme and trying to name my least favorite books. Then I came up with a problem — if I don’t like a book, I don’t read very much of it. And if I don’t read very much of it, I’m probably not going to remember I’ve ever picked it up.

But there are a few books I was required to read during some point in my academic career that left me wondering why anyone would ever subject junior high/high school/college students to such suffering. These would include:

The Yearling (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings) — 6th Grade

The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane) — 7th Grade

The Pearl
(John Steinbeck) — 10 Grade, college fiction course (Yes, this one I had to sit through twice…which only managed to increase my dislike of it.)

I’m sure there are others I didn’t enjoy, but I either disliked them less, and therefore was less traumatized, or hated them so much that I’ve entirely removed them from my memory. 

Of these three, The Red Badge of Courage stands out as the Book  I Have Most Hated.  To be fair, this is based on my seventh grade impression.  But also to be fair, I was not a seventh grader who disliked reading.  Or even disliked serious books.  I read other books that I loved in that same class, and I read Jane Eyre for the first of many times less than a year later.   

And as for that seventh grade impression — I remember The Red Badge of Courage to be the densest, most boring, least appealing book I’d ever come into contact with.  And this is in spite of the fact that it’s about the Civil War, a topic I was thoroughly interested in at that age. 

So tell me — did I get it wrong?  Are any of these books that, as an adult, I would likely experience completely differently and possibly enjoy? 

And which books have you suffered through that, if now encountered by chance, make you want to run in the other direction?

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~ by Molly on June 3, 2009.

6 Responses to “worst books?”

  1. I haven’t read any of these books, but I’ve always had the impression they were boring. I consider Moore’s FLUKE and Carroll’s WHITE APPLES as my worst-ever reads

  2. I don’t remember disliking the pearl, but i don’t exactly remember finishing it either, so i may have just gotten bored and wandered away.

    • Yeah, I’d say the end is a big reason I don’t like it. So not finishing it may have made it less dislikable…

  3. I absolutely hated ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. In High School, I talked my friend Mandy into telling me everything I would need to know about the book in exchange for giving her a pedicure. It was worth it to not have to finish reading it.

  4. […] worst books? « bookhopping […]

  5. […] banned books week There are a lot of books out there that I have issues with.   Some are badly written.  Some spread irresponsible opinions or misleading information (at least in my opinion).  Others are just really, really boring.  […]

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