Top 10 School Books That Made Me Hate Reading

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Back in school, I read a lot of books for class. I, also, pretended to read a lot of books for class. It wasn’t until around 8th grade that I started reading avidly, everything my librarian could recommend to me. However, there were some books that I had to read for school that had me start questioning my love for books. If school books were a representation of what books are, I definitely did not want to read anymore. I’m glad I stuck those times out because here we are reading tons of amazing books together.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is: Freebie – Top 10 School Books That Made Me Hate Reading:

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens: I was so excited to read this. “A mystery? A who-dun-it, this’ll be good!” The jokes on all the readers as Charles Dickens died before the completion of the novel. So, here I was, an excited 10th grader, and what I got was an uncompleted book. The mystery remains a mystery. Of course, everyone has an opinion on who murdered the main character but I’d rather have heard the final outcome from Dickens himself.

Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon: Oh, my gosh! I learned one thing from this book and you know, what it was? There were changes in the land! Seriously, though, we weren’t even tested on how many trees were left after the colonists came to New England.

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle: Shouldn’t teenagers have an optimistic reading list? Instead, students get books like The Tortilla Curtain which Boyle could have only asked, “how can I make my characters suffer more?”

Animal Farm by George Orwell: I didn’t mind reading books about talking animals before this. Actually, I adored The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness even with its talking dog. However, after reading Animal Farm where the animals take up a rebellion and add politics to the mix, I just said nope to all other talking animals. Animal Farm gives you enough talking farm animals to last a lifetime.

Sarah T -- Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic by Robin S. Wagner: There was no reason why we should have had to read this book. Health class more than prepared us for the dangers of alcohol, I assure you. Reading about a teenage girl using her body to get money for her addiction did nothing except scare little 7th grader me.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: I didn’t mind the book so much. It wasn’t my favorite. However, the end was entirely unbelievable, I thought. The two main characters get into a sledding accident, where they run into a tree, which leaves permanent damage. Let me ask you: how fast were they going to cause such permanent damage on their persons? Wharton made it sound like a rather small, backyard hill. I’ve always wondered the science behind this.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: Truthfully, I don’t remember much about this one except it was definitely lacking in action. For a war novel, it felt sparse in battle scenes. And I wasn’t the only who felt A Farewell to Arms a tad boring. My cousins paid my twelve-year-old brother (at the time) to read the book to them aloud.

Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks: I wonder what possesses teachers to have students read such material. The protagonist has sexual relations with his mother, for crying out loud!

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: I’m still a bit salty that I had to read this both in high school and in college. Yet, my second read-through, I much preferred it. However, The Custom House chapter is entirely skippable.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf: I’ve seen a question around the blogosphere about whether people enjoy plot or characters more. One without the other would certainly not make for a balanced book; I like balanced books. I love characters as much as plot so when I read To The Lighthouse which is incredibly character-driven, where the plot takes a back seat, I didn't like it as much as other books that seem to have both amazing plot and fantastic characters.

Which school books made you question your love for reading?

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  1. "If school books were a representation of what books are..." oh goodness, I'm so glad they aren't! Can you even imagine? LOL

  2. I love this topic! All of mine were books I read in Humanities 3oo in college. Darwin, etc. Ugh.

    My WWW Wednesday.

  3. Thankfully my love of books was so deeply ingrained by the time I got to required reading at school that even the most odious of books wasn't going to knock it out (looking at you Lord of The Flies).
    My TTT:

  4. I LOVE the topic you chose this week! Od Mice and Men, The Outsiders, and Where the Red Fern Grows made me hate reading, along with sooo many others. lol. I don't know why schools push books on us! It's not like anyone comes out of school loving to read because they made us. lol. They killed my love of reading!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  5. Oooh, great list! The only one I had to read on here for school was The Scarlet Letter, and I don't particularly remember my feelings about it, but I'm glad I didn't have to read a lot of the others ... they sound less than fun, haha.

  6. I've read several of these as an adult, but the only one I read in high school was The Scarlet Letter. Which I also had to re-read in college! Sigh. I feel your pain.

  7. Despite these not-so-enjoyable reads, I'm glad you discovered the joy of reading! :)

    I haven't read a single Dickens novel, but do enjoy his stories as BBC adaptations. Including Edwin Drood. Makes me think I'll just stick with the movie..! :)

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland.

  8. If anyone is a teacher here, please understand that there those of us loathe classic literature. My venomus hate for classic literature happened in high school. Please don't make it harder than it has to be for anyone. Offering reading alternatives would be a good thing instead of a once size fits all policy. Nobody but nobody needs to study old fiction.