Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literary Blog Hop

A weekly meme hosted @ The Blue Bookcase.

This week's topic is:

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? 

I'm not much for dumping on books that I didn't like.  It's not that I sugarcoat my reviews or write dishonestly, but I have had many meme questions about least favourite books read during the year & that's why Jonathan Franzen gets picked on so much here ;D  So I won't go after him this time.

Similarly to Melody @ Fingers & Prose, I had a less than effective (i.e. terrible) student teacher in grade 10 and we were made to read Shakespeare's Macbeth and George Orwell's Animal Farm under his "tutelage."  It was a nightmare and I've held a (likely unfortunate) grudge against these two literary works since.  I recounted my high school reading experiences in my Harking Back series of posts.

As for university, I had a rough time getting through some early texts in my Canadian lit course, including Roughing It in the Bush by Suzanna Moodie and A Strange Manuscript in a Copper Cylinder by James DeMille.  I hadn't heard of either before taking the course & haven't seen it mentioned anywhere since.  Comments on these books were posted in my fourth year university reading experience post.


  1. I can't say I ever had a specific teacher who made any books disagreeable for me. I did have classes in college that I found overwhelming, just from the sheer volume of material. And some of those books are not favorites of mine because I remember the pressure, sometimes the guilt of not getting the reading done, and the frustration of not "getting it."

  2. Oh, what a shame! I loved Animal Farm. Then again, I was very lucky - I liked all of my high school English teachers. Well, my 11th grade teacher was something of a tool (he thought he was a total stud!), but he still taught well.

    I enjoyed most of what I read in HS, though I didn't love most of the Shakespeare plays.

    I was a chemical engineering major in college so only took 1 lit class (the required one) and didn't actually READ all of the required books! There were a lot of skimmed books and Cliff Notes that semester!


  3. I took a Canadian Lit course and don't recall those authors, though mine was 20th C. specific. I haven't read Animal Farm, but I read 1984 and loved it. I've also read a ton of Shakespeare. I blame your teacher, a bad teacher can totally ruin a good book.

  4. I selected Animal Farm too! Although Macbeth is a good choice too and I'm a Shakespeare fan (it's just so long...).

  5. I would love a list of Canadian literature to read, if you have suggestions. I'm ashamed to say that I can't think of one author, other than Margaret Atwood, that I have read that is Canadian. Maybe I just don't know they are? Anyway, I'm American by birth but French-Canadian by heritage, so maybe I should get a clue. How is it that American schools don't offer classes in Canadian authors, being neighbors and all? Hmmm....

  6. Thanks for all of your comments :)

    Susan~ I'm glad that you have positive memories of teachers who provided reading material. I definitely think more about the pluses than the negatives!

    Sue~ I feel bad that I didn't like Animal Farm either but it was probably more about the circumstance than the book. I'd like to try 1984 some time. Shakespeare was fine by me...Folger's editions had great notes :D

    Loni~ My Canadian Lit course was a historical overview so we read lots of 20th century books too, such as The Diviners, Obasan, etc. I think the teacher is a big primary factor for kids in liking or not liking books they read. I'm becoming very conscious about this when I teach literacy.

    Mari~ I liked Shakespeare but Macbeth was just not cutting it for me. Hamlet is my favourite tragedy and Twelfth Night is my favourite comedy.

    Heather~ I've often wondered about Canadian offerings in American colleges since we have American Lit courses offered in Canada. Atwood is a wonderful representation of Canadian lit. I would also recommend The Diviners & The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Other authors of note are Mordecai Richler, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, and Farley Mowat. Enjoy :)

  7. Isn't it terrible when a teacher rips enjoyment from great works of lit? Do try again with Macbeth--or perhaps seek out a great production or film. My 11yo son introduced me to its great pleasures and revels in its humor and spookiness, as well as its pathos.

  8. Oh, no, that's so sad! Macbeth and Animal Farm are both such great works. I hope you'll give them another try, on your own, someday.

    As for the Canadian Lit texts.. never heard of them, and now I'm beginning to realize that I have probably read very, very little Canadian Lit. I might have to challenge myself to do more there, next year.

  9. See, I just didn't know they were Canadian-I've read Montgomery and Carol Sheilds...I'm going to check out the others. Thanks!

  10. LifetimeReader~ I'm lucky that I didn't have that teacher all year & I had very few teachers who turned me off reading certain books. I'm sure if I read either of those books nowadays, I'd be fine with them, maybe even like them.

    Adam~ See comment above. I hadn't heard of those CanLit books before taking the course. Oh, do indulge in some CanLit...we Canadians love to share: hockey, health care policies & literature :D

    Heather~ You're welcome, enjoy! Wikipedia has a big list of Canadian writers as well.

  11. Some books are so difficult to get into. And those put us off that author too, for always.

    And my teacher spoiled A Passage to India for me. But I did go back and loved it!

    Here is my Literary Blog Hop: Disliked Book post!

  12. I've held a grudge against Shakespeare for a long time that started with a high school teacher, but through the help of Bill Bryson's biography and the modern side-by-side versions of Shakespeare's works, I'm slowly coming around. I keep chipping away at it. :)

  13. My read was STONEHENGE DECODED...uggh. Did anyone else have to suffer through it?

    Stop by my blog if you like to see my full answer...I also have a giveaway that isn't very literary, but check it out.

  14. I had a terrible teacher for "Romeo & Juliet"--a long-term substitute who just showed us the movies and wouldn't answer questions. It took me a while to get over that, but I have found that the most sure-fire way for me to fall in love with a Shakespeare play is having to teach it--so far it's worked with "King Lear," "Macbeth" and "Hamlet." I'm tackling "Julius Caesar" soon for a reading challenge too.

  15. I'm sad that an incompetent student teacher ruined Animal Farm for you -- Orwell is a genius!

  16. gautami tripathy~ I agree, one book tends to turn us off the author's other work. I'm glad you overcame a dislike of a book to enjoy it. I loved Forster's A Room With a View.

    Melody~ Luckily, my experience with Macbeth didn't turn me off Shakespeare. I started with Twelfth Night in Grade 9 (loved it!) & read 12 plays in university, many of which I liked. Whew :) As for editions, I've read the Folgers, which I love for the play's pages being side-by-side with notes & vocabulary definitions.

    Elizabeth~ I've never read that one but I sympathize. It sounds kind of dull.

    Jackie~ Ugh, that's terrible because R&J is a beautifully written play. I'm glad that you have some kind of retribution from teaching Shakespeare, and I'm also glad that my (very) rare negative reading experience taught me how to be a better teacher.

    ConnieGirl~ I may explore Orwell again some time. See also my comment response above.

  17. Ooh!! I was reading your post and there, right next to it, was one of my all-time favorite actors: Alan Rickman. Holding up a copy of - gasp! - one of my all-time least favorite novels, The Catcher in the Rye.
    Must go attempt to adjust for serious cognitive dissonance/calm my addled psyche! What shall I make of this??
    Thanks for posting it, though - I do so love an intellectual dilemma.

  18. Laurie~ I love Alan Rickman, too! I'm surprised he wasn't holding up a Harry Potter book ;) I don't know why they chose Catcher in the Rye for that picture. Oh well...