LitSoup: Best/worst of required reading
Some responses from The News-Herald newsroom:
I think I had to read Melville’s Billy Budd in high school and I can’t say it was among my favorites at the time. Perhaps I should try it again and see if I have a different opinion.
I have a three-way tie for my favorite required reading - Fahrenheit 451, The Scarlet Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Loved anything Shakespearian, esp. Romeo and Juliet (for the romance, of course). Each line was a delight.
Fond memories of “Hedda Gabler” by Ibsen for its one line: “People generally get used to the inevitable” which I’ve used multiple times throughout life.
Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey both in high school and college was painful.
The worst thing I had to read was probably “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. I was 12 and didn’t relate to the characters at all and found it terribly dull. My favorite was Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which I read for several different classes. The back-and-forth squabbling between Beatrice and Benedick is still hilarious more than 400 years after it debuted, and I find something new to enjoy every time I read it or go see it performed.
"Great Expectations" was the worst summer reading project for a 13-going-on-14-year-old. I'd like to revisit it sometime, because I've heard from Tricia Ambrose and others that it's actually good. I didn't care much for "Winesburg, Ohio," until my classmates and I made a "Saturday Night Live"-style video based on some of the stories in the book. That's another one I might reread someday.
I loved "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Great Gatsby." Both were books I couldn't wait to read every night, and both still grace my bookshelves today.
My favorite books surely were all of the books I read as part of my baseball literature class that I had the pleasure of taking while at St. Ignatius High School, but I couldn’t choose one in particular. One specifically does come to mind as my least favorite, though: “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot. Apparently it’s considered a classic, but I have no clue as to why. To this day, I still have no idea why people enjoyed reading about a veterinarian delivering a calf and all of the other supposed adventures he had. I’ll admit that maybe trying to make a high school kid read this book over the summer increased my dislike for this book, but I don’t intend to reread it any time soon to find out.
Other responses from the Twitterverse:
Hated Ethan Frome RT @nhcheryl: This month's #litsoup topic: Best/worst of required reading. What books did you love/hate to read in school?
— Ben Brugler (@BenBrugler) July 25, 2012
@nhcheryl I am moderately infamous for many declarations pertaining toBeowulfand how it is a a piece of absolute crap.
— Michael (@ClevelandWeevil) July 25, 2012
-- Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | @nhcheryl