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Topic: Re-reading hated books from your childhood

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Subject: Re-reading hated books from your childhood
Date Posted: 9/17/2008 8:56 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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Today I was reminded of how much I HATED... HATED... Johnny Tremaine when I read it in seventh grade.  I'm now wondering if I wouldn't hate it so much since I've grown into adulthood and have an appreciation for more historical things, etc. I think I might try re-reading it and see! But I'll be amused if I still hate it, ha. :)

Have you ever considered re-reading something that you hated in your youth? Or have you ever re-read something "later in life" and gotten a newfound appreciation for it?



Date Posted: 9/17/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2008
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I hated Ethan Frome when I read it in high school, but when I reread it in my twenties, I thought it was fair and had the distinct feeling that if I were to read it a third time, I would love it.  Overall, Edith Wharton has become one of my favorite authors.  My husband hated Herman Melville in school but now loves him.

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2006
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Absolutely!  I didn't like a lot of the books that were required reading in school, but now I really like them.  When I was younger, non-stop thrills and excitement were the only thing that kept me interested in books, but now I really enjoy a slower "classic" now and then.  I think maturity brings patience and definitely contributes to a greater awareness of the world around us, which leads to a greater appreciation for the classics.  For me, I would have never made it through a Dickens or Alexander Dumas book as a teenager, but now enjoy them a lot.


Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/17/2008 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I can't think of much...I know I didn't appreciate Shakespeare until I was in college and something clicked where te language wasn't a problem, and now I love his plays.  I really hated Red Badge of Courage when I was in high school, and doubt I would like it now.  I have since read some of Crane's other stuff and can't say I like it that much either.  As for Melville, I can't figure him out.  I think Moby Dick is very well done, but I consider Bartleby the Scrivener (which incicentally I had to read in both middle school and high school) to be one of the most boring and pointless pieces of fiction ever. 

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
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I don't really remember hating any books...I never did make it through Moby DIck, though--either in high school OR in college! Maybe I should give it another try.

Johnny Tremain was one of my favorite books growing up. I bought it for my nephew and re-read it a couple years ago, and I didn't like it near as much. Go figure!

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2008
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I have the opposite experience. I loved Animal Farm when I was about 13, I reread it senior year of high school and couldn't get through it.

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Interesting that you bring up "Moby Dick", Janelle because that is my first though. After I read "Ahab's Wife" I keep thinking I should go back and re-read it.

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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I hated The Grapes of Wrath in high school. I tried re-reading it a year or so ago and couldnt get past the first few pages. I still hate it.
Date Posted: 9/17/2008 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I've wondered the same thing! there are some I'm sure i'd still hate..seems like they made us read crazy stuff like 1984, animal farm, lord of the flies and books where the animals were hurt or died(sounder, where the red fern grows, old yeller) I wonder though if I'd like 'old man and the sea' better or the great gatsby(didnt hate that one but didn't understand enough about the time it was written etc)..I  read 'a tree grows in brooklyn' as an adult and have liked it better each time I've read it..could just relate to it more each time and noticed different things with each reading.

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
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Ohh Nooo!!!!  The Grapes of Wrath is my favorite all time book!!!!!!  it is a very hard starting book, but once you get past a few chapters it is awesome.

Can;t read any other Steinback, so i dont know what that means???

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Wendy - well I read the whole thing in high school...I guess it's not my thing. lol. It's funny that you mention that you dont like anything else by Steinbeck...I had a lot of people say that I should have read other stuff by him before the grapes of wrath to get a better understanding of steinbeck. however, I've never read anything else. Just have no desire too. I think I'm in the minority though!
Date Posted: 9/17/2008 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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Lord of the Rings. HATED it. And it was required reading!! Argh.

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I decided to look for some classics today at the library since I'm behind on my. goal of reading a classic every month or so...one of the librarians finally found Fahrenheit 451 for me on the 'summer reading' shelf and I was looking at the list ..each school in the area had 2 books each on the list and I saw some that mademe feel so sorry for the poor students then saw 'my n ame is asher lev' on the list and thought how lucky those students were..that book is one of my all-time faves along with the sequel! how lucky can a class get?? and another had 'rebecca' by dumaurier which has been in my TBR pile for a while and about to climb it's way up! geez..another lucky class! oh and 'a streetcar named desire' which I've been wanting to read was on one school's list..checked that one out too. but another required 'farewell to arms'..isn't that the sad one where they go across this water in a boat and she has a baby then they both die?? saw the end of the movie - twice- and couldn't believer I could flip a channel and catch the same movie twice at the same place...i'm wondering if it's worth reading since I already know it has a crappy ending..

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 2:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2008
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I wasn't required to read Lord of the Flies, but it was on one of my summer reading iists and we had to read x amount of books from the list.  I couldn't get through it, so I dropped it and found something else I liked better. 

I now have it on my WL to see if I''ll like it any better.

Also not required reading, but i absolutely hated Catcher in the Rye.  I think I would actually hate it more now, if that's possible.  I've read too many "troubled young man" books that I liked so much better. 

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2008
Posts: 31
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I hated Tale of Two Cities. It was required reading and the only required reading book that I never finished. I could not get into the book. Another book that I hated was The Stranger by Albert Camus. While I did finish that one, I didn't like it for one minute. However, a book that I really loved was Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank - excellent book about nuclear war.

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 1,518
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I can only remember 2 books that I didn't really like in High School and that The Scarlett Letter and The Good Earth. I would probably read The Scarlett Letter now and like it but not The Good Earth.

Subject: book that i lovvved in college
Date Posted: 9/18/2008 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2008
Posts: 2
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The Hand Maid's Tale. I really thought I was going to grossly hate this book. Well I began to read it and decided that I would make a day of reading it. Wow....I give kudo's to Magarat Atwood...it was a weird take on future reality!

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 9
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I hated Silas Marner in tenth grade, mostly because of the relentless emphasis on analyzing the story (okay, there's a connection between the lost gold coins and the baby's gold curls, I GET it). But I read it again in my twenties when I was on a road trip and it was the only book around, and much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I love George Eliot now, especially Adam Bede. The classes that weren't assigned Silas Marner in tenth grade had to read The Bridge of San Luis Rey instead. At the time, I felt like I had dodged a bullet, but I read it years later and was deeply moved. It's a beautiful and haunting story.
Date Posted: 9/18/2008 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 770
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I'm cringing just thinking of Dante's Divine Inferno

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 4:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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Moby Dick drove me nuts in high school. I wonder if I would look at it differently now?

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 149
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Anything written by Shakespeare gave my loads of trouble in high school.  Now when I read him, in grad school, I have no trouble at all and I love his work.

I disliked reading in general in high school but now I love it.  The only books I remember enjoying in high school were "I am the Cheese" and "Of Mice and Men."

Date Posted: 9/20/2008 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/15/2005
Posts: 319
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I think it's a strange and wonderful thing that high school required reading didn't choke the love of books out of me forever.  The only books I liked at all were Shakespeare and Poe.  The mere mention of Ethan Frome or All Quiet on the Western Front makes me shudder in memory!

So no, I can't say I have any interest in going back over them.  But then, those have never been my favorite genres and still aren't today.

We did read some things I liked in elementary school and college though.  I liked Johnny Tremaine!  LOL!


This brings up a similar question I had a few months ago though.  I recently read Ender's Game for the first time and found it riveting!  Orson Scott Card (the author) seems very pleased to let us know that this book is often read in classes these days, and I couldn't help but wonder if I would have liked it back in high school.  You know, I don't think I would have liked it nearly as much as I do now, and I'm not even entirely sure why I say that!

Date Posted: 9/21/2008 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I had to read Last of the Mohicans for a college course I was taking -- and I was a real adult (30+) at the time -- and hated it. Could not get through the book. And when I student taught, I had to teach The Stranger by Camus, which was a quick read but I really, really hated it.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 13
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Least favorite required read was Wurthing Heighs. It is on my TBR list.

My favorite was The Gooth Earth, I've re-read it and I still love it!

Date Posted: 9/23/2008 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2008
Posts: 1,520
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Had to read Moby Dick once in HS and twice in college...hated it all three times!  Never had any desire to re-read it!  Altho, it is one of dh's favorite books!