It was only recently that I became aware of Musing Mondays, but I think it is awesome and I plan to participate from now on. This week’s question:
How did you react to assigned reading when you were in school/university/college/etc? How do you think on these books now? What book were you ‘forced’ to read when you where in school that you’ve since reread and loved?
And my answer:
I’ve already discussed this topic here and here. However, I feel strongly about it and thus am perfectly willing to discuss it again. Obviously, I don’t react well to assigned reading. I think it sucks the joy out of something that should be purely awesome. This is my year of reading for fun, and I don’t want to ruin it by having to read books that I don’t find fun, but it will be necessary. I also have a rule against finishing books that are crap and give no signs of improving. However, I cannot choose not to read a book for school because I don’t like it, and thus I am wasting valuable time that could be spent reading something awesome.
Now, for the specifics. There have been a few books that I have been assigned to read and that I have enjoyed, but it’s almost always been a book that I enjoyed as I was reading it the first time; “after the fact” enjoyment of these books, or enjoying them only after rereading, is not really something that I’ve experienced (why would I reread a book if I hate it?). I can appreciate some of them more now, in a contextual sense, though.
What I mean by this is, just because I personally don’t find a book to be very enjoyable, doesn’t mean it’s not important. For example, my summer reading last year. I hate Catcher in the Rye, but I think it’s important because it’s often cited as the first YA book. Huckleberry Finn is a good portrait of that era, particularly with regard to race relations. But I hated it and thought it was poorly written. I also think there’s a reader for (almost) every book. I’m just not that reader most of the time (especially when it comes to English class), and I hate that I still have to read the books. For people who don’t already love reading, that’s sure going to kill any potential book love.
There are books I want to reread, though. Books that I might someday enjoy, because I didn’t hate them the first time around, just didn’t enjoy them because of the required reading, retarded symbolism, and essay questions aspect of the experience. So my final answer to this prompt is pretty much–I’ll get back to you in ten years.