I Did Not Want to “Read This!”

This is the first of a series of “Read This!” surveys designed to encourage debate. We asked staff what books they were assigned to read in high school that they absolutely hated. Next week we’ll post the results of the second part of the survey in which we asked staff to choose a book they wished they had to read in high school. We hope that this will spark some interesting discussions because some of the books that people hated were other people’s favorites. If you want to join the discussion please leave a comment.

Books hated by at least two staff members:


Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
Silas Marner – George Eliot
Metamorphosis – Kafka
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
*Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
1984 – George Orwell
Bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder

Here are the rest:

Canterbury Tales
Red Pony – John Steinbeck
The Pearl – John Steinbeck
Good Earth – Pearl Buck (I ended up loving it)
Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Seize the Day – Saul Bellow
Death of Ivan Illych – Tolstoy
Moby Dick – Herman Melville

3 thoughts on “I Did Not Want to “Read This!”

  1. Oh, man, that Ethan Frome! As soon as ta and I devised this little survey I knew what my choice would be. To this day I have nightmares of pickle jars, sleds, and Liam Neeson with a limp!

  2. And Oh man, that As I Lay Dying! I vividly remember reading, or at least attempting to read it. This book cast a dark cloud on my holiday season that year. Instead of wrapping presents, I wasted endless hours rereading depressing passages as I tried to get my paper written. I got a pretty bad grade too.

  3. While I agree with some of them, I loved others. Isn’t that the way it goes?

    I do think that the preparation that goes in to presenting a book and good class discussion makes a huge difference in one’s opinion of a book…

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