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"Most boring book you were forced to read in school" Topic

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20 Jun 2019 5:49 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions boardCrossposted to Utter Drivel board

Areas of Interest


1,213 hits since 10 Sep 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Winston Smith10 Sep 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

I have a few. I went to a Catholic high school, right after Vatican II. That was a strange time. The nuns wanted to be "hip" and "with it". Thus my dislike for Simon and Garfunkel. (On my own, I came to really like Pail Simon, solo. I shudder to think how the nuns would have destroyed that appreciation.)

Number 1 most boring. Silas Marner. I've heard that it gets better, but the format was to call on everyone to analyze it. I think that was to make sure we did read it.

2. Catcher in the Rye. What's to like about that snotty little punk? He's more entitled than Harry Potter.

3. Caesar's Gallic Wars. The whole purpose was to get Latin grammar correct. The Commentaries themselves, and battles were irrelevant.
"Having been influenced by these things, Caesar made a forced march with his impediments… Sister? Baggage? What's baggage? Ow!! That hurts!"
I might add that this experience has lead me to consider all Roman armies Bad Guys.

I googled Boring Novels. And Lo! Silas Marner's name lead the pack.

Remember. This is TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE. The actual literary quality is irrelevant. The only criterion that matters is that it was assigned reading and it bored you to tears.
It's funny, but in most cases, the semester mercifully ended before the book did. Alas, we made it to the end of Catcher.

Really, it's anything that we were forced to analyze the significance of, or the symbolism, etc.
My buddy got bored with reading his stanza of The Raven, and opined that his particular stanza was pretty straightforward, with nothing beyond what was actually written. The teacher dragged him to the Principal's office.

21eRegt10 Sep 2018 2:22 p.m. PST

Anything by William Faulkner.

The Great Gatsby.

Any of my math books.

GiloUK10 Sep 2018 2:33 p.m. PST

Anything by Dickens.

Legion 410 Sep 2018 2:36 p.m. PST

All of them !

Winston Smith10 Sep 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

Please don't say "anything by…"

I want the actual work of literary art.

LtJBSz Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, Native Son

JimDuncanUK10 Sep 2018 2:44 p.m. PST

Anything by Shakespeare.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 2:44 p.m. PST

My English teacher was a Nun so we read Wuthering heights, Little Women etc! I could have washed my mouth out with a handgun it was so boring.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

The one book I flung across the room before I could make it through the first chapter, I wasn't being paid by the word.

Technically they couldn't force me to read it, I went and bought the Cliff Notes and did just fine on the test.

The Scarlet Letter.

khanscom10 Sep 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

"The Mayor of Casterbridge" is high on the list-- on the other hand, we did also get to read "The Sand Pebbles", "All Quiet on the Western Front", and "Arundel".

KeithRK10 Sep 2018 3:07 p.m. PST

Ethan Frome. Just miserable.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 3:21 p.m. PST

Looking Backwards by edward bellamy. Pure utopian garbage in an unreadable form.

bobspruster10 Sep 2018 3:35 p.m. PST

Ethan Frome. Pure drudgery.

Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 3:38 p.m. PST

Confession time -- I didn't read Silas Marner, at least not in novel form. I passed the exam by reading the Classics Illustrated comic book (doing rather well, as I recall).


Personal logo FingerandToeGlenn Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 3:55 p.m. PST

Silas Marner. David Copperfield. Oliver Missed. I actually enjoyed both the Commentaries and Shakespeare.

Dynaman878910 Sep 2018 4:25 p.m. PST

Hamlet – I know it is not a "Book" but I was forced to read it TWICE. You would think the Lit/English teacher in one grade would know what the Lit/English teacher of the other grade made us read. Even worse was the abysmal video tape of the play they made us watch. Third rate actors and no scenery.

Hamlet itself – a study in stupid.

willthepiper10 Sep 2018 4:32 p.m. PST

I had an English teacher that was a huge fan of Thomas Hardy. His poetry was good, but his novels were dreary. It was tedious to endure "Tess of the Durberviles" and "Mayor of Castorbridge". When will HS teachers learn that most Victorian novels (or even most 19th century novels, so we can include the Russian monstrosities as well) were the equivalent of television soap operas? Authors needed to churn out the chapters, but hurrying the plot along was not a priority. Reading through page after page where NOTHING happens – not such a chore when it's a light entertainment once a week in the newspaper, but really annoying when you're trying to get through a dozen chapters just to find that one paragraph where some crucial plot point happens.

Soaring Soren10 Sep 2018 4:40 p.m. PST

Sickens Great Expectations.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:13 p.m. PST

Catcher in the Rye is certainly at or near the top of the list. I remember liking Thomas Hardy's novels 50 years ago but when I picked one up last year to read again I just couldn't do it.

Oberlindes Sol LIC10 Sep 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

Ethan Frome
Mayor of Casterbridge

I made a deal with two of my classmates. We would each read every third chapter and cover for each other in class. It worked really well. There was so little happening that you didn't miss anything if you skipped two chapters out of every three.

I remember reading a comic strip once in which the character had to write a book report on Moby Dick. He began with something to the effect of, "Despite being one of the greatest novels ever written, Moby Dick is enjoyable to read and kept my interest to the end."

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:38 p.m. PST

Most boring was The Yearling.

Second most boring was Great Expectations, but I refuse to call it a work of art. After those two, even The Pearl (Steinbeck, not the Victorian pornography) was a marginal improvement. Silas Marner would certainly be a contender.

Shakespeare was always the great relief of a year of high school English. Sometimes there was a little Poe, and one year a bit of Homer.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:40 p.m. PST

Moby Dick

The Great Gatsby

Anything to do with Greek mythology.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:41 p.m. PST

Old man & the sea

DrSkull10 Sep 2018 5:44 p.m. PST

Thomas Hardy---Return of the Native

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 6:10 p.m. PST

The Lord of the Flies

mad monkey 110 Sep 2018 6:17 p.m. PST

Wuthering Heights. Ghastly.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 6:23 p.m. PST

The House of the Seven Gables

(Read that one on my own because I was bored and it was nearby for some reason. Worst, most boring booked I ever read. Nothing happens in it.)

Winston Smith10 Sep 2018 6:28 p.m. PST

Hooray for Cliff Notes and Classic Comics!

Chuckaroobob10 Sep 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

The Mayor of Casterbridge
Huckleberry Finn

TNE230010 Sep 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

anything I am FORCED to read becomes boring 'on principle'

Tacitus10 Sep 2018 7:40 p.m. PST

I remember staring at the blank inside cover being better than continuing to read Old Man and the Sea. How can so few pages take so long to read? I didn't like the Gatsby character and Holden Caulfield is a douche.

Jakar Nilson10 Sep 2018 7:46 p.m. PST

Menaud, maître draveur. And if that wasn't enough with it's brainwashing and casual racism, I made the error of reading "Il n'y a pas de pays sans grand père" because it was by Roch Chollette, authour of The Hockey Sweater!

willthepiper10 Sep 2018 7:52 p.m. PST

Roch Chollette? Don't you mean Roch Carrier?

vdal181210 Sep 2018 8:00 p.m. PST

Wurthering Heights and The Stone Angel. Barely got through them.

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 8:01 p.m. PST

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. It has a description brick by brick of a jail cell's wall.

redbanner414510 Sep 2018 8:12 p.m. PST

Scarlett Letter is the only book that could make Silas Marner seem less boring by comparison.

Tommy2010 Sep 2018 8:14 p.m. PST

Another vote for Wuthering Heights!

Jakar Nilson10 Sep 2018 8:34 p.m. PST

Yes, Carrier. Mixed him up with a former local politician turned radio talk show host…

rmaker10 Sep 2018 9:32 p.m. PST

If school includes college, On the Road and Growing Up Absurd.

I was fortunate in high school and junior high because the head of the English department firmly believed that plays were meant to be performed, not read, so we did a lot of readers' theatre.

Wherethestreetshavnoname10 Sep 2018 11:43 p.m. PST

19th century novels. All of them.

The authors must have been paid by the word (Dickens, the most boring of the lot, certainly was).

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2018 3:50 a.m. PST

Atlas Shrugged. People kept telling me you have to read this it will change your life. Most boring and stupid book I have ever read.

Green Tiger11 Sep 2018 4:06 a.m. PST

I had a right riveting book about world soils… In terms of novels probably A Passage to India – a book in which the only thing that happens probably doesn't… yawn!

parrskool11 Sep 2018 4:22 a.m. PST

Sons & Lovers D H lawrence

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse11 Sep 2018 5:26 a.m. PST

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong : Dutch school children put a wheel on the school roof so that storks will nest there. That's it.

Amazingly it won the 1955 Newbery Medal for children's literature. Must have been a bad year for Children's literature.

Rich Bliss11 Sep 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

The Bridge at San Luis Rey

Oppiedog11 Sep 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Old Wolfman11 Sep 2018 6:58 a.m. PST

Fortunately,the teachers I had ,also had backup books available.

Silurian11 Sep 2018 7:20 a.m. PST

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy, when in school. What a snore-fest.

Years later, while in a pastoral mood, I reread it and now Hardy is one of my favourite authors.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2018 7:51 a.m. PST

The pearl by Steinbeck in junior high English, the language was so basic and simple. It felt like something I could have written at that point in my life (with my dyslexia)

Ibsen's a people's enemy was probably riveting in the mid 19th century but given it's the foundation of about 36.6% of all American TV movies I've seen it all before. Yes his was the original but when you've seen 40 copies of various quality. There wasn't much new to pick up.

Rogues111 Sep 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

Tess of the D'Arbervilles, bamboo under my fingernails (and I handled Great Expectations, Mayor of Casterbridge, Catcher in the Rye, and others ok.). I got a decent grade on the book report writing from the explanation on the jacket cover. Then I took the AP exam and did ok, but the grader must have realized I never read the book. I did fine, but I could have aced the exam, it was just too painful a read.

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