It's been a while, but I am happy to take part in the Blue Bookcase's weekly Literary Blog Hop today. This is a book blogging exploration and a great opportunity to hear other lit lovers' thoughts. I am always fascinated to read what you all think, and the variety in opinion is just remarkable. This week is no exception. To check out the other bloggers, click the button below.
The prompt this week is: "Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated when you were made to read it in school or university. Why did you dislike it?"
I almost decided not to participate this week because I find this a tricky question. Unfortunately, I won't give you a very direct answer, but please bear with me. Naturally, I don't enjoy every book of Classic Literature I read. However, the word "hate" has a particularly strong connotation that I don't attach very easily. If I confessed some of the well-loved classics and authors I don't like, I imagine I would upset many of you. Perhaps I will spill the beans about them one by one, but I'm certainly not going to list them all here without explanation.
Some books I don't like because I find them confusing, some I don't like because I find them dull, and some I don't like because I cannot find any meaningful significance in them. If I experience all three of these reactions, perhaps that qualifies as "hate." I mentioned in a previous blog hop that I hated reading Immanuel Kant, but that's because it requires incredibly slow reading and is very difficult for me to grasp. I'm not sure it's fair for me to list him this week because I can see his significance... as long as someone explains it to me. Occasionally, I have grown to appreciate literature that I initially disliked. The first time I read Eliot's The Wasteland, I dismissed its merit because I didn't understand it. But once I dug deeply into its meaning and studied critical analysis, I changed my mind.
Ok, ok, enough stalling - I'll tell you my "hated" book. When I read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in high school, I hated it. There, I said it. I was thoroughly confused, unable to distinguish the past from the present in the book's dizzying back-and-forth timeline. I was also bored. In fact, I began reading it in study hall when I wanted to take a nap because I knew it would have that effect on me. I didn't care about what was happening, (partly because I didn't know what was happening), and the language lulled me to sleep. And perhaps worst of all, I didn't even finish it. I was an over-achiever in high school, and this was the only book in my entire high school career that I couldn't even bring myself to finish. So yeah, I hated it.
I know that I should try reading the book again. A number of years have passed since I first read it, and I have heard so many people I respect praise the book that I believe there is something of merit to be found in it. However, my memory of hating it is still quite strong in my mind, and I struggle finding motivation to try again when there are so many other books I'm interested to read. Anybody want to help convince me?