Hated These in School, But Came to Like Them Later

Books for which we either weren't ready in school, or which a teacher, a parent or someone else spoiled for us back then -- but which we eventually came to appreciate after all.

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18 books · 9 voters · list created September 21st, 2009 by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (votes) .
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Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
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Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I'm having trouble coming up with any. The two that spring to mind in the hatred category are "The Glass Menagerie" and "The Old Man and the Sea," but I didn't come to like them later. (I never reread them.) Most other stuff I read for school I either loved, liked, or mildly disliked, but didn't hate.


message 2: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn I hated King Lear because I hated the teacher....In 1960, one simply "read" Shakespeare...rarely was there any performance, let alone much in the way of film, even liberal arts colleges had trouble hauling in a dozen reels of 16 mm --clacking away....marginally better than nothing.


message 3: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Then, too, "hate" is hyperbolic...I was smitten at a young age, and never fell out of love....whenever I got left behind, I assumed it was me. It was. Always. Still is. And still I run to catch up.


message 4: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Ok, I thought of one. I thought the idea of placing a jar in Tennessee was the stupidest thing ever.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Lobstergirl, I envy you for the teachers you must have had. My French teacher's sheer incompetence ruined for me almost every single piece of French literature she ever touched (how Anouilh's "Antigone" ever managed to escape the fray, I still don't understand) -- everything from challenging stuff like Camus's "Stranger" to much less controversial, and nominally much more accessible books such as Pagnol's "Gloire de mon père" and Daudet's "Letters From My Windmill." And this although I've always loved France, ever since I was little, and I deeply love the French language! I'm just glad she never even touched Molière, Racine, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Maupassant, Zola, Dumas père & fils or, for that matter, Sartre or any of the French Enlightenment philosophers ... I think I'd have seriously missed out on an immense part of some of the best literature ever written otherwise, because all this particular teacher achieved was making me categorically refuse to ever take another look at anything by any of the authors she had made us read for class! If I hadn't come across Camus's "Plague" in my mother's book case years later and started to leaf through it (only to end up reading the whole book cover to cover), I'd never even have taken a fresh look at "The Stranger," either -- and similarly, it took an extended trip to Provence to reconcile me with Daudet and Pagnol.

And to me it wasn't about performance or merely "reading" assigned material, either, Thom: We actually did watch the movie based on Camus's "Stranger" in class, but that still didn't do anything for me as far as the book itself was concerned. Conversely, we only "read" "Macbeth" in my English class, with nary a theater experience involved at all -- but for one thing there's something about Shakespeare's language that got through to me immediately, no matter what; and besides, our English teacher clearly knew what she was doing and where she wanted to take us with our reading assignments. "Macbeth" became an instant favorite with me in high school and has been one ever since, and the same is true with regard to Shakespeare's and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnets, and almost every other piece of literature to which I was introduced by this particular teacher. Practically the only thing she made us read that I didn't find immediately accessible was Osborne's "Look Back in Anger," and in that particular case I later took another look at the piece just BECAUSE I had come to trust my former teacher's judgment ... not in spite of it!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Themis-Athena, At least you weren't thrown out of French class like I was due to having a horrible accent (Texas with South mixed in). My snobbish French teacher told me to please drop as I would never speak French correctly. I was deeply cut so I did immediately.

I ended up taking two years of German where at least the German Prof liked me.


message 7: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Themis-Athena wrote: "Lobstergirl, I envy you for the teachers you must have had. My French teacher's sheer incompetence ruined for me almost every single piece of French literature she ever touched (how Anouilh's "Ant..."

I definitely had some great teachers, but also a few duds. One of the duds taught Shakespeare, but even she couldn't ruin it.


I also had some nice but not very exciting or invigorating French lit teachers. We read some pretty advanced literature and I can't really say I enjoyed it, but I didn't loathe it with every bone in my body either, like I did "The Glass Menagerie."


message 8: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Canary wrote: "Themis-Athena, At least you weren't thrown out of French class like I was due to having a horrible accent (Texas with South mixed in). My snobbish French teacher told me to please drop as I would ..."

How very rude!


message 9: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Canary wrote: "Themis-Athena, At least you weren't thrown out of French class like I was due to having a horrible accent (Texas with South mixed in). My snobbish French teacher told me to please drop as I would ..."

Was this French teacher FROM France ? Was she a native speaker of French ?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Thom wrote: "Canary wrote: "Themis-Athena, At least you weren't thrown out of French class like I was due to having a horrible accent (Texas with South mixed in). My snobbish French teacher told me to please d..."

No, she wasn't! But my German prof was from Germany. Some of the students used to kid that he was an ex SS officer and you could picture him as one. He was always polite and nice.




Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Canary, I can't believe a teacher would even have the right to demand such a thing. This is atrocious!

I'm glad you at least got along with your German teacher ... ;) (SS or not!)


message 12: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Canary wrote: "Thom wrote: "Canary wrote: "Themis-Athena, At least you weren't thrown out of French class like I was due to having a horrible accent (Texas with South mixed in). My snobbish French teacher told m..."

My German teacher, Kurt Guddat (Of Blessed Memory) was in the German army...involvement was, of course, inescapable.....Your old French teacher is to laugh....I wonder how SHE would get along in a Paris boutique...Probably be thrown out on her supercilious behind ! (I do believe that is the most badly mixed metaphor ever penned.)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Canary, have you ever watched the movie "Gosford Park"? The movie's DVD has a special feature with commentary by Julian Fellowes, who wrote the screenplay, and who explains -- on top of what the movie itself shows anyway, that is -- how folks trained for domestic service in British pre-war society were so thoroughly brainwashed and stripped off any identity of their own that they ended up identifying completely with their upper class employers, no matter what those employers did. Even if they were collaborating with the Nazis, or at least keeping on friendly terms with Nazi Germans on a personal level -- as Stevens's employer does in "Remains of the Day!" I agree ... this is just about the most depressing thing that can be said about anybody at all!

According to Wikipedia, Lord Darlington is a fictional character, btw -- but I wouldn't rule out that he is based on one or several real life models after all. At the very least, he is a stand-in for a certain group of people: "sahib" mentality and over a century's worth of British empire had, after all, made a fair number of (especially: upper class) Brits pretty sympathetic to Nazi ideology initially; at least until Hitler showed his true colors.

Thom, never mind mixed metaphors (and I do think you are incapable of ever coming up with a bad one) -- I perfectly agree on that teacher's attitude. Paris boutique?! I'd like to see her surviving a simple metro ride ... ;)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)


I wish I could remember their names now but would probably have to get out my year books. I do think I just remembered that hers was Miss Volk. I did get it out - Mary Ellen Volk. Strangely enough the German prof isn't in the yearbook or the one I got down.
Its a funny thought.




message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Themis-Athena wrote: "Canary, have you ever watched the movie "Gosford Park"? The movie's DVD has a special feature with commentary by Julian Fellowes, who wrote the screenplay, and who explains -- on top of what the m..."

I haven't seen that but it certainly sounds true. I wonder who he was based on (Lord Darlington) I never got to France but I did fly Icelandic to Luxembourg and then got to Munich. It was quite a treat for me.




Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) I am glad to hear that! When was that trip?

I did a bit of online research -- didn't find anything where Ishiguro addresses the character of Lord Darlington, but there are a few interviews where he talks about the way he writes and creates characters and atmosphere, generally, and in which "The Remains of the Day" is mentioned as well (even though it's not always the main focus of the interview):

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/10/28/boo...

http://www.januarymagazine.com/profil...

http://www.writersblocpresents.com/ar...

http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/in...

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0...

I think taken together, these interviews indicate that Ishiguro probably didn't have one specific person in mind in creating Lord Darlington (nor Stevens, for that matter), but Darlington's character exemplifies one element of the class society that produced thoroughly repressed people like Stevens in the first place ...


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) You spent time in Japan as a kid?! How exciting!!


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Themis-Athena wrote: "You spent time in Japan as a kid?! How exciting!!"

My father was stationed there during the Korean conflict. I am really enjoying Memoirs of a Geisha this go around. I had a kimono royal blue with white swans and my sister had peach with cherry blossoms or some kind of abstract pink flower.


message 19: by Marsia (new)

Marsia Lobster Girl! (Re: "We read some pretty advanced literature . . . but I didn't loathe it with every bone in my body either, like I did "The Glass Menagerie.")

How could you possibly loathe The Glass Menagerie? What did you loathe about it? How old were you when you read it?


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