Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > Two American Classics - The Gatsby in the Rye

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:14PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I hated both The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. Does that make me unAmerican?

message 2: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Norman (normanince) | 48 comments What does hating a book have to do with nationality?

A better question would be: Does that mean I should perhaps read them again sometime?

Or: Was reading those books a complete waste of time?

At the top of my list of most-hated books is Pride and Prejudice. However, someday I plan to pick it up again and read it in a different way. I already know how predictable the Elizabeth - Darcy story will be, but this time I will look to appreciate Austen's style of prose, or perhaps see it as a glimpse into a time gone by. I will try to savor its strengths rather than focus on its flaws.

The other day I happened to see a Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. The adaptation became fascinating - it was silly, amusing, and highly entertaining...all because I had read the original Austen novel.

message 3: by Books Ring Mah Bell (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Books Ring Mah Bell holy cow. I thought I was the only freak on here who did not like The Great Gatsby!!!
Thanks for making me feel normal. (kind of)

message 4: by Phillip (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Phillip Sarah, Not sure about being unAmerican, but it puts you distinctly in the honest category. For me,I'm waiting until I get more ammunition stockpiled before coming out against that Harry Potter crap, Patterson, and most chick lit. And is there ANY way to keep people from adding every coloring book they ever threw up on to their "read" list? Now back into bunker until the Potterites run out of hand grenades.

message 5: by Cassiel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Cassiel Thanks Phillip, for saying what I have been thinking about the coloring books, Dr. Seuss etc.

message 6: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I didn't realize there were coloring books on here. That's strange. But why should I care what someone else has on their "read" list? My friend has a little daughter and she is adding books on there that are in her daughter's library (including Dr. Seuss). What's wrong with that?

message 7: by Cassiel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Cassiel Yes, I knew that I would catch hell for that comment, as Dr. Seuss seems to be one of the favorite authors on GoodReads. I don't care what people have on their reading list, but it is a jolt to click the "compare books" button, and find a list of baby board books and learn-to-read books.

message 8: by Books Ring Mah Bell (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Books Ring Mah Bell yes, but if there are no "baby board books" on your list they should not come up when you compare, right?

I am guilty of having a few classics that really brought me into reading as a child and turned me into the freak for books that I am today.
Thank you, Suess, you warped man.

message 9: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I don't have any Seuss but I do have some of the books I loved to read when I was a girl. Books like the Baby-sitters Club and books by Judy Blume. It's fun for me to compare books and see who liked the same books as I did when they were a child. I've also recently started to go back and re-read some books I loved once upon a time. It's great nostalgic fun. For instance, right now I am re-reading A Wrinkle in Time.

message 10: by Misty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Misty I agree that it can be a bore to meander down other people's memory lane and encounter (gasp) children's books; however, I couldn't help but add my "Sweet Pickle" series when I realized they were available. These are the books that made me the reader I am today! At least I shelved them on the appropriate shelf - childhood favorites.
- Misty

message 11: by Cassiel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Cassiel Jeeze! I have quite a few children's books on my list too. I DON'T loathe/dislike Dr. Seuss or kids' books.
Now about those cookbooks....

message 12: by Phillip (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Phillip RE children's books: A) I am a curmudgeon and happily so; B) there are many childhood things i remember fondly including books which taught me to read, or add/subtract or a bit about the world. But I rarely bring them up in discussions about literature or any other discussions with adults. As to the 'compare' issue, while it's true that they won't come up if i don't have them on my list, that list typically compares one to five percent of my book list. The fascinating thing about goodreads is seeing what people (in other lands and climes; different ages, etc.) are reading.It is less fascinating to learn that many lists are comprised of Harry Potter and books about cute mice. If this is an elitist attitude, take all the umbrage you feel entitled to.

message 13: by Cassiel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Cassiel This got me to thinking about my "read" list, and what I want it to reflect. My list (and I am strictly referring to ONLY mine, no one else's) is to catagorize the books that I care about, not to impress with sheer numbers.
If I won't give space to poor old Seuss, who probably did me some good in the distant past, why should I include crap like Patricia Cornwell's books? Time to jettison about 250 books from my list.

message 14: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Melissa (melissaharl) Different Philip here -- Vive la difference, I would say. Since mine is a current list, not historical, it does not include my childhood favorites. But my longer list (on Library Thing) is more of a 'books I own' list and so includes a few that were very important to my developing love of reading, such as Milne's Winnie the Pooh.

message 15: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 29 comments On the original comment...I just read Catcher in the Rye for the first time and I really enjoyed it. I don't think it makes you unamerican. Once in college I said I hated Steinbeck and Hemingway, I really thought people were going to murder me. Oh well, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

message 16: by Esther (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) I like Gatsby, though it is not Fitzgerald's best, and I quite enjoyed Catcher, though I can remember the experience of reading it was similar to being under water!

I use Goodreads as a catalogue, its plainer straightforward interface makes it very user friendly and convenient.
I use another application just to post my latest reads. It's flashier and less easy to handle.

As a catalogue I am trying to include all the books I have read that are worth remembering. That will be an awful lot of books as for about five years between the ages of 8-13 I was reading a book a day.

I think the key here is bookshelves. I am really only interested in someones favourites or scifi favourites. I wouldn't bother with chicklit shelf unless I was comparing a specific book.

message 17: by Seizure Romero (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Seizure Romero Go, Dog. Go!? Harold and the Purple Crayon? D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths? These titles from my formative years helped me become the book-devouring dynamo I am today. If I were for some reason unable to list these titles the foundation of my bibliophilic reality would crumble, I'd have to reconsider all those Nick Carter spy novels I plowed through in sixth grade, my literary history would be called into question and I may as well just give up because the terrorists have already won.

On a lighter note, I mislike it when I see only 'read', 'currently reading' and 'to read' shelves on someone's page. I want to explore and I don't want to slog through all those crappy James Patterson novels to get to the good stuff. Don't get me wrong-- I don't full on loathe Patterson's books, but I become rather melancholy when I consider all the resources that could have been put to better use had 1st to Die never been published.

But then I make fun of all those people with fewer than ten books and more than twenty friends and I feel better.

message 18: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

I put my most important childhood books on my list. I did feel compelled to list them on the "Children's" shelf - and I reviewed them with explanations of why I felt they were important to me.

Leaving all childhood books off my list would make me feel the intellectual parvenu, as if I were trying to imply that I just jumped out of the womb and began reading Camus. Now I did read Goethe with my father at nine, but I also read Nancy Drew.

And I rather like seeing a couple of kids books when I look at others book lists. It's a little window onto another person's formation as a reader.

I think any book that has had an effect you is fair game. That's why I've also listed some books I've loathed.

It does drive me a little crazy when I see someone with a list of 800 books and 700 of them are children's books - why not just start a good reads list in their child's name with a lovely little picture of say, a ducky in the corner? It would save me time.

message 19: by Cathy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Cathy In response to all of the messages about including children's books, what's the beef? You don't have to include them on yours, and you do not have to read my list.
I am a professor who teaches children's literature classes. Children's books are high on my priority 1) because I enjoy them. 2) because I research them and their value, and 3) I have concerns about literacy. I have grown children and grandsons, so I keep a wide variety of children's books at my house for my classes and for my grandsons. Also I read them on occassion!!
I happen to really enjoy Harry Potter, have never read anything by James Patterson, and thought that Catcher in the Rye was only average. However, on my list are some of my MOST favorite children's books, young adult books, adult books, and banned books.
I will make categories, however, for the ease of people I don't know. When I have the time. After the semester is over. Is this acceptable?
I thought this was a group about books we don't like, yes? Is it about people we don't like too?? Or lists we don't like? Why should anyone care??

message 20: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments I would say that you can like or hate any book you want. That freedom of thought is what makes a liberal rather than a fascist world. I personally liked both books. What did you not like about them? They weren't the best books I ever read but they weren't the worst either.

message 21: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments "Dr. Seuss" was a very philosophical and political man. Books like "The Lorax" and "Horton Hears a Who" have great underlying political and philosophical significance. I recommend that you look at them again if you think otherwise.

I typed "the philosophy of Dr. Seuss" into my web browser and came up with some very interesting information. One example is: Independent Lens "The Political Dr. Seuss"

I have seen the movie "The Lorax" used to teach 5th grade students about the value of conservation. It is an amazing piece of work.

The beauty of his work is that he could put such a serious message into something so unassuming as children's literature.

message 22: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new)

lilias It's interesting to see how different people use goodreads. I use it to keep track of what I read since registering, and I happen to have not read any childrens books since April. Oh my.

To dislike The Great G? I don't know. I haven't even read it. So if your disliking it made you unamerican I am definately residing in the wrong country.

To dislike Catcher in the Rye? I can see how people would find it irritating. I loved it, but I read it when I was in the 8th grade.

To dislike The Story of Ferdinand? Definately unhuman. Kiddingkidding. Koeeoaddi- I was so happy just to see its name in your post.

message 23: by Misty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:17PM) (new)

Misty Really liked Catcher in the Rye. Holden's sense of disdain just cracked me up! As for The Great Gatsby, I've tried, I honestly have tried. Perhaps if I researched the time period it would be easier for me, but that's just not on my to-do list right now.
- Misty

message 24: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:17PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Well stated, Cathy. The bottom line is that a person's shelves are their own; they can add or omit any books they see fit. If a person didn't put their James Patterson books on their list, then you wouldn't necessarily know that your interests weren't the same. Why should it matter to you (the great general Yous out there) how many cookbooks I have on my lists? I have them there for my own cataloguing purposes when I go to buy a new book. What's it to you?
My interests are broad - I like classic English literature, chick lit, children's books, fantasy, thriller, drama, comedy, biographies, historical fiction, etc. My lists aren't there to impress anyone with either their size or their content; they're a representation of my interests. Someone who's only interested in knowing which classics I've read or intend to read may find that out by looking at my classics shelf. It shouldn't matter that I also have Bridget Jones on my list. I like both high-brow and low. That's just me, take me or leave me.

As for Gatsby and Catcher (the reason I started this thread in the first place): I suppose it isn't so much that I hated them, I just don't see why they are considered the enduring classics they are.

Gatsby I kind of enjoyed, until the end, when everyone dies (sorry for those who haven't read it, that's what you get for reading this thread I suppose). It just seemed really random. I also didn't really like the character of Jay Gatsby nor did I understand why Nick was so taken with him. Obviously we're all a little fascinated with the rich and the beautiful, but once Nick got to know him a little, I didn't see why he remained in his company.

I read the Catcher in the Rye in the ninth grade. Maybe I should try reading it again. Maybe it's because I've never been a teenaged boy, so I couldn't relate. I've met several young men with Holden Caulfield complexes and they never seem to be particularly sympathetic characters. The sheltered young girl I was didn't really enjoy the scene with the prostitute. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it, but I just never saw what all the fuss was about.

I love Steinbeck and Hemingway, however, so I suppose my Americanness is safe. ;)

message 25: by Cathy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:18PM) (new)

Cathy AH! I sense a soulmate in Sarah. I also like to give any book a chance "low brow or high brow" and if it catches my interest or feels compelling to me, I will read it. If not, I put it down after a few chapters and find another.
I read others' reviews, but rarely agree -- for instance I adored the Red Tent and did not feel it debased women -- and have given it as a gift to all of the women in my life whom I love. I am a pretty firm feminist (a la 60s and 70s) (i.e., I still love men) and found the book to be quite affirming (no pity needed, thanks).
I giggled when I read the comment about adults saying "libary" instead of library -- my daughter and I say this as a joke to each other -- "Want to go to the liberry and eat some strawbraries?"
And all of us adults here say "nummy" to my grandbabies because that is what they say!!! But I have to admit, I have never used it to another adult, if no baby is listening.
still giggling . . .

message 26: by lilias (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:18PM) (new)

lilias Edit sorry

message 27: by Laurel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Laurel no, but you might want to ask yourself why you didn't like them. were the stories original? were the characters finely drawn? was the prose interesting? in the case of these two novels, i think the answer is yes, yes, and yes. maybe you should try re-reading them. you don't have to like the stories, but you ought to appreciate the classics.

message 28: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Alexandra | 16 comments I didn't like "Catcher", had to read it for school. I have trouble reading books with protagonists I find unlikable. Most likely I just couldn't relate.

I've never read Gatsby, I've just seen the movie. No desire to read it after that.

I did have a beef with the required reading in school. I was a verocious reader, would read nearly anything - and I hated nearly ever book I was required to read for school. There were only a couple I found tolerable, none I loved or enjoyed. Although I wasn't required to read "To Kill A Mockingbird" in school - if I had that would have been an exception.

It was hard enough for someone like me who habitually read for pleasure anyway. For kids who already hated to read and didn't unless forced I think the books selected to require merely reinforced their belief that reading was an unlikeable chore. I wish there had been more focus on not just introducing kids to classics, and getting them to think, but also in showing relcutant readers that reading can be enjoyable and pleasurable. That books can be interesting. Perhaps then increasing the possibility that they'd read on their own.

message 29: by Laurel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Laurel sorry, but the teacher can make the classics interesting. i found nearly all the books i read for school wildly interesting.

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." MARK TWAIN.

message 30: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Alexandra | 16 comments Of course it depends on the definition of a "good book". :) No doubt a good teacher could make anything interesting.

Guess I had terrible teachers. The only "classic" among the books I was required to read was "Romeo and Juliet", which I did not hate - although it was difficult going for Junior High kids, even good readers. That was also the only book I was required to read for which there was any discussion from the teacher. Of the rest it was only read and report.

Had to read "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck, horrid. While I know John Steinbeck's fame and recognition, perhaps the choice should have been the "classic" "The Grapes of Wrath" instead. To this day I won't read Steinbeck.

Why "Catcher in the Rye" is even considered a "classic" is beyond me. Or so widely used as required reading for that matter. Certianly didn't strike me as great literature. (Of course many "classics" today are merely widely popular novels of the past).

There are many good books out there that are great to use in the classroom that are actually interesting. "The Diary of Anne Frank", and "To Kill A Mockingbird" come to mind. And I know they are used - but these are books I read on my own.

It's great to broaden students horizons, and get them to read literature - that perhaps they wouldn't read otherwise. However I also think attention also should be paid to teaching reluctant readers that books can be interesting, something enjoyable and not just a chore. Many of my fellow students left school still firmly believing reading was like taking foul medicine. It would have been a great service, IMO, if many of them had learned in school reasons to read by choice themselves. If given the gift of appreciating books.

Often when I tried to explain that books can be fun, teach about things they find interesting, etc. I get reactions like I'm a crazy person. It's very sad.

Of course that's just my opinion :)

message 31: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments People can be put into two groups...

Those who like to read and those who don't. There is really nothing that can be done to change this. I think the love of reading is determined by a recessive gene or something.

For example, I came out of the womb with a craving for reading the written word. When I was four years old I begged my mother, "when will I ever be old enough to go to school so I can learn to read?????" My first word was exit, in kindergarten, and by the time I was in first grade I was devouring anything I could get my hands on. I knew all about "Mole," "Rat", "Badger" and all the characters from "Wind in the Willows." "Betsy" and "Star" were like sisters to me. (Yay for Carolyn Haywood!)

Did it make a difference that my mom was reading to us? I don't think so. She was reading books like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to us when I was seven or eight. But my sister doesn't have the passion for reading that I have. Incidently, she doesn't have an obsessive need to keep her house meticulously clean either.

My older daughter does not like to read. She would read in school if forced. It hurt my heart but there was nothing, nothing, nothing I could do about it.

I quoted lines from "Little Town on the Prarie" to myself while riding the bus home from 3rd grade. (Maybe I'm a little obsessive, you think?) My daughter, on the other hand, was more interested in shopping or playing with her friends than reading. Imagine that...

She seems to be well-rounded even though she does not love to read. (a tear slowly falls from my eye.) And I love her anyway, despite this flaw in her nature.

message 32: by Misty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Misty I know this is supposed to be a thread for loathing, but I couldn't help but respond to you, Diana! My passion is literacy, and I guess I'm still idealistic enough to believe that it only takes the right book! I'm sure you tried to help your daughter adore books as we do. I always think that the right book is out there, somewhere, that will change a child's life.

Reading is just plain hard for some people. I have a 37 year old aunt who hates, hates, hates to read. We finally had a discussion about it, and she explained to me what it feels like to have to plow through the words, start over when comprehension is lost, and then continue reading, only to have to start over again. Frustrating, I'm sure. I've told her that practice will help just as it does with any other task/chore/hobby. She said she isn't interested enough to work that hard. Hearbreaking, huh?

message 33: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) My husband isn't a big reader. I hope our kids take after me.

He really likes Harry Potter, though. One thing that helped him was to listen to the books on tape while reading along. He really liked that.

message 34: by Dianna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Dianna | 55 comments Misty, I think we are all here because we have a passion for reading. (Well except those who are looking for a mate on the internet or I don't know how to say this without sounding harsh and antagonistic but you come across to me as saying that if someone doesn't love reading they are illiterate. That is just not the case. Maybe I am misunderstanding you.

Neither my first husband nor my current husband like reading all that much. They are certainly capable of reading but they would just rather do other things. My current husband loves to listen to books on tape--while he is doing other things. He is definitely a kinesthetic rather than a visual learner. That makes a big difference. I think it's great that they make books on tape.

I was sort of speaking tongue-in-cheek about the passion for reading being in the genes but I wouldn't be surprised if there is a genetic marker for visual learning and with the right circumstances that might produce a passion for reading that can't be produced in those who do not have the genetic charicteristic...who knows.

I do know that there are many well-adjusted and happy people in the world who do not share my passion for reading and for me to hold myself up as better than them would be unfair. Looking back on my childhood, I have come to realize that it might have been nice if I would have played outside with my sister more often or had a few more friends outside of books...

message 35: by Misty (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Misty Dianna,
No offense taken :) and I had to think about what you said. I guess I was leaning more toward "reading for pleasure" than "reading for information." I know that not reading doesn't mean one is illiterate and one can get pleasure from listening (and I would never hold myself up as better than someone who doesn't read). I meant that there is so much to be gained from reading - reflection, connections, information, and the list goes on.

Harold Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences proves your point that people learn in different ways. That's the fun part of being a teacher. Learners learn in different ways, and it is interesting to get information to them in different ways and allow them to show their learning in different ways.

Now about playing outside...why bother when my books took me anywhere (and the characters were usually more interesting!). Besides, the pollen always made me sneeze.

message 36: by Andrea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Andrea (outlanderbookfan) | 10 comments I loved Gatsby and didn't really care about Catcher. I should probably read Catcher again because at the time I read it (high school), it did nothing for me. Has anyone re-read it and still not cared about it?

message 37: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Lisa Ponti | 12 comments Personally I loved Gatsby. It was required reading but I enjoyed it a lot. Catcher in the Rye was required reading in some English classes where I went to high school but not all, including mine. I've never read it and never had a desire to, alhtough I have gone back and reread some "required reading" that I may have used Cliff notes for the first time.

message 38: by Anne (new)

Anne The Catcher in the Rye..pointless. It just gives teenagers more reason to complain about their hormonally-imbalanced world. And all this talk about serial killers loving was ONE killer. That guy who killed John Lennon. People get so hyped up about stuff, and all of a sudden this book makes you want to kill people. Honestly!

message 39: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments I appreciate The Great Gatsby. I appreciate the mood it is able to set, the simple poetry of its language, and the symbolism. I appreciate it as literature, but I confess I don't much "like" it as a book. I simply don't like those kinds of "empty", aching wasteland type books - and that's probably why I don't like a lot of 20th century literature.

I didn't much care for "The Catcher in the Rye." No problem reading I give it credit for not being boring, but I couldn't care about the self-important, immature hero.

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