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emelee

Can you truly enjoy a book you've been forced to read?

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Sometimes you can find yourself enjoying books that you are forced to read but not on many occasions in my experience. I refer to academic book which I have to use as part of my research for academic essays in uni, they are extraordinarily dull.

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Sometimes I do think it pushes you to read a book out of your comfort zone, and you could be pleasantly surprised, and that can only be positive.

 

However, there are 2 issues here

 

reading for school/college, you have to read it and have to finish it, you have no choice there :(

 

reading a book that is a reading group/reading circle book where if you don't like it or get on with it, you can give up and move onto something else. :giggle2:

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See, I'm in two minds. I hated most of the books I was forced to read at school for this very reason, I think the main problem was that you couldn't just read the book at your leisure and enjoy it, you had to read at a pace you maybe weren't comfortable with and then had to pour over it in such depth that left you resenting the book and it all gets rather tedious.

 

However if it's a book that's been recommended to you by a friend then generally I think that I enjoy it, I know I don't recommend books to people unless I genuinely feel they'll enjoy it so I'd hope my friends take the same care when the recommend books to me so I often discover real gems. Also being able to read at your own pace and leisure and not having to sit and dissect every passage for weeks after you're finished helps.

 

Emelee, I think your idea of providing a list that students can pick and choose from is a smashing idea, wish my English teachers were this inventive.

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I wouldn't say I was told to read Jane Eyre more talked into it by an old friend. Its just not something I'd ever wanted to read. Anyway I really went at it wanting to hate it but alas no! I loved it and it had me openly crying on a train...

 

As for school I remember thinking its as if they had purposefully gone for the most boring dire book ever and got 30ish copies to torture us with. Or maybe its just the atmosphere of it. We read a Sylvia Plath short story at school I remember hating where as later she became a favourite author. I have my sister, friends and the Manics(!) to thank much more than any teacher or school for my love of literature and poetry. Sad isn't it?

 

Oh I think it's much worse when you've been wanting to read something thinking it will be brilliant for it to be awful and disappointing.

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A year ago I would have said that I hate being told what to do, let alone what to read and the first statement is still true... However, I've discovered that sometimes being obliged to read something you don't necessarily want to, for example for college as I've had to many a time the past year, can be a very interesting experience and I've discovered all sorts of books and genres I never would have thought of reading if it weren't for being forced into it. And yes, I did end up enjoying many of those forced into books, simply because they were new and fresh and unlike what I would have chosen for myself.

Having said that, though, I still don't see myself joining a bookclub... :P

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Books I was “forced” to read at school were: -

 

-The crucible

-Of mice and men

-Walkabout

-Animal farm

-Another one I don’t know what it was called that was about a boy who woke up one day to find everyone had died (I can’t remember why) and he thought he was the sole survivor until he found two others about his age and then the three of them had a strange relationship together

 

All of which I really enjoyed

 

The only one I can remember that I didn’t like was “An Inspector Calls” but even that wasn’t that bad.

 

However if it's a book that's been recommended to you by a friend then generally I think that I enjoy it, I know I don't recommend books to people unless I genuinely feel they'll enjoy it so I'd hope my friends take the same care when the recommend books to me so I often discover real gems. Also being able to read at your own pace and leisure and not having to sit and dissect every passage for weeks after you're finished helps.

 

I have enjoyed all the books that have been recommended to me by family and friends most of which I would never have chosen for myself. I don’t like recommending to other people though in case they don’t like it and then blame me. Having said that I have been passing on all my Jasper Fforde books as soon as I am finishing them to a friend and I think she is enjoying them more than me.

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Let's say for school, or in a reading circle where you are opposed to reading a certain book. Can you enjoy a book someone else has ordered you to read?

 

I am like a 2 year old kid in this respect. I hate having people tell you what you MUST read. Even for school. It becomes a chore. Homework. I might have chosen to read that book on my own at some point, but when someone forces me to read something, I get a negative start which can alter the way I end up feeling about the book.

 

People in nature don’t like to be forced. But if you don’t force some people to read they become negligent, children in school is an example. Myself if I had to read a book then I tried to enjoy it as much as I possible.

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Anything is possible, and since I'm not in school, I'm not forced to read anything. I don't even like joining reading circles/clubs because I don't want to have to read a book by such and such a day. There was one book I can recall that was with some on-line reading circle that everyone had to read. It was "Kite Runner". I did enjoy that, but I can't say I was FORCED. Another book I enjoyed when in school was "Hamlet". But those are far and few.

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This was repeated constantly at school. Put a book in front of me and tell me to read it, I will procrastinate. Let me choose it for myself, I will devour it quickly. I am a fast reader, and I love reading. Jane Austen was one that it was like pulling teeth to get me to read during school, as soon as it wasn't forced, one of my favourite authors.

 

Thanks for this thread, I have wondered before if I was the only one that was like this!

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Let's say for school, or in a reading circle where you are opposed to reading a certain book. Can you enjoy a book someone else has ordered you to read?

 

I am like a 2 year old kid in this respect. I hate having people tell you what you MUST read. Even for school. It becomes a chore. Homework. I might have chosen to read that book on my own at some point, but when someone forces me to read something, I get a negative start which can alter the way I end up feeling about the book.

 

Sure one can, if a book is written on the topic of love....... :friends0:

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I enjoyed most of the books I was told to read at school and college. I always try to read everything with an open mind and still re-read a lot of the books I read at college and secondary school.

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Me too, I enjoyed some of the books which were obligatory at school so much that I actually looked for them years later and bought them. I even read them to my children. I discovered many great books at school and authors whom I still admire to this day. Obligatory reading isn't that bad.

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I have to say that if I am told to do anything I tend to have a shorter attention span, even if I secretly enjoy what it is I end up doing! I think it is the rebel in me! The good thing about books is that after a few chapters, I tend to know whether I'll enjoy the book or not. But if we are talking about someone saying you have to read this from cover to cover, then I would find that hard. There was one book they made us read at school (it was so bad I have blocked it out and can't remember the title) and it was so boring. But I think it was made worse by the fact that after reading a chapter we had to disect the whole thing. That for me takes the whole pleasure out of reasing a book!

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Bit of a hobby horse this for me, as I've always argued that some of the books that they set in English (certainly in Britain anyway) are the kind of books that would engage your average teenager. I was always an avid reader in my teens, but faced with books like To kill a mockingbird, my enthusiasm waned! When I hear other set books like Pride and Predudice, Of mice and men and Lord of the flies I despair. These are all very good (in fact excellent) books, but I know that had I been forced to read them in my teens I would have hated them. Perhaps it was just me, but I certainly needed to mature to a certain point before I could appreciate these books. I beleive that forcing books like these onto our school aged children can put some of them off reading for life.

 

The difficulty of course, is finding books that children enjoy, but still fufill the requirements of an english literature GSCE. I'm afraid that there, in spite of my whinging, I don't have a clue. Perhaps that's the point. We shouldn't be choosing the books, they should.

 

rant over (sorry!)

 

Ian

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At school we were 'forced' to read Joby, a kind of Loving, A kestrel for a Knave, Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men. Gotta say, I loved them all apart from A kind of Loving. As an A-level student I was forced to read Death of a Salesman, Richard the III, The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Wife of Bath, Prologue and Tale. Only the Wife of Bath left me feeling grubby!! Although I've been lent books by enthusiastic friends and reading said books felt like pugatory. :readingtwo:

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I always tried to read them with an open mind, but the only one I can say I enjoyed was Beowulf. I loved it! For me the book that I have to say I loathe because it was forced on me was One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, I blame the supply teacher we had, I think we spent over a week on just the first page! I have found some authors that I would't have read if they hadn't been recommended to me, so I try to see it as recommedations other than forced on me

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We had to read in school Andre Gides La Symphonie Pastorale in French (I went to a french school, despite being an english speaker at home). I had never had trouble with french books before this one; it is really short, but I just couldnt get into it. We used to have tests about each chapter as we went along, which I always failed. Then one day I stumbled across an english transaltion in the public library The Pastoral Symphony, and I finished it off within 2 hours, it was so moving, so beautiful, filled with so much meaning beyond the plot. Since that day, I read all the english transaltions of my school books before we started to ponder them slowly in french. I do feel guilty at not being able to fully appreciate them in thier original language... but this book I was forced to read remains one of the most powerful and inspiration books I have ever read...

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I've been having a new issue with this problem. My boyfriend has been "encouraging" me to read certain books, books that he has enjoyed. When I say encouraging, I really mean nagging. It has stirred up the natural stubbornness within me, so I'm finding myself resistant, even though they are books I would normally enjoy.

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I've tried a few times to force myself to read Relativity by Einstein. Just for me, because I want to understand it. I don't have to be perfect, just understand the basics.

 

They don't joke when they say you need a force of will to read it. I can't say I'm having much luck.

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I'm so picky about my books that if I'm told 'you must read this!' I just may actually shy away from it even more. I don't like being told what books to read, especially since I don't usually have the same tastes as plenty of other people, no matter how much they know me.

 

A school book I had no choice to read and ended up reading at the speed of light was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell; I absolutely adore that book. It is one of the few exceptions to the instinct that if it's been recommended or forced on me I cannot do it.

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Most of the time no. But I had to read The Outsiders and Lord of the Flies for schoo and I enjoyed both of those. Most books I've had to read I didn't.

It does put me off joining a book group too. Not just having to read the book chosen, but I've always got a pile of books waiting to read, and I'd hate the feeling that I had to read the book group one, not one I wanted to read.

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It does put me off joining a book group too. Not just having to read the book chosen, but I've always got a pile of books waiting to read, and I'd hate the feeling that I had to read the book group one, not one I wanted to read.

Ah, but the joys of the book group are that you sometimes end up reading an absolute gem of a novel that you would never have read otherwise, believe me, I know from experience. I found quite a few new authors who I would never have touched had it not been for my reading group. The other thing is, start the book and if you don't like it, don't finish it - you've still got something to discuss with the group, as you can explain why you didn't like it and why you felt you couldn't finish, and you'll probably find someone else felt exactly the same. I find that our group never just talks about the chosen book, but talks about other similar books, prompts for better writers or books on the same subject, or even just veers off topic and talks about other books we're reading an enjoying. It's a treasure trove of ideas, just like this forum!

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I enjoyed almost all of my school book reading list, college book list and uni book list. It helped introduce me to new reading material I wouldn't have come across on my own. I do have two that I absolutely loath Howard's End and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

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I did find it a struggle both and school and university to enjoy a book I was forced to read, most of the time I wouldn't bother to finish it. There was of course a few exceptions and after I am forced to read a book I do find myself going back to the same book at a later date and enjoying it much more. With plays, such as anything by Shakespeare, I think it can be a real struggle being forced to read the text, however going to see the play in the theater makes it much more enjoyable.

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