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But I don’t wanna!

Written by Kirsten on October 16th, 2009

I’m trying. I really am. I know my professor wouldn’t have chosen this book if she didn’t feel that it qualified as “literature” and conveyed something of vital importance to our understanding of queer culture.

But I kinda wanna gouge out my eyes with a grapefruit spoon rather than read it.

What do you do with a book you *have* to read, but really, truly dislike? Do you try to get it over with and sit through it all at once? Put it off and read a bit at a time to try and make the whole more palatable? Skim like crazy and hope you’ve gotten enough of the gist for whatever obligates you to read it?


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Well, luckily these days the closest I come to *having* to read a book are my Early Reviewers at LT. I’ve had two that were too horrible to finish, in which case I read 50 pages and then posted reviews saying that I couldn’t finish it and stating the reasons why (horrible plot, bad writing, unbelievable situations, etc.) When I was in school I’d usually just pay attention in class and fake it if called on!

  2. Kirsten says:

    That’s been my plan of attack with ER books, too; I’ve gotten some real stinkers, haha… And while I think other professors in larger classes might not be able to pick up on the fact that I’d not read the selection, this one seems to like asking just the sorts of questions that’ll call you out if you slacked ;)

  3. Shanra says:

    It… depends entirely on the book. (Yes, I know how helpful I’m being.) In the course of my school career, I’ve only ever abandoned two assigned books (or three if you count Henry James which I do intend to finish, actually) and they were every bit as awful as yours sounds. Bonus, though, I could find enough information on the books online (well, one was a Dickens novel, so that’s a given) and just faked my way through.

    Those two I just count not finish. James Joyce, on the other hand, I picked up again several weeks later and that was fine. I still don’t like the book, but I could read it all without wanting to jump off high buildings. Mostly, though, I’ve usually tried to force myself to read them all in one go. This (school)year, I’m experimenting with rewarding myself for each 100+ pages I read by letting me read a few chapters from something entirely different. But that, of course, only works when you have enough time. (And it’s a dysmal failure anyway. I read one book on the journey to uni and another on the journey back. That might amount to the same thing, but it wasn’t The Plan.)

  4. Shanra says:

    Oooh, yes, one thing that might help – talk to your tutor/professor about the book. They might be able to give you some hint on how to best tackle it or give you that push towards reading it. I’m pretty certain that I’d have liked “A Portrait” far, far better if I’d had the class on Joyce before reading the book.

  5. Kirsten says:

    Haha, I promise I’m not soliciting responses solely for the purpose of finding a way to cure all my reading ills; I’m just a curious kid ;)
    I like the idea of your reward system – I’ve done something similar, but didn’t really give it structure, I just read my alternative when I couldn’t force one more page. Maybe if I set a goal like that, I won’t get to that point of desperation!

    And I agree; having some discussion about a book beforehand helps give it some perspective, and since we had our midterm in our last session, we didn’t get the usual preamble. It’s too bad!

  6. Shanra says:

    One of the books I tried to read in secondary school. I’m pretty sure the teacher took pity on me. He was all primed to talk about it and then I vehemently exclaimed how much I hated the book and why. And then we changed the subject. ^-^

    For me, the reward system only works if I make myself stick to it. I spent the past few days reading Naomi Novik’s “Throne of Jade” rather than the books I was supposed to be reading. (But I got three pages further in my “Arthurian Romances” today! I’d have got further, but it’s exam/test week for the kids, so our ‘break’ between quizzing students consists of finding your next student to quiz and getting their attention.)

    Aww! We always go into class having had to read the book already. I much prefer the idea of having the class first. (Even if I’d still read the books prior to class.)

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