So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting the 30 Day Book Challenge. Each day for 30 days I'll be answering one question about books.
Day Two: Your least favorite book of all time
I would say that it's Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, but I didn't finish that one. I'd also say The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but I SparkNoted most of it. (NOTE: I have only done this TWICE in the history of the universe.) So, instead, I'm going to say it's Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov. My review of it is here but in general terms I found it boring, tedious, and mildly pretentious. I didn't really like the characters and the plot was thin. I forced myself to finish it only because it was one of my scheduled books.
I do, however, have a very funny Tess of the D'Urbervilles story. I had to read it in a group for my AP English class in high school. I don't remember if it was 11th grade or 12th grade, but there were five of us in the group and none of us were all that impressed with it. Every class we were expected to have read up to a certain point and our teacher--who is sincerely one of the greatest educators I've ever had the pleasure to meet--would walk around the room to the different groups while we were discussing our current read and engage us in a short conversation just to see how we were progressing (a.k.a. she wanted to see if we'd actually read the damn book).
One day in class my group and I were discussing a certain portion of the novel and our teacher came over and started to ask us what we thought about the part with the chandelier crashing down. I hadn't read past the first half of the book and was freaking out because I figured she would know I'd been slacking if I didn't go along with what everyone else was saying. So, I nodded along with the rest of my group members while they "oohed" and "aahed" about how powerful that scene was and about the deep symbolism it held for the novel as a whole. She seemed satisfied but she didn't say anything and once she was out of earshot I planned to ask the other members what she had been on about. Turns out that four out of five of us hadn't read it because at the same time we all said, "Was there really a chandelier in this part or was she just testing us?" The one member of our group who had read it was like, "Yeah, guys there's really a chandelier." For a moment there I thought that maybe she'd purposely thrown in some Phantom of the Opera for good measure just to see if we'd really been reading.
And that, kids, is why you do your homework.