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Old 02-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #46
CazMar
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It left a strong impression on me (Tale of Two Cities that is). An impression of wanting to run a drill through my eyeballs before ever trying to read another Dickens novel .
I think you either love Dickens or hate him! Die-hard Dickens fans will no doubt be shocked by your comments but it is interesting to get another opinion from "the dark side" (ie - the Dickens haters!). Myself, well I've read just about everything he wrote and mostly I love him, but he has his faults as a writer. Mostly I admire the way he brought about the social changes in Victorian England, not by revolution but by writing about the poor and disadvantaged and bringing many of the evils of his time (debtors prisons, child exploitation) to public attention.

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Old 02-09-2012, 03:30 PM   #47
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I wouldn't call myself a Dickens "lover," though I certainly don't hate him.

What I find disheartening is so many people I'm exposed to who declare they hate this or that "classic" book because their only encounter with it was being assigned (i.e. forced) to read it in school.

What is it about so many schools that seem to do the opposite of what they intend---instill a love of reading and literature?

To the "haters" out there who had that type of bad school experience, give Dickens and those other classics another try on your own time. You may be surprised how enjoyable they are when the onus of being forced to read them is off.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:56 PM   #48
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I wouldn't call myself a Dickens "lover," though I certainly don't hate him.

What I find disheartening is so many people I'm exposed to who declare they hate this or that "classic" book because their only encounter with it was being assigned (i.e. forced) to read it in school.

What is it about so many schools that seem to do the opposite of what they intend---instill a love of reading and literature?

To the "haters" out there who had that type of bad school experience, give Dickens and those other classics another try on your own time. You may be surprised how enjoyable they are when the onus of being forced to read them is off.
Well stated. I think people often confuse the negative experience of being forced to read any book in class (in high school say) with there being something terrible about the book. I can still recall the experience of assigned reading back then and would say it is a wonder that it did not kill my love of reading. The slow pace of getting through the book as scheduled, the need to read every word with an eye to the coming assignment to analyze the book, being force to stand in front of class and deliver a report. It is a wonder that I did not come away hating Dickens, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and many other authors that I grew to love when I was reading by choice.

Confession of a Dickens fanatic.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:53 PM   #49
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It is a wonder that I did not come away hating Dickens, Hemingway, Steinbeck, and many other authors that I grew to love when I was reading by choice.
Nothing's changed for me. The authors I hated in school are still hated today (Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald). And the ones I liked in school are still liked today (Verne, Poe, Dickens, Wells).
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:28 PM   #50
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Nothing's changed for me. The authors I hated in school are still hated today (Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald). And the ones I liked in school are still liked today (Verne, Poe, Dickens, Wells).
I have to agree with this. And it's not like I never have looked at some of them again, but the same things I hated about them then, I still don't like. And to be honest, there were definitely things that I was "forced" to read back then that I really ultimately ended up really liking.

And I personally guarantee that one thing that will never happen is I will never consider reading "Their Eyes Were Watching God" again, even if it would save my life. I'd rather die. To this day it remains the book that I've hated most in my life. The way it's written I just plain couldn't read it.

Now, I have to admit, AP Lit back in high school wasn't really my best subject. Especially when it came to poetry, I just never could find the deeper meaning behind poems that all my teachers insisted was there. I mean, I'm sorry, but I just can't find a deep meaning behind "Death of a ball turret gunner".

I also guess I figure there's plenty out there for me to read, so I feel no real reason to go and subject myself to stuff I never liked in the first place.

(Now, that said, even though I don't particularly like Dickens, it obviously didn't stop me from sticking my nose in here to see what they came up with for their list. I was genuinely curious how that was going to turn out.)
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:35 AM   #51
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I’ve always been an avid reader, but came out of high school with a profound dislike for nearly every book and author I had been ‘forced’ to read for class. Years later, out of curiosity, I made a list of all those books/authors and started working my way back through them to make sure I’d been fair.

I was surprised to find I liked many of my old demons: Dickens, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Conrad, most of the British Romantic poets, a lot of the Modern poets - the list goes on - even Cry, The Beloved Country (which, at 16, I was convinced was the most wretched book ever inflicted on anyone).

I’m still not a fan of Thomas Hardy or Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I doubt I’ll ever finish Moby Dick, but I DID give them another try.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:59 PM   #52
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I wonder if A Christmas Carol will be in the top 4? Nicholas Nickleby? David Copperfield is one of my personal favorites. It surely has to be on that list.
I was thinking the same thing. "A Christmas Carol" has to be his best known book hands down.
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:37 AM   #53
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Now, I have to admit, AP Lit back in high school wasn't really my best subject. Especially when it came to poetry, I just never could find the deeper meaning behind poems that all my teachers insisted was there. I mean, I'm sorry, but I just can't find a deep meaning behind "Death of a ball turret gunner"
You know, chemicals are the key to understanding. A sugar cube here, a brownie there; and suddenly the veil is lifted
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