Here’s a comment I posted in a Metafilter on bad books today:
Schools should never assign books for class reading. It’s a sweeping statement, but the agony treated upon students must be stopped. I remember reading ‘A Passage To India’ at school; it was the dullest thing I’d ever laid eyes upon. Maybe it’s a good book – I don’t know. But after having been forced to read it over a period of two months (as opposed to the usual two days in which I read books) and write essays on symbolism and significance of characters in the book, I was fully prepared to travel back in time and chop off EM Forster’s hands. Having to read books in school sucks all the fun out of it.
I find it absolutely absurd that we were supposed to read books according to a timetable. Like many other readers, it’s just not physically possible for me to read a book that slowly, so I ended up reading assigned books in a day or so. It’s not as if I disliked all the books we had to read; I quite enjoyed ‘The Crucible’. I didn’t, however, enjoy having to write essays on it and (essentially) being forced to fill the entire book’s margins with notes about the significance and imagery of particular sections for use in the exam.