Social Question

PacificToast's avatar

Why do schools make you read boring books?

Asked by PacificToast (1605points) February 17th, 2010

Why do schools make you read such boring books? They all center around racism and prejudice. Is anyone else sick of this? Or am I just not old enough to appreciate such literature?

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37 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

What books are you talking about?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Schools require you to read these books so you begin to build an appreciation for such literature. Give it some time, and you’ll probably come to really enjoy them.

Pseudonym's avatar


Schools don’t try and make children read “boring books.” The point of school reading is to make sure that you get something out of every book that you read. A child wouldn’t learn much if they read books about spies or criminals in English class. But by reading about racism and prejudice, you understand what they were like, and why they are wrong. By doing this, they are both teaching you history and good morals.

Val123's avatar

I found some of the best treasures in books I thought would be boring to read, but I had to read them. Shakespeare (which I would never have picked up on my own) The Odessy (ditto). Try to find the pearls and the beauty in the book. You’ll be a better person for it.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I hate to admit it, but I found those books to be boring as well (some examples I can remember from high school are “Invisible Man” and “Native Son”). They just didn’t engage me. It was more the style or writing than the subject matter though… For example, I liked “Their Eyes Were Watching God” which is also about racism and prejudice, but is more narrative than the previous two I mentioned. Try finding books that engage you outside of school, and see if you can do projects where you can choose your own book.

mzehnich's avatar

Of Mice and Men is awesome.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The skills of interpretation and analysis of these texts are what they are aiming to teach.

By using texts rich in complex components they are helping you develop your ability to focus and use your brain to gain understanding and explore the literary landscape of our culture.

These materials are new to your and present challenges not found in more entertaining texts.

As your experience and skills grow you might be amazed at what books you will find that you enjoy in the future.

davidbetterman's avatar

There are no boring books, only boring students….

Nullo's avatar

Social engineering, in the case of the novels (textbooks get more of a pass, though those too may be engagingly written). Ask if you can read something more classic instead.
For instance, I asked my American Lit prof if I could read something other than The Bluest Eye, since so much of it is horrid. He assigned The Scarlet Letter instead, probably hoping that I would see the foolishness of my prudishness. Little did he know… * evil chuckle*

davidbetterman's avatar

The Scarlet letter is a wonderful read!

JLeslie's avatar

I hated reading books I was not interested in, still do. But, some books in school I thought I would dislike, but wound up appreciating them once we discussed them in class. In teh beginning I hated Shakespeare, and wound up loving it. It is almost impossible to choose books that everyone in the class will like, so sometimes you might hate the book, but someone else might like it.

Now, you said it is all about racism and prejudice; is this in English class? Does it have something to do with February being Black history month, and next month you will move on to other materials?

HungryGuy's avatar

Because they want you to think reading is an unpleasant chore to be forgotten when you finish school. If they made you read interesting books, you’d want to continue reading and learning through your adult life. Despite all the rhetorc about education, the last thing the political/corporate elite want is an educated public.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@Nullo Oh god, I read that book (The Bluest eye), and I thought the same.
There are so much better books on racism/prejudice like Night or To Kill a Mocking Bird.

DominicX's avatar


Completely depends on the person. I found most of the reading I did for school interesting and I read as much as I can nowadays. Trust me, we didn’t read any differently than most schools across the country. Pride and Prejudice, Invisible Man, Maltese Falcon, Count of Monte Cristo, much Shakespeare, Great Expectations, Brave New World, Catcher in the Rye, James Joyce, etc.

Boring is completely in the eye of the beholder.

I want my [unfinished] book Abbadon to be required reading some day: demons, ghosts, murder, homoerotica. It’s an orgy of intrigue. :)

wenn's avatar

The most memorably boring book I’ve read was My Antonia. Was, for me personally, probably the dullest book I have ever read or ever will read.

DominicX's avatar

@wenn We read that in 9th grade. It was quite boring. :P

wenn's avatar

@DominicX We read it senior year and had weekly discussions…..during which, I was mentally checked out.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

The only book I recall being droll business was, “Silas Marner”. I hope kids aren’t made to read that anymore.

ChaosCross's avatar

Because they think boring books are the best kind of course

Trance24's avatar

For starters it is only your opinion that is saying these books are boring, other might very well like these books. People have different tastes and preferences. The books that schools choose are books that cover topics that are important for growth of the mind. As much as I love mystery and science fiction books, I would never have learned anything of real value from them. Besides not all books in school are about racism and prejudice, some offer other helpful pieces of knowledge. Give these books a chance you would be surprised at some of the books that you pick up, and remember don’t judge a book by its cover or its title for that matter.

Factotum's avatar

Because they are ‘good for you’. Nothing like a high-fiber anti-racism screed to stop racism in its tracks!

Personally I think we do a disservice to children by speaking out so much against racism that they become bored. Newsflash: schoolchildren are, to a child, negatively disposed towards racism. Making them read creaky old books to broaden their minds does anything but.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Because many great works of art come out of adversity. And because you’re thinking and talking about ideas beyond video games, movies and pop fiction.

Cruiser's avatar

To teach you to appreciate the concept of boredom! So after 8–10 years of boring books you will be so familiar with being bored that you will never ever utter the words “I’m Bored” ever again! You will know better to ever say that as nothing will ever seem boring to you again. You will go skipping through life loving every minute of your great uncles Nursing home talent shows, you will get excited at the mere mention of public TV telethons, Vacations without TV or internet access will be a dream come true for you. Now quit the griping and get back to reading!!

skfinkel's avatar

It’s you. Not the books. Work at it. You might learn something you can’t even anticipate.

Nullo's avatar

Pity nobody ever suggests Star Wars novels; a lot of those are at once well-written AND anvilicious.

Jeruba's avatar

Odd, @hungryhungryhortence, I would have called it anything but droll.

It’s a real shame that school ruins the reading of a book like Silas Marner and so many others. That is a moving story about love, loss, longing, betrayal, and the reaches of the human heart—subjects that are as close to young people as they have ever been. But there is no book, no matter how innately fascinating, that can’t be killed by having to write chapter summaries. Just wait until someone starts teaching Harry Potter (or Twilight?) in school and see how fast kids start declaring they hate it, while their elders—you—wistfully insist that it really is a great read.

bea2345's avatar

Do like I did. I always read my textbooks before school – that is to say, the novels. They were a lot more interesting that way.

Adagio's avatar

@wenn I adored My Antonia, I read it as an adult, in many ways not a lot happens but it is so beautifully written,so beautifully written, horses for courses I guess ;)

wenn's avatar

@Adagio just didnt do anything for me, nothin against it, just for me…boring

I did just finish reading The Metamorphosis, I liked it, not a whole lot happens throughout, but it’s such an odd story that it I just really enjoyed it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have already read everything I could get my hands on and I never found any book boring.

Val123's avatar

@DominicX I just read Catcher in the Rye….why it would be considered a classic is beyond me. May it was for it’s day, in the early 50’s, but there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the character’s behavior, at least in comparison to today’s world… What did you think of it? What did I miss?

Nullo's avatar

Might help: my favorite part of the whole entire thing was the bit where the narrator said that he wanted to be what he called the Catcher in the Rye – the one who keeps kids from growing up too fast. Other than that, the book sucked.

Val123's avatar

@Nullo It didn’t exactly suck. I’ve read worse, but….I got the impression that we were supposed to be shocked at the kid’s behavior. But his behavior was so normal. So lost-teenager normal, and not all that aberrant, at least compared to today’s kids. IMO. I kept expecting him to lose it and stab somebody or something. B in the end, he just got locked up for dropping out of school. I guess. I don’t know why he got locked up!

mattbrowne's avatar

Learning to endure a certain amount of boredom is part of growing up.

Jeruba's avatar

…as is learning to survive without constantly needing to be entertained.

Nullo's avatar

I dunno; there’s not being entertained, and then there’s The Great Gatsby, a crime unto nature.

thriftymaid's avatar

The expand your mind. Go ahead and read them.

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