Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 230949 times)

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Yarnspinner

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2025 on: April 28, 2014, 07:56:40 PM »
For a really skewed take on "Wuthering Heights" look for a book called "Heroines."  The mother of the main character runs an inn in the middle of (I think) Nebraska, circa the 1970s or 80s.    Usually, they have regular, normal tourist-y type guests.   But every now and then a young women will show up : Scarlett O'Hara...or Frannie (with whom the very young heroine spends a lot of time)...or, yes, Catherine.  And Heathcliff himself comes looking for Catherine.  Our young heroine falls for him and ends up in an insane asylum  (which is a BIG fault of this book as it could NOT decide if it wanted to be a whimsical magical realism tale or, deity help us, "I Am The Cheese".   Eventually, she makes her way home and discovers that Healthcliff SPOILER is totally evil and a jerk and a r@pist and also her father.END SPOILER   

I really was loving the story right up until the mother tried to deny the fact that these heroines of literature just  walked  out of the walls from time to time and put her daughter in the "home" to keep her out of harm's way.  From that point it went from light and fluffy fun to over the top angst.  Which is a big peeve with me about some books that just can't find their tone.  Still, it wa a very interesting take of the Heathcliff/Cathy thing.

This does not stop me from thinking Emily B's sister wrote the most romantic gothic of all time....despite Rochester being just a more civilized version of Heathcliff...

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2026 on: April 28, 2014, 08:34:47 PM »
Yeah the message of Romeo & Juliet is widely debated in literary circles. I don't think anyone has the "right" answer.

Reminds me of an English teacher who would tell us we were wrong if our interpretation of a poem or song was not what the author intended as the meaning behind it.

Makes me wonder how he knew for sure, especially as this was in the days before Google.  One of the songs he had us analyze was "The Rose".  I recall saying it was meant to be encouragement to one who had been badly hurt by love in the past, telling them they did have the ability to love if they found the right person, something like that.

Teacher said "nope, it's meant to be taken as a seduction, trying to lure a person into bed by convincing them they can love."

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2027 on: April 28, 2014, 10:42:25 PM »
That teacher needs to be acquainted with Death of the Author...

DH tells me this story of Ray Bradbury visiting a university and being told by some students he was wrong about what he said in Farenheit 451.

Luci

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2028 on: April 29, 2014, 09:19:43 AM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

 

Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2029 on: April 29, 2014, 09:42:40 AM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

That reminds me of a story, albeit one I think has been connected to lots of different writers.

A writer finds himself at his old university a good 10-20 years after he graduated, and decided to slip into the back of a lecture for old times sake. He finds himself in a literature lecture, and listens to the teacher analysing a book that they swear is their favourite book because of their deep connection to and understanding of it.

At the end, the writer approaches the teacher and gently tries to suggest that they have misinterpreted the author's original intentions (Death of the author is one thing, but the lecturer was claiming "The writer specifically intended to say this! And only this!")

The lecturer is FURIOUS, tells the writer he's wrong and doesn't know what he's talking about, and who does he think he is anyway?

To which the writer replies "The book's author."

poundcake

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2030 on: April 29, 2014, 10:07:51 AM »
Came across another one today: either quoting poetry incorrectly, or using it incorrectly. Like taking a love poem that's very possessive or satirical, and using it as an example of "romance." Or even incorporating other novels/literature as source material without really understanding it. Like using a novel that is about a dysfunctional relationship as an example of "romance." Understand the source material you're invoking!

Can we please please have some example quotes?

Not the OP, but I know for me I honestly don't understand why people consider "Wuthering Heights" to be so romantic when it strikes me as being incredibly dysfunctional.

Also makes me think of people using "Every Breath You Take" as a song for their first dance. Or "We've Got Tonight".

Anyone who tries to compare themselves to Romeo and Juliet - "So you're 13 and 16 respectively and several people are going to die?"

YES!

And Wuthering Heights is one of the examples I was thinking of. Both Stephenie Meyers and the 50 Shades author use examples of what they obviously think of as highly romantic books -- Wuthering Heights and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, respectively -- to parallel their books' OTPs, but are completely oblivious to the subtexts and most of the texts of those books! I also hate it when people use Emily Dickinson's poetry as "It's so angsty, this sad, lonely girl wandering around, alone and unloved." Dickinson was just the opposite of that, agoraphobia or not. In fact, her self-removal from society can be read as a very active and strong act. I've also seen quotes from Chaucer and from John Donne used as "romantic poetry" examples, and really, an out-of-context line or two from highly satiric and skeptical poets does not = Golly-jeepers! ROMANCE. Ditto Shakespeare.

Song lyrics, too. I'm glad someone mentioned "Every Breath You Take"!

A similar non-romantic example is when contemporary readers ascribe contemporary contexts that did not exist at the time a book was published. I haven't come across this in others' fiction yet, but memoirs and non-fiction reflections of "Little Women" sometimes include what a wonderful Christian family the Marches were. Okay, the book followed Pilgrim's Progress and all that, but it's a mistake to think the Alcott family, or their fictionalized counterparts, the Marches, were like contemporary evangelicals or fundamental Christians. They were more like dirty hippies than anything, eschewing church and religious leaders, worshipping God through nature, fighting for equal rights for women and blacks, etc. Thinking that somehow they exemplify contemporary "family values" schtick is a complete misrepresentation.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 10:17:37 AM by poundcake »

Cherry91

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2031 on: April 29, 2014, 10:38:50 AM »
There's a kind of open mic night at the theatre I'm a member of in a few weeks. The theme is "Love"

When I saw the notice, I turned to my friend and (only half joking) said "I probably shouldn't try to take in Porphyria's Lover, should I?"

(If anyone wants to google it, just be aware it involves murder)

Margo

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2032 on: April 29, 2014, 02:10:41 PM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

I read a short story once (possibly by Asimov) which involved a scientist managing to achieve time travel and bring Shakespeare to the 'present' - Shakespeare takes, and fails, a course on shakespeare's plays.

daen

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2033 on: April 30, 2014, 10:00:59 AM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

I read a short story once (possibly by Asimov) which involved a scientist managing to achieve time travel and bring Shakespeare to the 'present' - Shakespeare takes, and fails, a course on shakespeare's plays.

I think of that story any time someone starts talking about "definitive interpretations."* It's Asimov's "The Immortal Bard."
http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Asimov_TheImmortalBard.html

*Well, that, and a bit in Up the down staircase, where a teacher tells a friend about a fellow student teacher who almost failed because her interpretation of a poem didn't match with the examiners. The student teacher brought in the poet herself to explain that yes, the student teacher's interpretation was exactly what the poet had intended.
The examiners' response was to restrict the selection of poetry-for-interpretation in subsequent years to poets no longer living.  ::)

Mel the Redcap

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2034 on: April 30, 2014, 10:23:48 AM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

*snicker* My high school English teacher was very intent on finding symbolism in everything, including digging (metaphorically) to China in the poems we wrote for class... so one of my friends wrote a poem that she intended to just be silly doggerel. I don't remember all of it, but it included the lines "Bulldozer, bulldozer, how do you doze? / In between the houses, and up and down the rows."

Our teacher went into raptures over its "deep intrinsic meanings". ;D
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Dr. F.

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2035 on: April 30, 2014, 10:38:21 AM »
An aunt was a poet and somehow or another one of her poems was chosen by her neice's English teacher to be interpreted.

We were close to the aunt so knew that the poem was simply about a squirrel who came daily to be fed by the poet and her husband in a safe way. It was just a sweet story about interaction with nature.

The English teacher somehow managed to decide it was really about the handicapped husband and his dealing with the world he was forceed to live in. He was a physics teacher, no mobility issues, actively taking his students to the school field to perform experiments. I don't remember if the family ever corrected the teacher.

Ever since hearing the story, I took whatever was said by teachers and professers with a grain of salt, parroting back their interpretations but doing lots of research if it was something I really cared about - Shaw and Ibsen particularly. I was an English Ed minor.

*snicker* My high school English teacher was very intent on finding symbolism in everything, including digging (metaphorically) to China in the poems we wrote for class... so one of my friends wrote a poem that she intended to just be silly doggerel. I don't remember all of it, but it included the lines "Bulldozer, bulldozer, how do you doze? / In between the houses, and up and down the rows."

Our teacher went into raptures over its "deep intrinsic meanings". ;D

I remember reading an interview with John Lennon who got so fed up with people digging for deep meaning in his lyrics that he wrote something he thought was too silly to be interpreted. It was "I am the walrus." Yeah, didn't work, and apparently drove him *insane*.

VorFemme

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2036 on: April 30, 2014, 12:32:05 PM »
There are people in this world who want to read "deep meanings" into a plain earthenware plate made to sell cheaply - what was the potter thinking?  Probably that he needed to finish a few more to have the kiln FULL for firing.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Nikko-chan

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2037 on: August 11, 2014, 06:57:51 PM »
Another one of my peeves. So I read this cute little magical murder mystery series the other week. In it the one character mentions how her friend accidentally bumped gently into the local preacher with her car. They fell in love, got hitched over time, and had kids. Okay, a weird how we met story. I will grant you that.

Then later in the story the character asks her friend "Your husband still has no idea you ran into him with your car on purpose does he?"

Other character lets out a giggle. "Of course not!"

I just... what? Uhm. That's assault with a vehicle you ninny! And you are using your characters to make people think that might be a good way to get a man. Oh-kay then! And hiding something that big from your husband? Well that marriage is just lookin to fail.

Lynn2000

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2038 on: August 11, 2014, 07:04:48 PM »
I thought of one the other day. I'm sure there's a reason for this, but I get tired of book titles like "The Blue Monkey: A Novel" and "Where the Heart Is: A Novel." I know it's a frickin' novel. It's in the Fiction section (if I'm at the bookstore), it doesn't say "inspired by a true story" anywhere on it, and sometimes it's sci-fi or fantasy so it couldn't possibly not be a novel. It just sounds pretentious to me.

And then there are times when it would be useful to have that, and they don't. There's an author I like who writes both historical fiction and historical non-fiction, and either way the titles are usually just something like "The Lady of Cleves" or "Queen Elizabeth." And the blurbs, even online, make it hard for me to tell if it's fiction or not (not usually at the bookstore). So "The Lady of Cleves: A Novel" would actually be helpful in that case. Except they don't use it then. ::)
~Lynn2000

Reika

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #2039 on: August 11, 2014, 07:22:43 PM »
I started reading a book that started off interesting. The main character might as well have been a grown up Buffy Summers, only she fought demons instead of vampires and she was married to a guy who had no idea about her history. I quickly lost interest when she lied through her teeth almost constantly to her hubby about what she was doing and the fact she fought a demon who agreed to stop the fight when mundanes approached.

To be honest, I'm not sure which irked me the most.