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Are there other "awful" works we're glad we've read?
I also hated Robert Segal's Myth: a Very Short Introduction – dense & dry – but I learned a great deal from it.
Then there's David Berlinski's A Tour of the Calculus. There's great stuff to be found, but it's nestled among bushels of the. worst. kind of bad florid prose. I actually feel embarrassed for the guy when I hit those parts. I don't quite know if I'm glad to have read it, though: I'm certainly glad to have learned what I did, but do I appreciate getting it from that book?...I'm not sure. I guess I'll take a cue from Moe the Bartender and say I am glad to have read it in that I don't resent having spent time reading it.
Do you perversely desire stereotypical characters with absolutely no depth? Have you ever wanted to read sex scenes concocted by desperate virgins with utterly no knowledge of human erogynous zones who substitute with the usual crude euphemisms? Are you hankering for that lovely if-this-goes-on-any-longer-I'll-stick-a-fork-in-my-own-eye feeling you get from too many spelling and grammatical errors from people that you really feel should know better?
If so, visit any Harry Potter fanfiction site near you. I say this as one who loves her fanfiction and her fandom, but believe me...there's an ugly side to it. Very, very ugly. I mention this because honest to God, no book I have ever read can compare to what I have seen in that one fanon alone.
I appreciate a little brevity now and then.
I kinda like Henry-Look-How-Much-Flowery-Prose-I-Can-Write James, but it's fun to make fun of him.
And this one might horrify some people, but I'm also going to nominate The Holy Bible*. My family is super-religious, so I had to read large swaths of the thing as a child, and let me tell you, all that begetting got really tedious. Anyway, fast forward to college and adulthood. Only then did I begin to realize how common biblical allusions are, in literature, movies, even tv. So while I didn't enjoy hearing about ancient peoples slaughtering each other then begetting like bunnies,** I'm definitely glad I was forced to obtain that knowledge.
*Had to add the Holy or the touchstone went to The Cake Bible. Bwahaha! Now I think it just doesn't work.
**Sorry if I offended anyone with my off-handed dismissal here- yes, I agree, there's a lot more to the Bible than slaughter and begetting, and good chunks of it are quite beautiful. Bigger chunks are about slaughter and begetting, though, at least in the OT, and that was funnier to write.
After college, when I started reading other poets from the time, learned about his life and the time period, and discovered his watercolors, I started falling in love with him. I started with some of the oldies-The Tyger, etc., and worked my way up to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, then used him as a foray into Milton because of how much I loved his artwork for Paradise Lost.
If the name hadn't sounded so familiar from all the bad poetry I tried to block out from highschool, I never would have spent so much time looking at his art and learning to appreciate him so much. So-short answer, Songs of Innocence is the best worst book I ever had to read.
The story itself was fascinating; however the comparisons to Dickens were exaggerated and, in my opinion, kind of insulting to Dickens.
Bah. I resented reading every page.