"As I Lay Dieing" I had to read it in High School.
My brother would agree with you. "As I Lay Dying" put him off Faulkner forever. (I read "Absalom, Absalom" in college and don't remember it being that bad.)
I'm trying to think of a book I just HATED/could not finish, and I'm coming up with nothing, because I think I just don't pick up books that I'm going to LOATHE (like I am not even bothering with "Fifty Shades" as if I want Twilight porn, which is literally what it is with the names changed, I know where AdultFanfiction.net is located. Likewise, I'm not reading anything by Cassandra Clair....)
Oh, right, FLeventer reminded me... "L'Etranger"/"The Stranger" in French class. Honestly, it's hard to get into a book when all you're really thinking is "Wow, this protagonist is an ASS and not the equine kind, why can't he just die sooner so it's a shorter book?"
Another vote for Bridges of Madison County. A friend and I used to take turns reading the bad parts aloud and laughing. i used to have a big crush on the guy I had borrowed it from, but after seeing that he had underlined parts of it, I lost respect for him.
I also hated Lady Chatterly's Lover and Secret Life of Bees. Could not get through Life of Pi, and now I can't wait to not see the movie.
A helmet saved my life.
2012 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!
I finally thought of the name of this one. Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle. I was supposed to read it for a college course, but I JUST COULDN'T. I literally couldn't get beyond two pages without falling asleep. I never did read it, totally blew the final exam questions that referred to it, but, luckily, managed to pass the course anyways. For years afterwards I kept that book by my bedside, and tried to read it every time I couldn't fall asleep. It worked every time, sound asleep within two or three pages. I still have no idea what it is about.
I agree with so many of these (and I have an English degree too): Middlemarch, War and Peace; I tried so hard to make it through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (I have it in one volume) but after forcing myself through 900 pages I still couldn't force myself to finish it.
I do love Austen, Hemmingway, and Shakespeare.
But above all things, even to the point where I can't stomach the family friendly movies made about it, is Gulliver's Travels. We spent a whole semester on it in Freshman English and all I can say is thank God for Cliffs Notes. I've never hated a book that much ever. BTW, my freshman year of college was 25 years ago and I still hate it that much.
Rhythm the perfect OTTB;Spock the will-be perfect OTTB;Mia the Arab/appendix COTH giveaway
I was an English major, too, and have read my share of books that I hated. Since graduating, I have to say Stephen King's "The Long Walk" has to be one of the most depressing. I generally like King's books and I HATE not finishing a book. I finished this one but it was pushing it.
100 years of solitude. LONGEST. BOOK. EVER. So hard to get through, and I think because it was translated into English that made it worse. I had to read it for a class and I was ready to spork my brain out through my nose.
I also read only the synopses to "The Hunger Games" series, and I could barely get through those, I couldn't imagine reading the books. The whole premise just ooged me out, and I don't get why everyone raves about them. Not really my cup of tea I guess. My mom tried reading the first book, and couldn't get through it. She and my dad went to watch the movie, and they hated the movie too.
I had to read Moby Dick FOUR TIMES in college/MA. I couldn't stomach four times through the waling vessel descriptions. Ugh. I appreciate it, and I actually liked it better the last time, but still....
I recently read several badly written memoirs. Not many good ones around.
I finally read Heart of Darkness and liked it when I was working on a PhD (tried earlier and failed). Similarly, I tried to read Life of Pi, and couldn't get past the second chapter--but recently I listened to it while on a long road trip, and it's amazing when it's read TO you.
My spouse and I read to each other, and she's a Joyce scholar...so last year, she read every friggin' word of Ulysses. Ugh.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. I had to force myself to finish it, and I am a voracious reader. I would just tell the patient to hurry up and die already! Many years later, I picked up a different Ondaatje novel to give him a second chance, because how could it possibly be as bad? Silly me...I hated that one too. I must be a glutton for punishment because I'm pretty sure I tried a third one, and with that I finally gave up on him completely.
The Sound and the Fury. Maybe if I had read the Coles Notes before starting, I wouldn't have hated it so much. There were three characters with the same name - 2 male and 1 female plus the time bounced all over the place with no context so you couldn't keep the story straight at all. I nicknamed it "The Sound of MY Fury".
I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenence. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to read that book and have never finished it. My beloved high school lit teacher adored that book and had us read it if we wanted to. I tried a couple of times ad couldn't finish it. She passed away a few years after I graduated and I tried again nada. Every couple of years I pick it up, but I. Just. Can't. Finish. It.