I think quote is referring to fiction books, not to biology, science or history books
The books we read at school were nearly all terrible except for maybe the ones we read in the first few years (children’s books).
Here's a list:
Woyzeck by Büchner: It's a very important drama, and way ahead of it's time. Maybe if I read it now I would understand it, but when I read it I had no idea whatsoever what it was all about. I really think the teacher should have told us that first and done all the analysis of it first before letting us read it
. It was impossible for me to understand it, because I had no idea what the historical/political background was and who the author was. Maybe some of you do, then you'd be able to enjoy it. What I hated especially about it was one thing though, that doesn't really have anything much to do with the book. My teacher wanted to prove to us that you can only interpret a book in one way (his way) and every other interpretation is wrong. The thing was that that happened to be the case with this book, as its message was the same as his political flyer 'Der Hessische Landbote' in which Büchner calls to the people to revolt against the rich.
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane: a waste of time reading about poor Effi's life. The book was so boring and full of stupid little symbolism you couldn't possibly understand without a teacher. My teacher thought it was a timeless book, but I heavily disagree there, it's a portrait of the society the book was written in, not timeless.
Tod in Venedig (death in Venice?) by Thomas Mann: argh... the language! Help! It was so bad that after reading the first chapter I confused a bystander the main character was remarking on with the main character. It was utterly confusing and I don't think there was a sentence in the book shorter than one page. In English you might be able to understand it, but in German... it was like: Die Zeit lief.....(ten thousand lines later)... ab.
What is that 'ab' doing there??!?
I know it was actually making fun of books written in that style, but as people don't tend to do that anymore and Thomas Mann doesn't actually suggest how to do it better in that books I think it is quite possible to go through life not having read this book. (I never finished reading it. I read the first half and understood nothing, skipped through the rest and understood everything that followed. It's unreadable).
Ok, there are more books, but right now I'd like to have some breakfast