Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3 Truths About Classic Literature

I felt that it was about time for some transparency on the subject of classic literature. Mark Twain once said that classics are books we praise and don't read, and I'm as guilty as anyone for living up to that truth. I love literature- and being a reader is a huge part of my identity, but I'm not an English major and I'm not an expert. I just love to read, and I love the freedom to choose what I read. 

I do have a habit of sticking to just a few genres, but for my reading resolutions this year I've been branching out and challenging myself to find enjoyable books that are outside of my comfort zone. Part of that challenge was to read four classics. I expected it to be easy, after all, aren't all classics great? I've only finished two so far, but I can say that I'm finding this resolution of mine to be…difficult, to say the least. Here's what I've learned about the classics so far:

They're not all great. // Classic literature is a category made up of all genres, so not all of them are going to be appealing to every reader. I put The Time Machine on my list, even though I know that I'm not a science-fiction reader. And guess what? It didn't appeal to me. I appreciate that it was the beginning of a genre, but I lost interest.

Sometimes, they don't turn out as expected. // After my failure to delve into H.G.Wells, I picked up Jane Eyre, expecting it to quickly become my favorite classic ever. Wrong. I love the books that I've read that are based off of this story, but I didn't love the original. There wasn't enough going on and I really only got wrapped up in a few key moments.

Children's classics count too. // Maybe I'm biased because of my obvious love for all things children's lit, but I would much rather dive into a children's classic than an adult classic. These stories are ones that practically raised older generations (the same way that Harry Potter has raised our generation) but they've lost a lot of their appeal because young readers see them as too challenging. I'd love to see a revival of children reading Peter Pan and Mary Poppins, both of which have now made it onto my to-read list.

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