2015/01/29

Bookish Reflections: On Reading Classics

If you saw my post on 2015 Reading Goals, you will have noticed the one of my goals is to read 5 classics this year. Now, I often find classics intimidating, hard to get through, and it takes a lot of effort for me. So, the question is, why bother?

My first experience reading a classic was at school. Which was not, for me, a good introduction to classics, because I strongly dislike being forced to read. We had to read "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, and I remember thinking it was the most idiotic book I'd ever read. And when I finished school, I had this impressions that classics were bullshit.


Now, however, I have a whole different view of classics (and I've reread Lord of the Flies, and now I love it). Although I have not read that many, I desperately want to read many, many more. And as I know there are a lot of people out there, either intimidated, scared or that loathe classics, I thought I would tell you why I bother:

1. They provide a snapshot of history. When the books are written in the same time period as the story, I find things are usually described differently than when someone in present day writes about the past. I think this is a great way to learn about life in the past.

2. Classics are usually books that are highly treasured and enjoyed by many, so you know you're going into something that's probably worth reading.

3. They usually contain a universality, meaning the themes of the book dig deep enough that they're still relevant. Which means, even in present day, we can understand it and take something from it.

4. They expand our understanding of the world. Because they have universal themes, and look back on the past, we learn a lot. Which is both important and fun.

5. The writing. Because usually it's beautiful.

Personally, I haven't read all that many classics. And the reason for this is that I have to space them out so that I don't loose my joy of reading. This is often because I feel sort of a pressure to read them. It's almost always worth it though, but that's why I don't spend all my time reading them; reading should never be a duty. It should be fun!

What's your view of classics?


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2 comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post and find it an interesting topic to reflect on.
    Personally, I love reading classics. Most of the books I read are actually classics because of the historical aspect you mentioned and especially due to the writing style.
    Getting to know different time periods through the eyes of a contemporary writer, truly fascinates me. It's interesting to read about perspectives and opinions on still relevant problems and topics from people, that lived many decades or even centuries ago.
    And I totally agree that the writing usually is beautiful.

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