Blabbering: My Classics Dilemma

Most of you reading this blog can agree we all read books like they’re the oxygen we need to breathe. We devour each book rabidly and hardly pause between books. The fever is so strong to be without for more than a day is torturous (MUST. KEEP. UP. WITH. TBR.). To put it simply, we’re addicts.

But at the end of every month when I have read a pile of books that makes me proud, I always feel a little pang of guilt when I glance at my shelf full of classics.

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I feel like such a good little human for reading (and reading a lot), but then I talk to my parents, my husband’s parents, etc. and they’re all, Austen this and Dickens that and how great Middlemarch is, and I slowly feel myself melting into a little puddle of inadequacy.

So to remedy this inadequacy (because I REFUSE TO FEEL INADEQUATE!), I have been making a point to reading 1-2 classics a month.

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But here’s my secret: *whispers really quietly so you can barely hear and have to ask me to repeat myself a couple of times* I just don’t like them that much.

*Starts talking loudly and confidently again because I feels the need to defend myself against the rising tide of judgment I expect but probably am not getting*
Though there are some that I absolutely love: Dracula, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, A Little Princess to name a  few.
*Puffs chest out for being able to throw an Austen on the list*

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Are you judging me yet? Do you make a point to read Classics? Do you absolutely love them like a good human? Or perhaps your education was better than mine and you’ve already read a ton (I’m. jealous.)? Or are you impervious to the pressure to make sure you’ve read them? Tell me all your deepest secrets! *puts fingers together and muah-ha-has a bit*

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  1. I’ve been on a classics kick lately, which has been most unusual for me. My goal for the year was to read 2 classics (I generally only read 1 a year!), but so far this year I’ve read, I think, 6 classics! I don’t know why I’m on such a classics roll. But, my usual “routine” for reading classics is to have one that I take to work and read on my lunch break. Since the classics typically (for me) aren’t a book that is “edge of my seat / can’t stop reading”, I don’t mind only reading a little bit here and there. Getting through a classic typically takes me months, I think I’ve just been lucky this year and have selected classics that are really full of great characters that I want to read (Great Expectations, Anne of Green Gables, 1984, Rebecca, to name a few). Some classics are really tough to get through, but once I’ve finished them I’m always glad to have read them 🙂 Keep at it! There are some real gems out there (A Tale of Two Cities) and some really difficult ones (Mrs Dalloway – uggh!). I love that everyone has a different opinion about the books they read.

  2. I really need to read Dickens. I read Great Expectations back in high school, but didn’t want to read it so I didn’t really get much from it. I need to give it another try! And then of course, l need to read Rebecca! 1984 was fantastic for sure. There are some really great ones and then there are just others… eh. I like your method for reading classics, because I totally agree that they aren’t “edge of your seat” books! Just something you have to force yourself to page through.

  3. I love classics. But not all of them. :p I think the great think about classics is that so many types of books count as classics. Mysteries. Fantasies. Science fiction. Whatever. And books from so many time periods are classics. Don’t like the sixteenth century and Shakespeare? Try the nineteenth century! I firmly believe there are classics for everyone. 😀

  4. I love classics, but I think that’s because classics are just older books so they encompass just about anything! The Lord of the Rings is a classic, but so is The Spanish Tragedy. Actually, I find it funny that something like The Spanish Tragedy is a classic when today it would be considered over-the-top and melodramatic. Apparently I secretly like what is basically the equivalent of a sixteenth-century soap opera…?? The label of classic somehow makes it more impressive-sounding, though.

    I think my point is that we probably all love classics, just different ones! I’m not a big fan of Virginia Woolf or Ernest Hemingway, but I love Charles Dickens and C. S. Lewis! And when you consider that Dickens was a wildly popular author of his time, not some stuffy writer of books only the elite read…well, we’re probably all reading books that will turn into classics!

    People can be pretentious about reading classics and looking down on those who don’t, but no classic starts out as a classic. One day Harry Potter will be a classic…and we’ll have read his series first. 🙂

  5. I don’t really read a lot of classics, I read them only when required by classes, but otherwise, I have to admit, I don’t really turn to these kind of books on my own. That’s too bad though, because I heard there are some incredible classics out there. Maybe I should try and read more of these books…someday soon 😛

  6. Great post you have here! So here’s the thing, I’m from a country which doesn’t include Classics in the basic curriculum (maybe in college though hmm) anddd I’ve always wanted to read them! But sadly, I can’t seem to get into them, I find them hard to read which is a shame because as you said it, it also makes me feel inadequate. ?

    1. That’s too bad! You can always start with Children’s Classics (for example: A Little Prince – omg loved that book!), because I feel like the story is simpler, the plot is more obvious, and the language is easier on the brain! (:

      1. I know, it sucks. I have read A Little Prince, and yes it was wonderful! But here’s another secret, I haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird. I always say that I would read it next but I always end up not getting into it. I’ll try your suggestion though, I’ll find more Children’s Classics to read. Thank you! <3

  7. Bless your heart for giving the classics a go! I personally hate most British literature EXCEPT Shakespeare (he’s my boyfriend). I really love American literature, though – especially 20th century. I have made a huge effort to read much more of the classics as of late since I teach AP literature. I didn’t really consider myself to be “well read” until really a few years ago. I hated reading when I was a kid and really didn’t start to enjoy it until I was in college. I still don’t love the classics, though. Some I do like, but seriously it’s my goal in life to never read Moby Dick.

    1. I’m so glad to hear it’s okay to be an adult and not love classics, ha. Moby Dick is one of Cole’s favorite books of all time, so I read it a few years ago. Let me just say, keep that life goal of yours.

  8. As an English teacher, I feel so guilty about all of the classics that I own and haven’t read, but I don’t want to be the person who just reads classics. I try to read a good mix of classics and contemporary literature, as well as YA each year, and it works for me.

    Right now, I’ve been collecting some of the children’s classics that I never read as a kid. I’m going to start with some of those and work my way through my collection slowly but steadily.