Sunday, 13 March 2016

Reading Classics Shouldn't Be A Chore, Right?

Twitter is a great tool for many reasons, I often find myself caught in the act of never ending scrolling until my thumb hurts just looking for interesting links and blog posts to catch up on. Well recently a great piece in the Guardian caught my eye about how reading Classical books is so often treated like it's a daunting and difficult chore. Classical fiction has become this BIG DIFFICULT THING that's scary and hard for lots of readers and then every time we hear someone talking about how they trudged through Dickens or Hardy all the rest of us shudder and decide to just steer clear.

The whole time I was reading the article I was like 'aha' 'yeah', when did reading Classics become somthing we were supposed to do because we felt guilty or like 'I'm a smart sophisticated person so I should probably give Pride and Prejudice' rather than 'ooh how about that Mr Darcy?'

I'm totally guilty of doing this too. I put off reading Pride and Prejudice for years because I thought I wouldn't get the language and it would be more of a trudge through wordy literature than an enjoyable read. But you know what? It's turned out to be one of my favourite reads and I can't wait to read more from Jane Austen. That's not to say all Classics are going to be enjoyable, I've tried three times to read Great Expectations and it just isn't working for me, but I do agree that sometime the fear of these books is offputting rather than giving them a go.

I think if there is one thing I took away from the article and from my own Classical reading experiences it's that not all Classics are created equal. You might fancy your Bronte sisters but loathe picking up anything by James Joyce (I don't know why but I've never wanted to read Ulysses for this very reason, maybe I should give it a go?) but if you've never actually picked up a copy then how will you know?

I'd love to know what your thoughts are on this article? Have you put off reading any Classic books because they seem too daunting?

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