Literature+Fiction

Classics- Love Them or Hate Them?

These are books written years ago- of people in times of war and misery. These books have stories of innocent romance and tales of bravery too. There are adventures on the sea and tales of treasures discovered. Yet, classics aren’t a favorite pick of most book lovers. They are considered to be boring, difficult to understand and have a tendency to put one to sleep. I don’t disagree with any of these points. In fact, many such classics have worked as a lullaby on nights when sleep eluded me. However, slowly and steadily I have managed to transform my dislike into passion.

Reasons to pick up classics

In our fast paced world today, what sells is gut-splitting action and heart wrenching romance. Why must one even bother to pick up a classic? The language isn’t as contemporary as the current day fiction that is published. The characters aren’t relatable and the narration moves at a snail’s pace. Why pick it up then?

  • Classics help you develop your personal word bank- of not only pure English words but also ones derived from Latin and Greek.
  • They are character driven books, laying emphasis on a prime character. Their stories bring out various shades of a human persona, which could be devoured by one and all.
  • They are power packed with emotions, values and traditions. Classics have a unique way of stressing on the importance of these aspects of life.
  • They give you an opportunity to understand history. Whether it is the American Civil War or the French Revolution, classics give you a perspective of a kind.
  • They challenge your brain. Yes they do, when you try to decipher each character and the meaning of every little situation.

Classics and Whisky

A friend of mine once mentioned that reading classics is akin to drinking whisky. Your first sip of whisky is never a pleasant experience. One may even wonder how it is even palatable, with its bitter taste on the tongue and probably a burning sensation in the throat. But a few sips on a regular basis, you begin to develop a fine taste for it, beginning to appreciate the soothing effect it has on your nerves. Classics are similar in many a ways. You need to develop a taste for it. And after a point in time, you start to appreciate the timeless principles and values the great classics hold within its pages.

Get on board the classics journey

To get you started on the journey of appreciating classics here’s what you could do

  • Start with the abridged versions of the original classic literature. This is the best way to get familiar with the story. You could get to the original work at a later point, and reading would become easier as you would already know the characters and the plot.
  • Choose your reading level. There are plenty of classics around, and all in different reading levels. Choose the easier ones to get used to the language and narrative style, before you touch on the tougher ones.
  • Read small portions at a time. It helps to shrug off the boredom, before you get used to the style of narration

Here are easy classics you could start off with- Five Easy to Read Classics for Beginner Readers

*Featured Image: Pixabay
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21 Comments

  • the bespectacled mother

    Have you written this article with me in mind? I hope not because we have never discussed about this. I am everything you described in the first para. I can’t bring myself to read classics. I tried my best in my college days but never could finish even 25%. I think, may be now I have improved in grasping plots but then now there is not enough time. I liked the tips you have given to read them and they look good to me. Let me now read your post on 5 easy classic reads.

  • Vidya Sury

    I grew up reading classics. Of course, as time went by I discovered my favorite authors. I agree with all your reasons. Most of all, language, vocabulary. And of course, when you are looking at Mark Twain/Charles Dickens and the like, great stories!

  • Shalzmojo

    Terrific reasons to pick up the classics Ramya- I used to devour them earlier. Now perhaps I dont have that much patience or perhaps have read all the great ones. The setting is actually not very relatable to me now and though I loved them earlier – they would surely put me to sleep now 😉

  • writershilpa

    I remember picking Anna Karenina long back. I may have read a chapter or two and then put it away. I just couldn’t proceed! As you said, it made me fall asleep! The language and the setting, all of it dulls the mind of one who hasn’t developed a taste for classics.
    So, as per your advice, (I read the post on the five classics to get me started), I will try the abridged versions and also the ones you recommended, and then let you know my experience!

    Psst…I take screen shots of all the books you share on Instagram and look them up when I go to my bookshop! 😛 So, thank you so much! ❤

  • Obsessivemom

    I read a lot of classics during my growing up years when I could give them undisturbed time. I’m not sure I’d have the same kind of patience now. The language can be a bit of downer. I did develop a taste for them though because I like reading about that era, how people though and felt, and of course the stories are beautiful – that’s what makes me go back to classics. That whiskey analogy was not for me – I never developed a taste for it :-).

  • pratikshya2

    I enjoy classics but include a few in my yearly reading…. I get them mostly from the book fairs but reading them takes time. I still have to read Jane Eyre from my last classics book haul…

  • Ramya Abhinand

    Haha totally get you. Some have their own logic to it, which I just cant get. I have had my share of putting it down and picking it up again. For example, i have never been able to appriciate ” To kill a Mocking bird” . Its a book so many of my friends have gone gaga over. And with respect to Gone with the wind. Its my all time favourite. It has its own issues of being quite a volume with oodles of descriptions, yet, its the character of scarlet, in all her flaws that made me fall in love with the book.

  • Soumya Prasad

    Classics are a twisted genre. I had read most of them during my school days and am discovering some only now. While most of them are a pain to read, some do go down smoothly. Also, you cannot trust that you will like them for sure. Most of the classics I’ve finished after some tedious reading have clearly not been worth it. after putting it down more than 50 times, I’ve picked up ‘Gone With The Wind’ now. A classic that is killing me. But hey, it is on the favorites of many readers I know.

    • Ramya Abhinand

      Thats true Heather. Also just because it is slow and it is a classic, it need not be a bore. So it works either ways.

  • thevintagegypsygirl

    These are fantastic points. I know many folks who find it unnerving to pick up classic lit because the language is more advanced and harder to decipher meaning and expression. The abridged version would be a great starting point. Personally, I enjoy picking up old English lit or British lit because I enjoy the developed and proper language. I am also glad that highschools still incorporate old classic literature to students in English class.

  • Tara

    Sounds like determination, I’m not sure I have the patience. But I think that is great that you turned reading the classics into a challenge, which helped you to enjoy them and expand your horizons. Thanks for sharing!

  • Suzy

    There are some classics you never tire of reading. For me these are Pride and Prejudice, Gone With The Wind. Romeo and Juliet, to name a few.

  • Shilpa Garg

    These are great reasons to pick up classics. In fact, I have taken up Back to the Classics as part of my 2018 Reading Challenge. I have to read 12 classics this year. So I will be re-reading some old classics and checking out the ones that I have missed reading.

    • Ramya Abhinand

      Shilpa I am not aware of this challenge. I just pick up my own classics and read them, and am beginning to love them.

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