the first part of a two part discussion post about why so many people don't read classics but probably should. I never got round to posting the second part of that discussion post so I left you all knowing why you don't read them but not why you should which is just tragic. So now I aim to remedy that mistake!
So why should you read classics?
- Size - In my last post size was one of the main reasons why people don't read classics however I personally believe that it should be a reason to read classics. There isn't much in this world that feels more satisfying than finishing a really huge book. Seriously, anyone who has finished a book with 500+ pages will agree with me when I say the pride of finishing a large book is immense. The other reason why size is a great thing is really quite simple. Have you ever been reading an amazing book and just not wanted it to end? Me too! But with those big bulky classics on your shelf this is not a problem. Doesn't the size look less scary already?
- Cover - This was another point that was on the other list however it too can be a good thing also. There is nothing I love more than carrying around one of those hardback classics with no cover or design except a beautifully printed title on the spine. Not only does it look really good but I think it makes you look good too. Everyone will recognise that book as a classic therefore you automatically look more sophisticated and fellow book worms may even come over to say hi. I know I would be too curious about what you were reading not to. I think that beats an eye-catching cover any day, plus you can't be drawn into an awful book through a gorgeous cover.
- The old book smell - Arthur Conan Doyle once said: “There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” and it is really the truth. Books smell good whether they are old or new but the oldest smell the best always!
- Old notations - If you are anything like me then you can't afford to be buying new books all of the time so when you are in need of more reading materials the first stop is a charity shop. They are always full of classics for a pound each which is great but they often come with another additional perk, old notes in the margins. A year ago I bought a copy of the Scarlet Letter in a charity shop and was a little lost when I started reading it, the extravagant and old fashioned language was hard to get your head round certainly. Thankfully some kind stranger before me had made a number of notes in the margins which cleared things up significantly for me as well as opening up some interpretations that I hadn't considered before.
- Expanding your vocabulary - No one who claims to read classics can possibly say that doing so hasn't expanded their vocabulary. When you're reading a book that was published 50-200+ years ago you are bound to come across words that you haven't seen before and, who knows, mayhap you will decide to implement them in your daily life.
- History - In every classical book there is a small history lesson if you care to look for it. All novels, at least somewhat reflect their time and through this you can get an idea of what it was like to live then. There's a reason Austen's novels revolve around status and marriage while Hardy's reflect scandals and religion, those were the topics which were prominent at the time. Even the most unconventional novels like Frankenstein and Dracula reflect their societies with the former focusing on the conflict between science and religion and the latter looking at the role of women in the Victorian era.
- Deeper meanings - Now, I am in no way suggesting that that modern books don't have deeper meanings that you can infer from them. Take Atwood's Handmaid's Tale for example, or Plath's The Bell Jar. But it has to be admitted that there is a lot less to infer than there used to be and for English Literature enthusiasts like me that's just no fun at all! I'm sure that lot's of you just want to read a book for its story rather than deeper meanings but I really think the latter makes things more interesting.
- Origins - By the time many of us get round to reading many books that spurred popular culture such as Dracula we will have already read numerous other vampire books therefore the subject may have been made tedious. However, it is important to get to the roots of popular culture and, if you are anything like me, you may find you like them even more. The vampires of Dracula are evil, cruel and powerful - exactly how vampires should be and the total opposite to the vampires of today's fiction.
- THE SCANDAL - They may not seem it at first glance but classics always have an element of scandal within them. Lot's of those scandals no longer are shocking to us as readers such as unwed maidens running away with men, men running away with men or people deviating from religion but I guarantee many could still shock us. The classics are full of incest, rape, necrophilia, monsters, and murders. No one can say that list isn't shocking, lot's of those subjects aren't even dealt with today so the idea of it being talked about back then is even more surprising.
- You can gloat about what you've read - Everyone knows that the main reason lots of people read classics, or pretend to have read them, is so that they can tell people they have read them. There isn't anything much more impressive than someone telling you they got through the entirety of War and Peace and even have their own views on it. Classics can also be a means of bonding with people, it is rare when two people have read the same one, with the exception of a few really popular ones, so friendship is bound to be made from that similarity.
Have I convinced any of you yet? Tell me in the comments whether you agree/disagree with me or mayhaps you have something extra to add. Let me know!
If you really disagree with me then my post on why people don't read classics may be more to your taste.