My View On Classics

 Last year I decided to make more of an effort to read so called classics. 

This is partly because my amazing hubby bought me a starter collection of the Barnes & Nobles classics, which included all the works of Jane Austen (along with Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Homer plus more). They're gorgeous and I wanted to read them (but also keep them pristine). And it's also just due to the fact that I kept hearing about all these books that I have never read, and that's annoying.

I had a general list of books on my mind, and also asked for recommendations. Some things I've read for this purpose are:

  • Multiple works of Jane Austen
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

My least favorite has been Wuthering Heights- because that is a terrible story with awful characters and how in the world anyone classifies it as a love story is beyond me.

My most favorite has been Jane Eyre, because I found the main character intriguing and the love story to be unique.

Here's what I've decided when it comes to classics- they are good, but overall rarely great. 

I'm not sure exactly who decides what makes a classic a classic. The biggest link, if any, I can find is that they are all very distinct voices. Austen, Salinger, Hemingway...they all sound uniquely like themselves.

I think that's why it's so difficult to relate to nowadays, but also exactly why we should still read them. 

In a world where most TV shows and movies are just remakes, and books of the same genre can feel sadly formulaic (lookin' at you, Nicholas Sparks), reading something from a different era or about a circumstance no longer likely to be experienced by our generation helps stretch our minds.

It can be painful. I'm not saying I've enjoyed it, or feel like it's made me smarter/etc. But I do feel like it's helped me be more thoughtful about what I do and don't like, and pushed me to think about situations I wouldn't normally consider.

Maybe that's the point of make us think. 

I'm starting to sound like an English teacher.

Either way, while I don't like all the classics I've read, I am grateful that I've read them. And I'll continue to work my way through them...slowly.

Have you read a lot of classics, or do you plan too? 
Why or why not?


  1. I definitely want to try and read more classics. I don't always enjoy them, but many have stood the test of time and we can learn from that. What is it about them that have made people keep coming back?

  2. I want to read more classics... but I find many of them very intimidating and/or not that interesting. A few years back I tried to read Anna Karenina. It was such a daunting task and I gave up about 1/3 of the way into it.

    I read Catcher in the Rye in school and liked it a lot. I found Holden Caulfield to be a terribly annoying narrator, but I'm pretty sure that was the point so I was ok with it. I LOVE The Bell Jar. It's on my list of books I want to re-read.

    The only other book on your list that I've read is A Farewell to Arms, which I couldn't get into.

    Last year I read This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald and strongly disliked it.

  3. I did not like Catcher in the Rye! But you're right, I'm trying to get better about appreciating books even when I don't like the characters.

    Anna Karenina was a failed attempt for me, and now it's been so long I'd have to start at the beginning again. WHY write something that long?!