If you asked me 10 years ago, “do ya read classic books?”, I’d have probably rolled my eyes, hard.
That was because at school, we were FORCED to read and re-read and dissect Hard Times by Charles Dickens. It was a hard time. (Get it? GET IT??)
I swore off classics. They were too wordy, or too complicated, for lil’ old me to understand. They were boring, always about old men facing a mid-life crisis and I just wasn’t interested. Shortly put, the words ‘classic book’ put me off reading said book.
This was a few years ago, and there were TONNES of really great debates flying round the interweb, all about YA and people judging the entire genre because of a bad experience with a couple of books. And it got me thinking about my swearing off of classics.
So, cautiously, I begun my first foray into classics. It started with Pride & Prejudice, the classic of classics, and I went into it apprehensive. My main worries were: (1) would I even understand the writing? and (2) would I be able to relate to the characters at all?
So, anyhow. I read it. Pretty quickly, actually. And yeah, there were some phrases and paragraphs I didn’t grasp the first read around, but overall I understood everything. And then there was Lizzie Bennet. MY LITERARY SOULMATE. Isn’t it funny that in books you can relate SO deeply to people who’s circumstances and life is completely and utterly different than your own?
From then on, I found my feet with classics. I dived into Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and The Picture of Dorian Grey. And sure, there were some I didn’t get on with, and my Goodreads tag still has a paltry 24 books in it, butttt I realised that I really, really like some classics. Not all, but some.
If you fancy giving classics a go, here are my three top tips:
(1) Buy it on audiobook. Not only are audiobook classics generally pretty cheap, but I find if there are any complicated parts in the story, they’re easier to understand by listening. Plus, you can rewind easily. I listen to mine whilst driving, or making dinner, or doing chores.
(2) Watch the adaptation. I ADORE the 1995 BBC TV series of Pride and Prejudice. (The Colin Firth edition is THE best.) Sometimes if I get confused, or if I’m unsure of a plot point/character motivation, I watch an adaptation. There are LOADS of classic books adapted on Netflix.
(3) Don’t force it. One of the reasons I hated Hard Times so much, was because I was forced to read it. Some classics aren’t for everyone. Don’t be afraid to DNF.
Have you ever sworn off a genre? What is you fav classic book?