Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Read Classics...

I have been updating my Goodreads the last couple days after hardly touching it for a couple years. I decided I want to be more organized in 2011. I was just going through my reads for 2009 and you know, I read almost 400 books and very few of them could be classified as classics... (I also started many series that I sort of stalled on in 2010, but that's nothing new.) Here it is the 19th of January and I am over halfway through Jane Eyre, a book I really should have read by now!

Then, I have read:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

That's more in just over two weeks than I have read in a couple years. I am finally crossing off my list a whole bunch of books I have really wanted to read for years. These are books that I have bought and even started and never accomplished more than a couple chapters. I don't know what it is about classics. I am not even so much scared of them as turned off by them. The only reason I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier last year, for example, is because my library had a copy that was a trade paperback and had decent size font. I have owned a copy for years and could never get myself to read it...

Why do you read or not read classics? What ones have you read so far this year? What ones have you read previous years that you recommend?


  1. One of the main reasons why I don't read classics is the feeling that they will always be there. I also find that sometimes you don't read a book until it is the right time for you to read it. Mostly I don't read classics because they are often long, they often have harder language, and I tend to read a lot of YA.

    2010 was a dismal reading year for me. It strikes me that it has been years since I have really read a classic book that wasn't a labor to get through. One of my absolute favorites is The Blithedale Romance which is a lesser known work by Hawthorn. And a collection of short stories called Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewette. Also speaking of short stories another of my all time favorites is Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

    So, as you can see, there are classics I love and ones I have had great experiences reading. It has just been a while for me. But maybe I should reconsider that.

  2. Oh! I just read Daddy Long-Legs this past weekend! :D

    I've been reading more classics in the past year or so, mostly because I finally broke through my prejudice of them (the "all classics are boring" killer). It's also helped that I got a Kindle recently, and that classics are (mostly) all public domain now, i.e. free! So I've been dipping into the classics pool more and more, and I really enjoy doing it!

    As for recs: I loved Orlando (and To the Lighthouse), The Prisoner of Zenda, and Psmith in the City. Wodehouse totally counts as a classic author! He DOES. :(

  3. Of my 190 books "read" in GoodReads, 42 I considered a classic, so that makes it quite a few!

  4. When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time reading from a list of classics posted in my English class. They were not required, and I doubt many students ever perused it.

    As an English major and then teacher, I continued reading and rereading many great classics. Now, I rarely revisit them. Your comment earlier about reading them on an eReader might be a good way for me to check in on some of them again.

  5. When I do read classics, I usually expect not to like them (I'm a pessimist that way), and then am pleasantly surprised if I ever do. Many of them are good! I just don't start by expecting them to be.

  6. I've read quite a few classics (English major) but it still amazes me how many I haven't read. Case in point: none of the ones you've listed as recent reads are ones I've read (I have read Jane Eyre and Rebecca, though)

    I think part of the reason (at least for me) is that classics are seen as obligatory reading, and requiring more effort to read and enjoy than a modern work.

    For the most part though, when I do read a book that's considered a classic, I enjoy it.

    For an upcoming classic read, I'm waiting on my copy of The Blue Castle to be delivered to my door.

  7. I tend to shy away from classic lit because I expect them to take me forever to read. The syntax is usually different from what I'm used to, and so many publishers make the font really, really tiny. I spend ages and ages and ages reading just a page or two. It's frustrating.

    I do want to read more of it, though, since I figure the books have endured for a reason. I do tend to enjoy them once I'm reading them, too. I haven't formally resolved to read more this year, but if it happens, I won't complain.

  8. I love reading classics. I did a minor in literature so I could "pleasure read" while going to school. I did take a couple of modern lit course but my favorites were the classics. I think some of them have a deeper meaning and make for great discussion.

    I haven't read as many as I would like since I started blogging 3 years ago because of all of the ARCs I just can't turn down. LOL!

    I hope to read at least a few in 2011.

  9. I did my degree in English Honours so I did read quite a few classics - but I still find it surprising just how many I haven't read, though! I just discovered George Eliot two years ago - Middlemarch was a revelation for me, and I will be rereading that again soon. I just read my first Charles Dickens book - Mystery of Edwin Drood - last year, and found I really enjoyed it! I have three of his on my shelves waiting to be read now. I have The Mill on the Floss by Eliot too, TBR. Plus as always War and Peace! I will read that one day! lol I want to increase the number of classics I read, so this is an ongoing challenge for me.

    Why do I resist it so? Because I tried to read all the interesting ones already at university! and am discovering there is so much still to read that I will end up liking.

    Good question, Kailana!

    PS I answered more about the classics on your Jane Eyre post....Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, and I reread her books regularly.


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