Book Confessions: I’ve Never Read A Classic

Classics are something that I’ve always wanted to look into and I feel like as an avid reader I should have at least one under my belt by now. Of course, I’ve read classics for English literature in school, but I’ve never read one of my own volition. Reading one is actually a goal of mine this year.

I have friends who only read classics, some of which snub YA readers like myself, but honestly, how do you define a classic these days? Personally, I have no idea and I wouldn’t have a clue where to actually begin when looking for a classic to read. 

Back in school, I tried to read The Great Gatsby, but the language and the way it was written were where I struggled to connect. My main problem with classics is that the older style of English is not one I find easy to comprehend. I fancy myself as a very fast reader, so when it takes me so long to actually understand what is going on, it gets very frustrating. 

I am very open to trying classics and as I said before have tried to in the past. So keeping an open mind about it, I would like to think that maybe I’ve just tried the wrong books. It feels like a crime to call myself a reader when I’ve never read Jane Austen, but I’ve always been the type of person that doesn’t hide the fact that I still love reading YA novels and that won’t change any time soon. 

As much as I would like to be one of those people who can talk about classics, they just don’t really appeal to me that much. I have given myself the goal of reading one classic this year as I want to try new things in 2022. However, I’d have no idea what would actually be good, and as I mentioned before I find the language a bit difficult sometimes so I would struggle to understand if what I’m reading is great. Does that make sense?

If you have any amazing classic recommendations for someone that’s never read one before please let me know.

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  1. There is nothing wrong with reading YA and not being a classics lover, no matter what anyone says! As a YA reader, you could try starting with a children’s classic like A Wrinkle in Time or Secret Garden. These are more modern classics as well, which wouldn’t have such a dense writing style.

  2. I try to include some classics in my reading for the year as well. I studied literature in university and one of the modules was all about classic literature and I must admit I only enjoyed 1 out of 10. It was so hard to get through the rest. Then when we were allowed to choose our own selection the next year, I loved them all – so I think you can find some great classics out there, you just have to follow your personal tastes and match the books to that. Like contemporary titles when browsing book shelves today. Not everything will appeal to you.

    I focused on issues, characters, or genres that appealed to me when making my selection rather than relying on lists dictated to me, and my reading experience was much better. The style of language in some classics is laborious to read, but not all are in this style.

    I don’t know if any of this helped, I just know I went through the same dilemma and focusing on what I enjoy rather than what other people say I should read lead me to finding some great books.

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