Hating the Classics

Well hello there!

Have you ever really wanted to enjoy classic literature (i.e. A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, The Scarlet Letter) and just couldn’t get into it? Did you ask yourself what nut decided this was interesting?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, you are my people!

Let me say this though. As in everything, all literature is not created equal. Good writing is not universal—what I love, you may hate; what I hated ten years ago, I may really get into now. Like The Scarlet Letter. I was thirteen when I started reading Nathaniel Hawthorne and eighteen (I think) when I finished it. I saw the movie, and liked it, but the book was near torture at that time. However, I’d always intended to read it again as I got older. I thought maybe I’d like it more once my literary taste buds developed more. I still have it on my shelf, though, so I’ll give it a second chance soon enough.

You know what was even more torturous? A Tale of Two Cities. I don’t think I even got past the first twenty pages, and I never had the desire to go back to that one. So I’ll leave that right where it is.

That being said, I love Shakespeare. Okay, I really like Shakespeare. Some Shakespeare. My favorite is the fantasy one where the fairy queen falls in love with a man who’s been  turned into a donkey, and four human lovers fall in love with each other in the wrong order, all because of the fairy king and a mischievous fairy called Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). I also really like the one where a woman thinks her twin brother is dead and dresses like a man to get work (Twelfth Night). And Much Ado About Nothing isn’t too bad either.

The thing about Shakespeare, though, is I have to read his work so slowly. Otherwise I’d get completely lost. When you really get into, his stuff is pretty good—I have a huge illustrated anthology of his work and it’s really cool.

I used to feel like I should read every piece of classic literature and enjoy it, and when I didn’t enjoy something I figured I was the problem. But truthfully, everything isn’t for everybody, and not all classic literature keeps us interested.

So what do you do when you’re reading something that you think you should appreciate because of its accolades but you really can’t get into it? You read something else. Put it down and come back to it later. Or don’t. It’s totally up to you. Just because I like grilled asparagus doesn’t mean you have to, and just because a book has won numerous awards doesn’t mean I, or you,  have to enjoy it.

The classics aren’t classic to everyone and that’s okay.

That being said, Paradise has been a labor to get through so I’ve pressed pause on that and am about halfway through with The Black Rose—a story about Sarah Breedlove (I’ll get into why I’d prefer not to call her Madam C.J. Walker when I write about it) which I digitally borrowed from my local library via Overdrive and need to renew as it expires tomorrow.

In my next post I’ll either be finished with The Black Rose and tell you about that, or we’ll talk quickly about Christian Science Fiction which I just found out was a thing and am not completely sure about my feelings toward. Until then…

Happy Reading!