I’ve been thinking recently about how often people discuss and recommend classics when you bring up the fact that you like reading. I think it’s most probably because classic novels are the most heard of and spoken about books so they offer an easy to remember title for people to bring up in conversation. But that got me thinking, what exactly makes something a classic? Turns out it’s not just because a book is old, but it also has to be “accepted as being exemplary and noteworthy”. I found this definition to be a little funny since I certainly don’t find a lot of classics to be “exemplary and noteworthy”. So I’ve decided for the good of the people I should list some classics and let you all know whether or not you absolutely need to read them.
I mean, I have seen so many “must read classics” list, and like, must we?? Do I really need to read this old old book about a topic that is no longer relevant? I’ll admit that sometimes yes, I must. The book is good, and happens to still remain relevant. But more often than not I have decided no. I do not need to spend my precious time wasting away reading a book that no one actually enjoys, but rather, they pretend to enjoy it for the sake of being pretentious. For the sake of honesty, I’m not going to mention any classics that I haven’t actually read. Because if I haven’t read it, I can’t say that I’ve formed a full opinion on it.
Must Read? Yes
Why? To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the only book I every enjoyed reading for school. In terms of relevancy, relevant! And writing wise, it happened to be not so boring due to it having been written in the last century.
I do accept this book to be good, or “exemplary” if we’re still quoting that wikipedia page for what makes a classic. While I do recommend this book I don’t think I’d say it’s a must read. If only because that sounds a bit aggressive. And you know, people can just read what they enjoy.
Must Read? No.
Why? I don’t really know why I have to explain why an allegory about the dangers of communism isn’t really something I think everyone should spend their time reading. But like. Idk just read the communist manifesto or something.
Also, completely unrelated, but I got a 63% on the report I had to write about this book in high school. Not like I hold a grudge or anything.
Must Read? No.
Why? I’m not going to mince words with this one. The fact that a majority of the book followed a man running around naked was kinda off-putting for me. Like, I get it. You’re invisible, you can steal things! Yay! But does running around absolutely butt naked not weird you out a bit??
I know that I shouldn’t be questioning the sanity of the mad scientist who created a formula to make himself invisible but ugh * shudders *
Must Read? Eh?
Why? I don’t really understand why Alice in Wonderland is considered a classic. Like I know there are a million and one adaptations and retellings etc. But the original source material is just so nonsensical and weird, and I feel like most of notoriety comes not from the actual book but from the interpretations people have pushed on it.
Personally, I think that the book is about drugs. But that’s just me.
Must Read? (I want to say yes but also no? But also yes).
Why? Most of my urge to say no comes from the fact that Roald Dahl was a raging antisemite. Buttttttt I find this book to be so ridiculous and fascinating that I kind of want people to read it to be able to talk about how weird it is???
Like this grown ass man kills a bunch of kids but it’s totally fine because those kids were greedy lying bastards to begin with? what. And even Charlie is proven to be a “bad kid”. So is this book saying that all kids are horrible? That candy is good? That you shouldn’t hang out with a crazy man who runs a chocolate factory? Who can say.
Initially I thought I would have a longer list, but it turns out that there are a bunch of classics that my opinion on is just, “Was boring, didn’t like.” And let’s be honest, that would be a boring post. There are obviously classics that I really liked (Dracula, The Three Musketeers, etc) but I think that the whole purist POV that comes with reading classics has got to go.
So many people uphold classics to this weird standard when at the end of the day they’re just books. Books just like the ones being published today. I think that a lot of people don’t bother giving a chance to modern books because they think that it won’t be as good, and I hope that they learn to broaden their horizons in that sense. Hopefully they’ll come to realize that just because the author is dead, doesn’t mean the book is good.
What’s your favorite classic? What’s your least favorite? Do you think classics are better than modern books?