Do you find your next “must-read” books by perusing the New York Times bestseller list? If so, you’re missing out on a ton of excellent literature!
There are many reasons readers avoid classic literature. These books are often lengthy; the vocabulary and grammatical structure are more challenging than those found in contemporary literature. Some readers resent the time they spent reading the classics in school. Others have an interested in classic literature but are overwhelmed by the selection of authors and titles.
Do you still think the classics aren’t for you? Read on to discover our top reasons for reading classic lit!
1.) You’ll be traveling through time and space.
Reading classic novels is one of the most engaging ways to explore the past. Unlike sterile history books, these novels bring the past to life in emotional and thought-provoking ways. You might image life in 2016 to be totally unlike life in the year 1664, for instance. If you read Molière’s play Tartuffe, however, you might discover themes of religious hypocrisy, lust, and even feminism — all of which are just as relevant today!
Are you fascinated by the roaring 20s? Read about the era’s decadence in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or explore the pain of the post-WWI era in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Are you more interested in the future than in the past? Explore science fiction novels like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine or George Orwell’s 1984. Whichever era you wish to explore, classic literature can take you there.
2.) You can save a few bucks!
Buying new books can be jaw-droppingly expensive. The average price of an adult hardcover novel was almost $27 in 2015! If you purchased just one new book a month this year, you would end up spending over $300! If you’re looking to read a book right away, you might struggle with waiting lists at your local library. Newly-released eBooks are generally pricey, too. Simply put, it’s hard to score a new book at a bargain price!
By contrast, classic novels are generally affordable. A paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice can be purchased used for under $4.00. A Kindle copy of the book costs less than $1.50! Sites like AbeBooks are particularly useful for purchasing affordable paperback editions of popular classics. Reading classics for a year is an excellent way to expand your literary horizons while saving hundreds of dollars.
3. You’ll have a great conversation-starter!
Classic literature is one of the most widely-shared art forms. These novels form the backbone of modern civilization and have popularized concepts such as “Big Brother” and the Oedipal complex. If your friends and family have read the same book you can talk about your favorite characters and the novel’s conclusion. If not, you can recommend that they read it, too!
Though you shouldn’t have to brag about your literary conquests, your knowledge of classic literature can certainly be brought up in conversation. Whether you’re talking to a sharp recruiter or an attractive date, your knowledge of the classics is sure to impress.
4.) You’ll learn something new!
Literary classics are challenging in many ways. The grammar and syntax of Shakespearean plays can stimulate your brain and expand your knowledge of the English language. Almost all classics contain language and phrases that aren’t often used today. The themes of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart or Albert Camus’ The Stranger may challenge the ways you think about human nature and morality, too.
Recent studies have even proven that reading literature improves our ability to empathize with others. Though classics describe eras long since passed, their themes of struggle, betrayal, love, and joy remain wholly relevant today.
The next time you want to learn, skip Wikipedia. Read a classic novel to deepen your understanding of history, language, and human nature.
5.) You can explore the classics in more ways than one!
Most classic novels are widely beloved. Tales like A Christmas Carol have been transformed into films like Scrooged and The Muppet Christmas Carol in addition to being adapted for television and the stage. Some of the most popular classics have been re-interpreted dozens of times on film. As a reward for reading a classic novel, treat yourself to a movie night! Enjoy a straightforward interpretation of the novel or watch a fun interpretation of a classic, like Bridget Jones’s Diary (a modernized re-envisioning of Pride and Prejudice).
There are dozens of additional reasons to read classic literature. Best of all, reading the classics is fun!
So – what are you waiting for?! Head to the library and check out a classic novel today!
This post was written by Kara Kitze, Gold Orchid Publishing’s Blog and Social Media Assistant.