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A Hatred Of Classics

Would I pick up classics by myself? Probably not. Do I really hate some of the ones I’ve been forced to read? Heck yes. Have I kind of enjoyed some of them? I very grudgingly have to say yes here. I’m not sure if I would ever pick up something that is considered a “classic” voluntarily, even with my goal of branching out more. I’ve always had an aversion to them and I know some people feel the same way. I thought it would be fun to talk about why I, personally, am not the biggest fans of them.

I would honestly read anything else. There are books that sound more interesting, more exciting, and more up my alley than these classic books.

I don’t know why teens have to study them in school. Not a lot of people can relate to them and not many feature teens. And it’s all the older people who are showering these books with praise, so let them study it and give us books that we could actually see ourselves in.

I’ve also found a lack of diversity, at least in the classes I’ve took, in my school. Please, I do not want to read about old white dude’s issues. I do not want discuss these books in class. I don’t think we’re reading a single book by a POC in my AP English class.

As I’ve read these books and found the themes and the messages it was trying to get across, I’ve been able to think of a another book that has the same message, but is presented in a more relatable way. In a way that teens could find interesting, that teens could relate to, with diverse characters, by diverse authors. I mean, those books are there. Teach us those lessons through those books. But YA gets a bad rap.

Despite this, I still think classics are important. People still talk about them for a reason and people know their titles for a reason. Yes, I think they should be studied. (Please, more diverse books though) I think there are things to be learned from them and I guess kids have to learn to read things they rather would not. I just feel there should be changes made. Let teens hate them and let them talk badly about them. Talk about why they hate them. They’ll still get value out of that discussion! My English teacher let’s us rip a book to shreds if that’s how we really feel and it’s honestly made the class a lot more enjoyable for me. Don’t force kids to like a book just because it’s considered a classic.

All this to say, I don’t think I’ve  been taught classics in a great way. I haven’t been exposed to the many a classics out there. I don’t actively search them out. I only read what is put in front of me in class. So maybe I’m missing a whole other side of them and this is me just complaining about my school’s system haha. I guess the bottom line is that they should be taught differently and kid’s opinions should be able to blossom on their own.

If you have differing opinions on this, I would love to here them! I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have a recommendation for a classic that you love, I would really like to hear that too! Maybe there are amazing ones that I would love, but just haven’t read yet.

Thank you for reading!

17 thoughts on “A Hatred Of Classics

  1. I think there should be a balance of classics/modern books in school. I’m sure that part of the reason is people do not want to go through the trouble with creating new course material and getting new books approved.

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  2. Hi! All good points. I felt this way too, before I really started reading them on my own. If it’s of use? You might check out The Classics Club: they’re a team of book bloggers trying to make the classics more accessible by reading & blogging about them. There are nearly 400 bloggers reading through self-made lists of at least 50 classics and blogging about them. Many are trying to change to conversation on classics by creating a discussion about diverse literature that ought to be on the Western canon. For a diverse classic, I recommend Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, or Sula by Toni Morrison. Both are excellent as well as accessible. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a thoughtful post! I honestly agree, some classics such as To Kill A Mockingbird and The Giver are really thought-provoking and entertaining. But teenagers shouldn’t be reading JUST classics, in m opinion it actually ruins their love of learning in general.

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  4. I feel the same way. I particularly hated when teachers asked me to how the author felt. How was I supposed to know? And why did I care? Saying that, I was very lucky – most of my teachers didn’t force the classics on me and I still haven’t read them.

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  5. I think one of the problems with classics being taught in school is the lack of choice and diversity. If students were given more of a choice in what they had to read and at that really diverse choices there may not be the same sort of dislike for classic literature that a lot of people have and it would even encourage a love of reading that gets lost with being forced to read. Really good post I have the same issues with classic lit.

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  6. What classic lit did you have to read at school? There are so many good ones (& I was lucky that my school selected ones that had a profound impact on me and I still reread to this day – like To Kill a Mockingbird).
    As Jillian said the Classics club has a huge list of books read from bloggers all round the world. You could also try googling classic lit from round the world to see what pops up that might interest you. There are oodles of sights that also devout themselves to literature in translation that can put you onto some fabulous diverse authors and stories.

    Good luck with your search.

    Like

  7. The way I started to really enjoy classics was by reading older fiction in the genres I was already reading. I basically went from reading modern crime fiction to reading early 20th century crime fiction to reading classics in general. No reason to start experimenting by reading books in a genre you have no interest in by an author you don’t care about and from a time period you don’t normally read from. It is rather obvious that that will fail.

    It is much easier if you start by reading the classics in a genre you already like. And start by reading the shorter classics, there are plenty of good classics at around 200 pages and they are a lot less daunting.

    For classic diverse SF and Fantasy Ursula K. Le Guin may be a good starting point? Or if we leave Fantasy and SF, perhaps Maya Angelou’s “I know Why The Caged Bird Sings” which is certainly not about any “old white dude’s issues”.

    Of course you don’t actually have to read classics (outside of school) but slowly increasing the types of books you enjoy will give you more reading options which is obviously a good thing.

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  8. I think back to my years in school and some of the books I had to read. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school and finished all the required books that I made the decision to read books by POC. It’s only been over the last few years that I’ve come to appreciate the classics and I have a mix on my current classics list. When I finish my current one I like to make one for POC and work my way through that. I can also recommend a few

    Passing by Nella Larsen – https://booksbythecup.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/passing-nella-larsen/

    The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by James Weldon Johnson (I talked briefly about it on a recent post but will review I hope later this week)

    Toni Morrison of course but I read Sula and The Bluest Eye and reviewed them together : https://booksbythecup.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/sula-and-the-bluest-eye-reviews/

    Maybe even Alexandre Dumas, Ernest J.Gaines, or Alex Haley (I’m currently reading Roots and discussing with another blogger here https://booksbythecup.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/roots-by-alex-haley-week-2/

    Hope this helps. And all the best. I love to see conversations like this!

    Liked by 1 person

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