Why You Should Add Classic Lit to Your Reading Resume - and One Simple Way to Do It!

I've been thinking about classic lit a lot lately. 

Like, a LOT.

And the reason is that, well, classic lit is my jam. I love gothic novels like Jane Eyre (my all-time favorite fiction). I love classic sci-fi like The War of the Worlds. I love Pulitzer Prize winners like The Grapes of Wrath. I love reading ghoulishly good creepy classics like The House of the Seven Gables or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I love getting my clever on when I sleuth alongside Sherlock and Watson. I'm energized when I engage my tiny grey cells with a classic caper featuring Hercule Poirot.  I love that I can still discover "new" classic authors and get lost in their catalog of new-to-me titles like my current obsession, Georgette Heyer (the Queen of Regency Romance).

I know a lot of you can relate. (High 5s!)

I know some of you are already shaking your head because you think classic literature is NOT your jam. (((hugs)))

Whichever camp you feel you fall into, I hope you'll take a moment to consider the following benefits for adding classic lit to your reading resume and the one simple way you can do just that. 

What makes a classic a classic?

When we talk about classic literature, we are referencing writing that was written decades or centuries ago. These works transcend time and culture, holding universal appeal to the reader both in the time in which they were written and today.

Common Roadblocks to Reading Classic Literature

1. Writing Style 

The most common roadblock I found that people have for not including classic literature in their reading rotation was that the writing style was not modern. They are right; it is not modern, and the reason why is that the book wasn't written in modern times. When you read more contemporary books, your brain more easily accepts the words on the page because the tone and emphasis mimic the modern conversational language your brain uses to hear and process. When you read classic literature, however, your brain asks you to engage in a slightly higher thought process - and that is good for your brain!

2. Historical Setting

The second most common reason I found that people gave for not reading the classics was that everything was different. People thought differently than we do today. They spoke differently. They valued different things. They took different things for granted. If you think the same, you are 100% correct. The difference you notice is that classics were written from a perspective different than our own. Reading these works gives us portals into the past, opening our eyes to the history of the time in which they were written. And that's an advantage to us as modern-day readers and thinkers because it helps grow our empathy when we can see circumstances from a perspective that is different from our own.

3. Over My Head

The third most common reason people object to reading classic literature is the belief that it will be difficult to understand because it will be over their heads. Granted, this is sometimes the case, but why throw the baby out with the bathwater? If you have attempted to read a classic in the past and gave up because it was over your head, pick another novel. Begin with something more relatable because the trick to enjoying classic literature is knowing what to read and when to read it. In other words, you will likely experience more success if you don't begin by tackling epic tomes like War & Peace or Anna Karenina.

Reasons to Rethink Reading Classic Literature

Books become classics for a reason - they have been vetted for decades or centuries by readers and have stood the test of time and endured literary criticism. Reading classic literature opens our eyes to the history of the time in which they were written as well as to the culture. Classic books tend to encompass

  • eternal values - so we can relate to them today
  • the beauty of the human spirit - especially inspiring because it is seen through the various complexities of life
  • a deeper understanding of the meaning of life
  • a trip outside our comfort zone - which today we could all benefit from taking
  • a look at what we have in common with people who aren't anything like us
  • a unifying connection to people and places of the past that spans both time and distance

A Quick-and-Easy Route to Reading Classic Literature

In a nutshell, one quick and easy route to reading the classics is Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Club.

You continue to read everything you love - your go-to genres and author(s) - and I'll help introduce you to relatable authors who wrote unforgettable stories you will connect with inside a close-knit community. 

Pretty Literate's Monthly Book Club is welcoming new members right now. I say right now because we are a private, growing little community of readers like you and to keep that friendly, familial atmosphere we are closed to new members most of the year

But right now, we are welcoming new members, and we would LOVE for that to include YOU.

Take a peek at the Monthly Book Club and find which level is right for you based on your personality and preferences. 

  1. The Book Club level is the budget-friendly option we offer for those that have access to a hearty public library system, a well-stocked local bookstore, or prefer to read eBooks. 
  2. The Book Box is our mid-level option designed for the reader that is seeking to grow her personal library, prefers reading physical books, and appreciates the convenience of the book being delivered directly to her door each month
  3. The Gift Box is designed for the reader that wants to expand her personal library, engage her curiosity, and enjoy a little pampering in the process.

Got Questions?

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at ericka@prettyliterate.com with your questions. I'd love to chat with you and help answer any questions you have.

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