Books

The Art of Reading Classics

Classic books tend to be my favourites, because they’re so well written and so beautiful and, whilst some of them are tragic, they have really satisfying endings.

Thing is, they’re really hard to read. Usually after the first 50-100 pages you’re into the story and you’re used to the rhythm of the book and language so you can pick it up really easily, but until you get to that point it’s just awful.

You sit there, and it takes an hour to read the first paragraph, because you have to keep rereading it to make sure you understand it. And then you finally get to the second chapter, and you have no idea who this person is; is it the banker, the lawyer, the farmer, the husband? I have no idea! And if it is the banker you spend half an hour figuring out if the main character is going broke or not, because the language is so bankish, that you have no idea what’s going on. And then said banker isn’t mentioned again until chapter fifty-five, and you have to figure out how much importance the banker is to the story, and you have to remember why the banker was needed at the start of the novel.

But once past such confusion, classics are the best.

Not all classics are like this. I read Northanger Abbey in two days, I was drawn in from page one and couldn’t put it out. Same as Jane Eyre (although Jane Eyre took longer than two days); it was just such a good book I was hooked from the very start and had no trouble whatsoever in reading it.

Classics have beautiful phrases in them. They’re just so well written I can’t even.

They also have really pretty covers. If you walk into a massive bookstore and go to the classics section (or maybe they’re scattered in the literature section) there will be fifty versions of Pride and Prejudice, and even though the words in them are the same, you want to buy every copy because they’re so nice to look at. So good.

Enjoy reading, campers,

Sarah xx

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