Lets talk about classic literature today.
I’m an avid reader. I love reading and as far as I can remember, have always loved it. For someone with the kind of overactive imagination that I have, reading is like therapy. I don’t have a particular genre I read either, I read everything as long as it manages to capture my attention. So, that being said, I’ve read among other things, several classics. Sometimes for school, sometimes on my own, several books that feature on almost every “Top 100 Classics” list.
After reading this assortment of books from completely different genres that share only one thing that is there ‘classicness’ ,I had one question. What exactly does the term ‘classic’ mean in literature? Does it include just every other good, well-written book, that people liked and enjoyed at that point in time? Or is it actually books that are ever-appealing, ever-hilarious and ever-intriguing? The kind that are always relevant and change you to your very core?
This is where it gets nasty.(Meaning I might just say I don’t like your favourite book) This might just be my age, my sense of humour or the point at which I read these. But these are my opinions and how I felt after reading these. Sorry in advance.
First off, Three men In a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. I felt it was very dragged and slow and there wasn’t much happening . This book is often called one of the funniest books ever written and yes, I agree some bits were amusing but most of the time the comedy just felt slapstick and not that funny. We were asked to read this for school and that might be why I didn’t like it but I struggled to finish it and that’s why its right here(For the sake of one of my friends who simply loves the book.). The issue, I simply deduced was that the jokes, called timeless on the cover itself ironically, were anything but. They felt like they’d lost their appeal to the ravages of time. So, how was this a classic?
Secondly, Catcher In the Rye by J.D Salinger. Hailed and heralded to be ‘ the coming of age story’ every teenager should absolutely read, I was highly disappointed. This was one where the lack of time-less-ness really struck, I could see that it must have been great at the time it was written as I read it, but I just did not relate at absolutely any level. I read it ,but I didn’t enjoy it so much. The question again being, how was this a classic?
Next, My Family and The Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. This book was said to be very hilarious and very timeless but it ended up boring me and being reduced to nothing but a animal fact book. Again, I read this for school so maybe that was why I didn’t like it so much.The question, for the third time being, how was this a classic?
I had began believing that a book being ‘classic’ was just a fad and in all honesty, the best the book could be was a one-time read. But then, I read one real jewel. The one book I call ‘classic’ proudly and maybe there’s more like it that I simply haven’t read. This did what I thought and expected a classic to do, it stirred my very soul. This one being, To Kill A Mockingbird, By Harper Lee. This book was funny, sad, emotional, relatable and respected, all at the same time. It was timeless, truly, it talked about a time and place I had never been in and I could still relate, still laugh, still experience and still be affected. This is one of absolute favourite books and I like it the all the more because it broke my rather concreted belief that classics are anything but classic.
So, to answer the topic, Are Classics ‘Classic’? I’d say it depends on you, the kind of person you are, your age, your mental frame and your beliefs. For all of us, something will be classic, while for others, it won’t.