Why I hate classics

Last week I said this week’s post would be about my cover. I changed my mind. There’s still a little while before the cover releases and I want the blog post about the cover to coincide with the release of the cover. Makes sense, right?

So this week’s post is mostly about me being dumb. Let me explain before you jump on the yeah-he-is-pretty-dumb bandwagon. I enjoy books. I love stories of all kinds. Real, fiction, book, movie, graphic novel, whatever. Characters and their journeys will interest me forever. Reading is also an enjoyable hobby, a way to relax.

Now, as an author I feel obligated to read and appreciate classic literature. Shakespeare. Dante. Fitzgerald. Hemmingway… They are all great authors, I’m sure of it. The only problem for me is, every time I try to read a classic I have to decode it. The language is dated and I have to look up an outdated word on every page. I don’t get the puns because they aren’t relevant with today’s society.

Take Mark Twain for example. I see a lot of hilarious and true Mark Twain quotes. So a while back I tried to read Huck Finn because Twain was such a funny guy. Ten percent in to the book I had spent more time decoding than actually reading.

I guess what I’m getting at is I want reading to be fun and not a chore. I read to escape thought, not drown myself in it. That probably makes me seem a little dense, but that’s the way it is for me. I find much more enjoyment from authors like Joe Hill or Jonathan Maberry or Kevin Hearne because I understand their language and reference base.

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what I’m doing wrong. Or you can call me an uneducated jackass if you really want. Whichever’s cool.

8 thoughts on “Why I hate classics

  1. I’ve often wondered how a book gets labeled a “classic”. Is it because they’re really that great and timeless, or because it’s viewed as too much bother to overhaul English classes’ required reading lists?

    • I think it’s too hard to deal with controversy of current reading. How would schools deal with books with cussing or violence or sex scenes? There’s something safe about a book written a hundred or more years ago, I think.

  2. When I read a classic I realize that the people of today and the people of yesteryear are so much the same. What made the heart beat faster then love, fear, want, need hasn’t changed over time.

    I like visiting the future and the past for that reason. 🙂

    • Very well put Emaginette. I understand your logic and I very much enjoyed the first 2/3 of The Count of Monte Cristo for the very same reason. Who can’t get down with a good revenge story? I know I can. It was just so long winded and so full of things I don’t know what are I lost interest. But you’re very right about the most basic of human needs never changing.

  3. That’s where we’re different, Alex. I love the classics but then, I love old English. I’ve been rereading The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens and I agree with emaginette, the issues remain the same as much as people’s characteristics do as well.

    What I am having difficulty with is a modern book (2012) on evolution (with which I do have issues but am reading with an open mind so that I can better understand what it’s all about). The language is arrogant and the premises to which he refers are subjective in the extreme. Even my son who is an avid evolutionist had to agree on these.

    I think what I mean is that, as long as the content is correct, interesting and reasonably intelligible, I’ll read it. It’s for these reasons I like your work (no brown-nosing, just truth…).

    • Thank you very much for the compliment. I’m glad you like my writing.:)

      I very much understand what you mean about the modern book. I have tried to read something, I don’t remember what, that was over my head. And playing down very complex subjects is very annoying. Ah! I remember now. I was trying to figure out something called Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s a physics hypothetical scenario that I was trying to learn about. But everything I read was written for a 72nd year physics student, not a layman like myself.

      As far as the classics go I would like to try again and maybe it will grow on me, maybe not. As I get older my tastes change a lot so I can’t say you will never see me sitting down with the Canterbury Tales, just not today. For the moment I’m trying to work myself up for Hemmingway.

  4. What I DO like about some classics is the way stories often contain a great deal of redemption. But I’m not interested in reading every classic just because it is a classic. One story i enjoyed immensely was Robinson Crusoe. Does that count as a classic?

    I definitely agree with you about some of the classics that are read in school these days. Didnt get them when I was forced to read them in high school. Don’t get them now.

    Great post, though. Very thought-provoking!

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