Do you ever re-read any of the classic novels you either chose to read or more likely were assigned to read when you were younger?
I don’t do a great deal of re-reading, except for books that I use for library lessons. However, I do have a few favorites that I like to re-read from time to time. (To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Giver, Jane Eyre, Gone With the Wind, Atlas Shrugged and maybe a few others.) And occasionally I will re-read another classic novel because a young relative has been assigned to read it for school. I want the book to be fresh in my mind in case they actually want to discuss the book with me. Sometimes people avoid talking books with me because well, I’m a book nerd and it’s often hard to shut me up once I get started.
So, if you do re-read classic novels is your reaction to them now different from when you first read them?
I sometimes find myself questioning the experts who assigned these novels “classic” status. Some of them are truly horrible and I’m not just talking about the storyline. I’m talking about the writing. When I was in graduate school I had a professor chastise me for being critical of a critically acclaimed novel. I don’t remember what it was, but I didn’t like it and I wasn’t going to pretend otherwise. Still for a long time, it was hard for me to share my less than positive opinions about classic novels. I just kept my opinions to myself.
Now days. . . well, I’m survived cancer, several deployments, raised two boys – all while reading, reviewing and recommending hundreds of books. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I do have a good background for having an “educated” opinion. I’m not afraid to say that in my opinion, some “classic” novels are just horrid.
What book has me on my soap box, you might ask? Lord of the Flies. My young cousin, who will be a freshman in high school in the fall, has been assigned to read this book over the summer. I didn’t like it when I read it a couple of decades ago, but thought I’d read along with her just for fun. Time has not made me like the story line any better, but time has also made me question why this book is thought to be great literature. I find the writing to be jumbled and pretentious.
What a horrible book to assign to young people who already have many different options competing for their time. This is one of those books that will suck the love of reading right out of a bookworm’s soul.
Of course I’m only a few chapters into the book. It’s possible somewhere between now and the ned of the book, a light bulb will go on and I’ll understand why the book is a “classic.” Don’t hold your breath.
What classic book do you think is just horrible?