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Anybody else right here discovering themselves liking older/basic literature extra?

(Reposted due to Rule 3)

Final January, I discovered a fairly low cost copy of Moby Dick in my native bookstore and after studying it for just a few weeks, it actually made me recognize studying much more! I began a fairly small assortment, consisting of each newer and basic literature and whereas I’ve completed studying extra of the newer works, I discover myself get pleasure from studying the older ones much more.

Proper now my favourite e-book is Dante’s Divine Comedy (Ciardi translation in the event you’re questioning) and whereas I am not completed with it but, I’ve actually come to understand the ideas and completely different symbolisms current in it, in addition to the poetry itself.

I might love to listen to your ideas on this!

Comments ( 37 )

  1. My thoughts are these: there is usually a reason why a work has stood the test of time.

  2. I used to find classic books, for the most part, very difficult to follow in terms of plot, but I loved the beauty of the language. But after reading more imaginative literature (stuff in the fantasy genre), and coming back to Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte etc., it’s astonishing how good the plots are and vivid the imagery is. It’s like I had to sort of retrain my brain to imagine literary imagery!

  3. Well, yeah, them being among the very best works over long periods of time is much of the point (some classics are considered so more for significance than literary value), it’s almost bound to feel less variable than reading modern works. If we try to pick out the modern works we really truly believe people will still be reading in two hundred years they’ll probably be at least pretty darn good, too.

    I think a preference for a specific period/aesthetic movement would be a different question.

  4. I dont find myself.. i like nothing more than classics lose myself in the wisdom of the past

  5. Dumas is probably the best novelist of all time, and he was incredibly prolific.

    Have fun!

  6. It’s harder to sort the gems from the trash with contemporary books. But yes some classics are amazing. I recommend the Death of Ivan Illych.

  7. I really enjoy classics… but I do tend to push them back on the to read list because I find it a fun addition to reading a book if it’s new/has a current fandom that makes reading feel more like a community

    I try to work in a classic every 5 books atm

  8. While not classic literature, I currently am hunting for books from 1989 to 2005 in a very specific category. I enjoy the books from the Wilderness Years more than that of Modern Who.

  9. I’ve been reading the classics almost exclusively since I was 15 years old. The only modern works I’ll bother with are historical biographies and the extremely occasional novel; I’d wager I’ve read maybe three “modern” novels in the last 5 years. Classics are classics for a reason; they transcend time and generational gaps and sociohistorical context to deliver a message that is just as poignant as it was when the work was first published. Not to say there aren’t good books being published as we speak, but why waste time rummaging through piles of trash when Time itself has already compiled a list of its brightest and greatest?

  10. I do like them. It takes me a bit to build momentum in them now between being busy and having less energy, but once I get going, it’s great. For example, I’m reading Pride and Prejudice. The first 40-50% took me forever, but now I’m flying.

  11. I just read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë. It’s almost ignored in the Brontë canon, but I loved it

  12. God no. Feels like torture, feels like I’m a kid in school again.

  13. Nope. The dated prose and language just generally sucks all the enjoyment out for me. Some people read for prose and some people like me read for enjoyment based on the stories and characters. To me prose just needs to be servicable and secondary to the other stuff. There is nothing wrong with being in either camp unless you try and force books onto people that you know they won’t enjoy.

  14. I love the Iliad and the Aeneid. Not so fond of the Odyssey, though.

  15. obsession with the classical and traditional is gonna be a big fat yikes from me

  16. I mean that’s why it’s called “classic.”

  17. “Classic” is hit and miss like anything else.

  18. When you listen to oldies on the radio, or read classic books, or watch classic movies, you’re not getting everything from that time period. You’re getting the best.

    It’s not that books or whatever from a certain time were better, it’s that you’re not reading everything that came out.

    Books today are great, but we also have all the other books that aren’t so great available too, without the filter of time to help us discern which is which.

    So really, the question to me boils down to “Do people like reading good books?”

  19. The older I get, the more garbage I waste time reading, yes. A lot of this literature stood the test of time for a reason. I don’t love all of it of course, but there is a quality of story telling to them that makes them stand out. And it’s not to say garbage wasn’t released in the past, those books are all long forgotten.

  20. Very much appreciate older/classic literature more and more. last year, I read the first maybe 100+ pages of Moby Dick, and it was good! I was surprised how funny it was. I will eventually finish it.

    I’ve been extremely drawn to British books published in the first half of the 20th century, especially contemporaries of Agatha Christie – I had no idea there could be so many great mystery novels out there. Bonus, they are usually free or cheap on Kindle because they are out of copyright.

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep working my way backwards in time, reading so many books published in the 1800s, the 1700s, and then just keep going.

    It’s so fun and wholesome! Lol. It’s really nice sometimes not to read contemporary books that echo all of the problems of today’s society. I get enough of that in my daily life, thank you.

  21. It’s really interesting to me how many people view time as an “editor” or “filter” that preserves the best of the past. To me it seems obvious that texts are preserved and disseminated for many reasons that have very little if anything to do with quality. And your enjoyment (or not) in reading them is not simply because of the quality of the writing either. Their cultural position changes the way in which they are received. Even if you wanted to you can’t read Moby Dick, you can only read “Moby Dick,” which involves not only the text but the 175 years of cultural importance accorded to it.

  22. Absolutely not. Litterature has evolved like all fields, I feel somehow the classics are a bit of “dusty”, they give me this impression. I love new and contemporary authors

  23. Fellow Dante stan here: you should definitely get a copy of either Mark Musa, or JG Nichols translation of the commedia. Those come the closest to translating the Divine Comedy in a way that stays spiritually true to the original, without out and out becoming flagrant authorial reinvention. Read it aloud in Italian, too. Even if you don’t speak Italian, it’s just beautiful to read aloud.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for classic literature. I’ve been reading more of it to cover some of my blindspots because I’m now in an intellectual space where I can actually appreciate it. It’s delightful when you are in the right frame of mind and you want something with more rigor than the pop offerings.

    Although as a lover of fantasy and genre literature, I also love me some of that.

  24. I feel like the 20th century offered us some classics that are just terrible to read (Joyce, Faulkner, etc) and sort of sucked the joy out of reading.

  25. I got really into Steinbeck this year and it was just so beautiful. Also, some of the 60s writers like Mary McCarthy and Truman Capote I just loved. Finding myself reading more books from just the earlier part of last century not necessarily many centuries old.
    Some other good books: Patricia Highsmith’s Talented Mr Ripley book series,
    M Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge,
    Collected Stories of John Cheever,
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and
    Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis–so clever.

  26. Longer older books especially. I don’t like spending a month with only one book but I finished Monte Cristo in February and Les mis this month… It’s definitely worth spending some more time really digging into a good old book.

  27. Yes. I love classical literature more than modern books. The characters resemble real humans more. They are less idealized compared to characters today. I would also say that the stories themselves are more believable in older books. Today readers are encouraged to put themselves into books. But, I feel as if in the past authors tried to capture reality (as they understood it) instead of writing purely escapist fiction. Because of this I love older books much more.

  28. I was on a sci-fi kick the last few years – I read a ton of Arthur C Clarke in that time. Once I was ready for something else, I devoted my attention to the classics: The Outsiders, East of Eden, Watership Down and To Kill A Mockingbird so far. Somehow I never read any of those in school. Now I’m on to The Grapes of Wrath. I’m not sure what I think of the writing style so far (up to about chapter 8). I think this one will take a while (I’m not the fastest reader as it is). Unsure what I’ll do next. Maybe Huck Finn. I’ve read a lot of Mark Twain but somehow never that one yet either.

  29. I don’t say I prefer “classcs”, but i’ve read several that I enjoyedp quite a bit.

    Several few weeks ago I discovered [Standard eBooks](, which has quite a number of public domain novels in both kindle and kobo formats, as well as plain epub. I’ve since downloaded fifty or so, and have finished reading 3 of them:
    Jane Eyre / Brönte
    Elmer Gantry / Lewis
    Sister Carrie / Dreiser

    All of these I really enjoyed, especially Jane Eyre. Currently reading The Scarlet Letter, which is not impressing me as much.

    If you use them, kindly leave a donation.

  30. I don’t think so. Nobody likes classics. You are very special e intellectually superior

  31. Yes, I like them. Not because they are old, but because they are classic and there is always a reason why a book is considered a classic. They are a warranty to me.

    The Iliad, the Odissey, two Greek tragedies, the Divine Comedy, Perceval, Don Quixote are some of my favourite books that I’ve ever read. I don’t want to flex my ability to read them at all. They are masterpieces because they are written to be pleasant to read, not boring or challenging (ok, the Divine Comedy is more difficult because it deals with many phylosophical problems, however its ability to speak to the reader is incredible).

    Sure, I’ve chosen books that I particularly like and are generally deemed as classics. Even in the past there was bad literature, like today. It’s not the time that determines how good a book is. And I’ve read also classics that are critically acclaimed, but I wasn’t particularly fond of, because they were too complex to understand.

    However, I think that we should not worship classic books as elitist works of art, as if they were more difficult than today’s books. This is not only wrong, but risks to estrange people from reading them.

  32. If I decide to pick one up, I’ll usually enjoy it more than when I was younger.

    However, I’m much less likely to read classics nowadays. My tastes have sharpened to few genres, and I find myself experimenting less and less as time goes on.

  33. Listen to John Ciardi’s reading of The Inferno.

  34. Mobs Dick did it for me too! I was so into that book, I inadvertently started to adopt its language. My sister looked at me like I was an idiot once when, trying to get her attention, I yelled out “avast there!” After that book, I was curious about other classics and more difficult reads. Today, I usually have three books going at a time, and one of them is always a classic.

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