I read a blog post yesterday that questioned whether or not the classics are necessary to be read. It made me remember that I once questioned that myself. I must admit that when I was in high school I didn’t read a lot of the classics that one was supposed to have read at that age. I read some but others I attempted and just couldn’t get through it, at least not then anyway. However, since then I have read a lot of the classics that people always talk about and refer to quotes from as books that are just meant to be read in one’s lifetime and I must say that I think reading the classics makes a writer better.
There was a certain standard in literature that the classics upheld, a certain caliber that they were an example of. A certain level of writing that one had to be qualified to have in order to really truly have their books on people’s shelves. In the days of the classics they wrote deep, thought provoking stories, and breathed a particular depth into their characters.
In today’s society, while you have your writers who have that special something, who are of that caliber and who do uphold those standards of classic literature, there are far too many writers who haven’t met that standard and they don’t hold themselves to a particular style of writing in which they don’t just settle for putting anything on the page. I thought about some of the classics that I have managed to read (some later on than others) that made a difference to me and had an effect on my writing. Maybe some of these had an effect on you too.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- WutheringHeights by Emily Bronte
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- The SecretGarden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Here are some classics that I still have yet to read (although I should’ve read them already by now) but that I plan on making an attempt to read sometime soon.
- A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
What are your favorite classic novels? What classics would you still like to read if you weren’t so busy writing your own novels?
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