If you want to become a voracious reader of classical literature but find it confusing or intimidating, you are not alone. Classics can seem daunting and even dull at first glance. They are often long and wordy, but once you adapt to the writing style, the stories are exciting and thought-provoking.
Classic books can be challenging to read as they often take place at different times and use literary devices such as symbolism and lengthy descriptions that are not commonly used in writing today.
However, if you try them, you may realize that you prefer classic literature to modern literature. Here are five tips for how to begin your journey with classics.
If you’re intimidated by long, complex books, it would be a good idea to start with an easy book. This will help give you momentum.
Perhaps try an easy classic for teens or children or short classics that can be read in a day. Or maybe more modern classics from the 20th century with easier-to-digest writing.
To get you started, here are a few suggestions for easy classics:
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
One way to hit the ticks on your reading list is to set a reading goal of just a few daily pages. Perhaps ten to twenty, pressuring yourself with more may be overly complicated and put you off.
Taking your time and reading at a manageable pace will help you understand and avoid the book better, making it a much more enjoyable experience.
Often when a book has a long-winded plot, it can be easy to lose interest and put it down. However, taking notes may help you solve this problem.
Books with a large cast of characters, multiple timelines, and lengthy plots are often exciting when understood well, so taking notes to help you recall details will allow you to enjoy the reading experience to the fullest.
Read alongside a summary
One of the best ways to make the process of getting through a classic much easier is to read a chapter summary alongside each chapter to ensure you have understood specific details, settings, symbols, and themes.
Similarly, it may also be helpful to research the book's content. Since classics are often set in different times and places, briefly exploring the historical, cultural, and political context may be helpful.
Consider your personal preferences
Reading a book should be about enjoyment rather than hitting a specific goal. Once you take this into mind, your reading journey will become much smoother.
For example, if you prefer fiction about real life and family problems, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë would be a great pick.
If you prefer thrillers and murder mysteries, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky may interest you.
Books are a wonderful expression of art, emotion, and creativity. Works of literature are beautifully crafted as authors communicate feelings and ideas to the reader. As Kurt Vonnegut, an American novelist, wrote, “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life bearable”.
So perhaps these tips will make your journey into the literary universe smoother.
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