Friday, 5 June 2020
Paperback's Pondering's: Why I Hate Classics
Before I begin my rant, I would just like to call attention to something that has been happening in the world as of late:
As pretty much all of you know, across the world people are fighting with Black people to put an end to police brutality and racism. So, even though I will be going on a humorous rant about my hatred towards classics, I did want to highlight some amazing books by Black authors, that I would be proud to call classics in the future:
The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas: harrowing novel about police brutality
Nervous Conditions by: Tsitsi Dangarembga: the experiences of a young girl growing up in colonial Zimbabwe
Homegoing by: Yaa Gyasi: chronicles the life of a Ghanaian family from the 18th century to present day.
Let's Talk About Love by: Claire Kann: fluffy contemporary with an asexual lead.
I guess for a lot of people "hate" is a strong word. But, I can't deny that I pretty much hate classics. I have been talking about this a lot with many people recently, so I figured I should get a post out and fully discuss my gripe with classic novels. Also I'm really sorry if my language is kinda harsh in this, but it's all in good fun! If you like classic novels, then honestly I really envy you. I just can't get into them, ok?!
Also sidenote, I define classic as a book published before the 1950's, because The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was published in the 60's and it is easily one of the best books I have ever read. But, I consider it to be too modern for my definition of a classic.
If you've ever been in an English class, then chances are you've had to read a classic before. I have had to explore the likes of Pride and Prejudice, Paradise Lost, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and countless others. The thing is though, I really didn't enjoy any of them!
If you follow me on Goodreads then you may see that I tend to rate classics way lower than other books. And even if a book is higher rated, I usually say it's "good for being a classic." Truth be told, I honestly just find classics to be the most boring things you could read. The characters are dull, lifeless, often not diverse at all, and the plots are overly complicated and not easy to understand. If I have to read a sentence over and over again to decipher what it means, then reading becomes a chore. And I never want reading to be a chore.
The truth is, I don't think I have ever read a classic where I have fully understood the story and I haven't skim-read. Most of the time I have to google the plot beforehand to actually understand what is going on in plain English, and then I will skim the story. I have to be totally familiar with the complete plot of a classic before going in, otherwise there is no way I will comprehend anything that is going on.
I find classics tedious and uninspiring. There is often an absence of action that I like, and because the characters all talk in ways we don't, I just end up finding them pretentious. I was in a class last year where the professor was an Austen scholar, and she and the other students would talk for hours about how dreamy Mr. Darcy is. I just kept thinking: how do you guys find him even remotely interesting? Have you READ Crazy Rich Asians?! Nick Young, now there's a heartthrob.
Like I said, this isn't to bash anyone who likes classics. I understand that they hold a lot of significance in the world of writing, and they have stood the test of time for a reason. If I could sit down and truly be engrossed in Little Women, I totally would! I often feel left out of the conversation when everyone around me is gushing about classics. But alas, my mind is just not built for them. Maybe it's my attention span, maybe it's because I just haven't found the right one yet. I figured it was time to rant because some of us just aren't built for classics. And that's ok! I can say Pride and Prejudice sucked. The world won't end.
So I want to know, what is your opinion on classics? Do you have a vendetta against them like I do? Or, what are you favourite classics? I'm willing to chat!
Emily @ Paperback Princess