Author Topic: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?  (Read 2733 times)  

Offline Eric S. Kim

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Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« on: November 12, 2016, 05:28:40 PM »
Now that the popularity of e-books skyrocketed, I tried to go back to reading classic literature. Think Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Dickens, Cervantes, etc. While I still enjoy reading the classics, I'm starting to find my interest growing less and less as time flies by.

Maybe it's because the plots, locations, and characters are so outdated. Anything that's modernized (or just anything that's set in the 21st Century) is something that I look forward to more. Maybe it's because of the overly poetic narrative and dialogue that dominate works like Hamlet, Les Miserables, Of Mice & Men, and more. Or maybe the e-books that are popular right now on Kindle appear to be more hip and hot than the books that are considered "timeless."

I don't know. I've been loving classic literature since my teenage years. Now that I'm older, the things that draw me in with these books are starting to shrink.
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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 05:37:18 PM »
If hip and hot are your thing, then go for the modern. However, I just read a 60-year-old novel, Night of the Hunter, and it was powerful despite dialect, poetic description, and the hopelessly un-hip characters. To each his/her own. 

Offline Victoria Wright

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 06:04:43 PM »
No.

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Offline Shanna Moncuse

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 06:11:34 PM »
I've never really been into classical literature, but it might just be because of the books they made us read in high school.


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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 06:32:29 PM »
No. In fact, I recently picked up Moby-Dick again and realized how much humor it contains. I don't mean that "it's funny because it's dated." I mean that, as an adult, I now catch what I missed as a teenager: author Herman Melville has placed some truly humorous characters and situations into what is otherwise a sober and serious story.

Offline Athena Grayson

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 06:45:39 PM »
I'm actually finding it more and more relevant. Plus ca change, plus ca same old crap.

I do find it kind of easier to read the classics I was forced to read in school because I'm reading them in e-format, so the kinesthetic memory doesn't bring the same, "I'm going to be tested on this" feeling. :D

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Offline NeedWant

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 06:50:59 PM »
I've never been into classical literature. I read books that interest me, I don't read them just because a bunch of critics decided they're "classics." I read literary fiction but I don't read a novel just because it won a Pulitzer Prize, I read it if it interests me. Some people only read award winners and critical darlings, and that's pretty sad.

Martin Eden by Jack London is one of my favorite novels. I don't think it's considered a classic but it was published in 1909 and I read it because it interested me (it's about a writer) not because it was written by Jack London or the year it was published. In fact, it's the only Jack London book I've read so far. I don't plan on reading The Call of the Wild because it simply doesn't interest me.

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 06:54:02 PM »
Hard to beat Dickens for plot, description and characters.
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Offline Herefortheride

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 08:21:47 PM »
I went on a really long Classical lit binge read that lasted from my college years till about ten years later. Read so many works considered classic and to be honest I had to force myself to finish them. Felt like homework that I didn't want to do. I wanted to like them but most of them used so many out-dated phrases and referenced random people from the past, and of course literary meaning they often don't follow any well-defined route just made a lot of them a bore.

I wanted to like them. But often I just found them dreadful.

When I was going through classic horror I was put to sleep by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein is DREADFUL. Just a terribly written book. Dracula was ok, but as I said, even though I REALLY wanted to like them they just couldn't keep my interest like any contemporary writer could.

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Offline Christina Ochs

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 08:47:22 PM »
I've been feeling the opposite, like so much current stuff I read is trite and banal. Including my own writing. :-) So little truly stands the test of time. When I get into one of these moods I always return to the classics. Tolstoy, Dickens, Eliot, Austen and Hugo never disappoint me.


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Offline Victoria J

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2016, 08:51:40 PM »
No.

Offline GARael

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2016, 08:55:26 PM »
It really depends on what it is. I'll never grow tired of Hugo, Dickens or Dostoyevsky, but there are some classics I reread only to find myself less than enamored. I think different stories, modern or classic, can have varying appeal depending on where you are in life and what speaks to you.
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Offline Richardcrasta

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2016, 09:03:52 PM »
No. I have been reading Aesop's Fables on my smartphone, recently. And Plato's "Republic." And find it impossible to read most current or recent bestsellers: they just fail to grip me.
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Offline Ryn Shell

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2016, 09:06:55 PM »
No.

Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2016, 09:10:58 PM »
Yes less and less of the time. And I always seem to have less and less time nowadays.
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Offline MJSauthor

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2016, 09:13:01 PM »
My favorite book (including modern works), if I had to choose, is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Getting in classic literature can be challenging, but most of that is just the language difference. Get used to the jargon and you may find some gems.

As a side note, when i first jumped into Crime and Punishment, a couple days into it, I got selected for jury duty. So read that one at your own risk.

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2016, 10:08:17 PM »
No. I read, and love, a lot of 19th and 18th century books. Gutenberg.org has been an absolute blessing. It's the current literature, whether genre or literary, that I often find to be trite in comparison.

Offline T.C.Seiko

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2016, 12:15:04 AM »
I'm actually finding myself returning to classics I've abandoned long ago.

I read 'The Great Gatsby' in high school, but didn't care about it. After I read that Haruki Murakami considered 'The Great Gatsby' his favourite book, I gave it another try and fell in love: 'The Great Gatsby' is now one of my favourite books and I just borrowed it this week from a library here in Kyoto for another read.

The term  'classics' encompasses so many genres, writers and eras that it's difficult to make a general statement.

I tried to read Dickens: 'Tale of Two Cities' had some great moments, but I didn't particularly enjoy it, even found it bland at times. 'Hard Times' I couldn't even finish. But then I read the first paragraph of 'David Copperfield' and couldn't stop.

Ernest Hemingway was a writer I used to enjoy in high school: I liked his short stories; 'The Old Man and The Sea' gave me an appreciation of what I associated with real literature at the time. After high school, I tried his novels and could finish neither 'The Sun Also Rises' nor 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'.

Now, two months after I came to Japan, I accidentally stumbled upon 'The Sun Also Rises' and suddenly the words spoke to me. Maybe it's my age, or the current circumstances where I'm adapting to a life in foreign country that changed my perception, but I enjoyed Hemingway more than any other book I've read since I came here (among those writers: Brandon Sanderson, Iain M. Banks, James Patterson and Sean Platt).

I actually enjoyed Hemingway so much that I'm going to re-visit some authors I've enjoyed, but read too few of: Mark Twain, Salinger, Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway
 

Offline T E Scott Writer

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2016, 02:03:40 AM »
Classical literature (as opposed to classic literature) in the uk normally means ancient greek/latin texts, I was looking forward to a discussion or the odyssey!

Seriously though, for me reading is like eating. Sometimes I want a slap up meal in a posh restaurant so I'll reach for Joyce or Austen or someone, and the food is amazing but very rich. And sometimes I want fish and chips and I'll reach for a comforting harry potter.

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Offline Bluebonnet

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2016, 02:15:48 AM »
No. The classics are as appealing to me as they were when I first read them.

Offline Ian Kharitonov

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2016, 02:35:49 AM »
Aesop's Fables are hugely popular among Kindle readers.
The Donkey in Meadow has been ripping the bestseller charts recently.

Offline alawston

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 03:00:23 AM »
My wife is on a rampage through the classics at the moment. Then she read Girl On The Train. To say she was unimpressed would be something of an understatement...


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Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 03:51:23 AM »
Great discussion topic! . . . . I'm going to move this to the Book Corner . . . . sorry for any confusion!

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Offline JTriptych

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2016, 04:22:54 AM »
They're called classics for a reason. I rarely read any indie stuff, and prefer older literature.

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Do you find classical literature less and less appealing?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2016, 04:30:44 AM »
As with any books, a general genre is only part of the story.  I tend to like mysteries and thrillers. Still, I've read books in those categories that I didn't care for at all. And I tend NOT to care to read memoirs or autobiographies, even of people I admire. But I recently picked up Springsteen's Born to Run and enjoyed it very much.

"The Classics" are the same for me. I've read some that I really enjoyed very much. . . . . and others that I absolutely could not see what all the fuss was about.

I have been picking up some minor classics lately as they tend to be free. Some I enjoy; some not so much.

It definitely IS the case, of course, that there are a LOT of books out there . . . . . I don't think I could go 'all classics' any more than I could go 'all contemporary'. I like a mix and when a book was written doesn't matter to me as much as whether or not I end up enjoying it.

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