Why I'm Reading More Classic Literature and My Current Reading List

Sunday, September 17, 2017

There's no denying that I'm a huge bookworm and read at practically any given opportunity, but if I have a choice then I always find myself reaching for young adult novels or something sci-fi. I started studying English literature at A Level last year and, aside from the required novels for the course, I didn't really do a lot of wider reading of classics as they weren't of a huge interest to me. However, over the summer when I had to read some 20th-century literature for my coursework, I really fell in love with some of the novels I selected, including Northanger Abbey, Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby. Since this point, I've decided to read a lot more classic novels, so in this post, I thought I'd share with you some of my main motivators for reading more classic literature, as well as what books are on my TBR list, so I hope you enjoy it!

1 - I'm Studying English Literature
As an English literature student, you're expected to have a huge love of novels and read for enjoyment, which is definitely true for me. However, as much as I love the likes of Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare, English literature requires the reading of more advanced and often older novels. Not only has reading classics helped to improve my understanding of specific literary eras and have a greater appreciation for their work, I also feel as though it's improved my all-around knowledge as a literature student - something that'll definitely pay off when I'm in university.

2 - I Enjoyed The Classics I Read On Holiday
One of the reasons why I never really tried classic literature was because I thought it'd be too boring and not interesting, but I was proved wrong when reading books like Northanger Abbey and Wuthering Heights on holiday. I enjoyed these equally, if not more, than the young adult books that I brought with me, and although the narrative style was difficult to grasp at first, the quality and engagement of them wasn't compromised.

3 - They're More Challenging
If you've read any of my book reviews, you'll know that quite often a criticism that I have is that some books are too easy and don't challenge me as a reader, which is partially due to young adult novels being more aimed at younger teenagers these days, and also because growing up I've always tended to read above my level. This desire for a challenging and gripping read was definitely fulfilled with the classic novels I read, and they allowed me to really think and be puzzled at times while trying to understand them, which I much prefer than a light, easygoing book that I can finish in a couple of hours.

4 - I Wanted To Broaden My Horizons
As much as I love reading young adult fantasy and contemporary novels, at times it can really become repetitive and boring. Character archetypes become incredibly cliche, plot points are expected and overdone, and as a whole a lot of the novels feel like duplicates as I've read so many. I really wanted to expand my repertoire and explore new genres in search of something unique or at least different to what I usually read, and classic literature definitely allows this, being a complete change from what I'm used to.

5 - I Don't Need To Have An Analytical Eye
Whenever I'm reading a book for college, I can't just live in the moment and appreciate it for what it is, as I'm subconsciously analysing it in preparation for study. Even when I read a young adult book, I always presume that there's a possibility of reviewing it on my blog and so my mind is thinking over possible points worthy of mentioning while I'm reading it. With classic novels, which I probably won't review and I'm not studying at A Level, I can enjoy them to their fullest and not have to worry about techniques or analysis, instead just appreciating the novels for what they are.

I thought it'd also be worth sharing the novels that I plan on reading in the upcoming future. I ordered all of these classics last week and I'm eager to dive into them, but I'll definitely have to wait until I'm not drowning in homework and revision to start them. They're all Gothic novels, as I've found this to be the area of literature that interests me most, both in the way that they're written and the historical context. The books that I'm hoping to read are:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - after falling in love with Wuthering Heights, I was eager to try something by one of the other Bronte sisters, and Jane Eyre has always been a classic novel that I've wanted to read. It's been referenced often in books that I've read and TV shows, and after hearing so much about it I'm definitely eager to read it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - another novel that I've heard so much about, and despite already knowing the main premise and what happens in this novel, I really want to read it. It seems like an essential that everyone must read, and so I definitely had to pick it up.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - I've mentioned often that I'm quite a fan of science fiction and horror novels, and considering that this classic features elements of both of these, I knew that it was worth reading it.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Stevenson - this is another Gothic novel that I've heard a lot about but never actually read, and thought that it'd be worth picking up for only £2. My mum actually suggested reading this one, and I'm looking forward to trying it.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - this is the only novel on my TBR list that I hadn't previously heard of, but I ordered it making the most of the 6 for £10 offer. The synopsis sounds incredibly intriguing and definitely up my street, making this possibly the most anticipated read on the list.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - I've read a lot of vampire books in my time of reading young adult novels, and so I thought why not read the one that started all vampire fantasy? I'm definitely excited to read this, and it's another novel that I've heard lots about already.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you'd like me to write more about classic literature in the future then make sure you let me know, as I'd be happy to do so. Thank you again for all of the continual blog support, as I really appreciate it and it makes me so happy to have a growing community here on my blog.

Love from Daisy x

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