Sunday, 21 October 2012

Classic Club October Meme: Why are you reading the classics?

This month's question, I think, is a difficult one to answer. It's like being asked by someone you love, "Why do you love me?". How could one answer that kind of question and be correct?

Why, I will try to answer that anyway. I've been reading the classics since I knew English, or even before. When I was little, I amuse myself with historical stories, reading about great historical events such as the World War and about great people such as Alexander the Great. I heard the name Milton and Shakespeare every now and then, but I was not very good with English, and therefore I wasn't able to read any of those works.

One day, I went to a friend's house and she lent me a simplified version of Ivanhoe. That's the first contact I remember with classics. The next was Sherlock Holmes, being the first classic I read in not simplified or abridged version.

One thing led to another. Before I knew I'd been reading Rabindranath Tagore, Agatha Christie, jane Austen, and others. In high school, I read Shakespeare for the first time. The more I read the classic, the more I love it.

Actually I have tried to read novels other than classic. But maybe there are reasons for my prefering the classic to the others. Let's figure that out.

  • I love history. I love mythology. Classics are full of that. Through the classics, I can imagine how life was in certain places and times in history. Also, the classics mention more mythology. The more I read, the more I know. I love to link new knowledge with old ones, and reading the classics give me just the right material to do so.
  • I always think that it needs more than just 'good' to be able to survive for decades or even centuries. I believe that there must be something in the classics that makes people read them again and again.
  • The deep philosophy inside those book always makes me happy. It broadens my mind and makes me see the world in different point of view. I can understand people's thoughts without being obliged to agree with them. I can see what lies beyond people's conducts, that not all bad deeds are bad by nature, that sometimes people just can't find the right way to do something, that sometimes tragedy is just an outcome of differences in opinions. Those book teach me respect towards people and their choices.
  • The language is another matter. The vast vocabulary in classic novels captivates my heart. That's why I love poetry, that's why I love Shakespeare. I love to read how great people of the past make use of words in magnificent ways.

Even all those words cannot describe my motive in reading classics. I just simply love them. Love doesn't always need reasons. Perhaps it's just like Pablo Neruda's poem:

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this."


  1. I'm very impressed with all your reading accomplishments! And that is a lovely thought about love not needing reasons -- that's so true! I love the poem, too. :)

    1. I've read just a little of great books in human history. I need to find more time to read. Actually, fellow bloggers like you and the rest give me extra motivation to read more and more. Thanks.

  2. The words and vocabulary is one of my reasons too to read classics. From these kind of books we got entertainment as well as deep philosophy of life.

    1. That's right. I like archaic and long words. They sound so awesome. I also adore those writers for being able to find just the right word to express their thoughts.

  3. Great reasoning for reading the classics! It seems to always start with "that one book," doesn't it? The language and deeper meaning are two of my reasons for reading classics as well. I like a challenge, and I want to be thinking about something. Some people find it funny when I say this, but I don't read a book solely to be entertained. If I wanted a quick-fix moment of entertainment, I'd watch a movie. Books are such much more than entertainment, hence why I read classics.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!