UR ENLIGHTENED: 4 Reasons Why You Should be Reading the Classics
Written by Angelica
I have been making my way through the Barnes and Noble “Classics List” since I was in junior high. My parents stop questioning why I asked for those books a long time ago, accepting the fact that their child was a strange and nerdy little girl. But now as an adult, I am constantly being asked why I continue to read these old-fashioned texts our high school English teachers made us read when, let’s be honest, the majority of us used Spark Notes. Well, here is why I read – and why we all should read – classics.
1. Classics contain some of the most epic adventures ever written.
The adventures you find in classics are the ones we all dreamed of as kids. Books such as Treasure Island, Peter Pan, and The Three Musketeers, made me seriously want to learn to master using a sword growing up and I am pretty bummed I never did. These adventures were real and terrifying at the same time. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Sherlock Holmes inspired me to go out into the world and live an action-packed life full of curiosity and worthwhile experiences.
2. You learn how to be a kick-ass woman.
Classics are the breeding grounds for female characters who are unafraid to step out of social constructs and defy norms. Jane Eyre will not let Mr. Rochester treat her like property and becomes her own heroine. Although described as “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen,” Mary Lennox, the little girl from A Secret Garden, shows us that looks and perceptions can be deceiving, and what really matters is learning how to love. The authors of classics like the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Mary Shelly, and Emily Dickinson all taught me that women are capable of have their voices hear, and writing is one of the best ways to accomplish that.
3. Reading Classics teaches us how to pay attention to details.
These books were long – I mean long as in at some points I caught myself daydreaming and thought the page would never end long. In a digital, fast paced world, I learned to read slowly and have patience. Before you get to the action, there are going to be some lulls. Patience. There are going to be endless chapters completely devoted to describing the scenery. I couldn’t even finish Robinson Crusoe the first time I tried to read it – it put me to sleep. But now I am a more careful reader and writer because of these books.
4. More than any other genre, classic novels texts will teach us how to love.
The imperfect love stories you will find in Classic novels are in fact, perfect. They don’t paint pretty unrealistic pictures. They are awful in the best way. Emma tries to play match-maker and almost ruins her life and those around her. Anna Karenina is a cheating wife who loves her son and just wants to follow her heart. Some end in heartbreak, like A Tale of Two Cities, just like real life. Others end in a wonderfully flawed happy endings, such as The Count Of Monte Cristo. Either way, these novels show us the capacity of love and the many forms the emotion can take.
Angelica is a writer currently living in Northern California. She was born and raised in Texas and has also lived in Maine and South Africa. Angelica has two degrees from Santa Clara University in English Lit and Business Marketing. When she is not writing, you can find her reading or eating ice cream, probably both. Follow her here: @anneerae and see her blog here: www.smilewithangelica.com