Archive for How do you read…?
From Fitzgerald to Tolstoy to Austen to Homer, there are hundreds of works of classic literature. Most of which we aren’t inclined to read on our own accord. In my own reading history, most classics I’ve read have been through, or because of, school. But even then, I had friends from other schools reading different – and sometimes more – classics than I’d been exposed to. I felt under-read. (Maybe even undereducated?)
Reading classics was always equivalent to a competition for me. In school, it was always about how many classics you’ve read – not whether you liked or understood them. So it was in high school that I started a little conquest for myself: I was going to read as many classics as possible. Just read, read, read until I was spouting Poe and reciting Barrie.
…I didn’t get very far. The reading burnout happened so quickly. I stopped reading for weeks on end, not because I wouldn’t read anything else, but because I didn’t even want to, classic or not. It was then that I realized I needed to enjoy reading, rather than quantify it. Just because I hadn’t read as many classics as others, it didn’t mean I was any less well read or educated.
Since failing/dropping my own challenge, I still haven’t branched out much or gone out of my way to pick up classics. I’ve stuck to what I have to read for school, and I’m okay with that because of the structured pacing it creates. For me, I can’t be rushed when reading classics. I need them to sink in; I need to savor what I’m reading; I need to understand what I’m reading.
I read classics slowly and thoughtfully. (And, admittedly, sometimes begrudgingly.)