Reading the classics can sometimes be a chore, especially when you’re in school and are being forced to study the dullest novel that makes you want to fall asleep the moment you open the book. Or, perhaps you desire to be well read and want to finish the classic that everyone tells you that you should have read by now. Either way, I like to give reading classics a go, and have developed a few tips and tricks to make the whole experience a lot easier.
- Watch the film adaptation.
I know… sacrilege! But watching the visual adaptation of the story may make it easier to follow when reading the book. For example, if a novel or play has a lot of characters, it might be easier to apply a face to the name. Think about it, you can read Romeo and Juliet whilst picturing Leonardo DiCaprio’s face the whole time. Bliss!
- Read the reviews.
Sometimes, I feel like going into a book prepared makes the whole thing easier. If a friend of yours has said the first third of the book/play is challenging but the rest of it is worth it, you can rest easy knowing that however difficult the book may be, the ending will make up for it.
- Read around your favourite genres.
If you love a good dystopian novel like me, read 1984 or A Clockwork Orange. If you love mystery and thriller, read through Agatha Christie’s bibliography. If you love historical fiction, why not try some Jane Austen.
- Read from authors you’ve enjoyed before.
If you studied Catcher in the Rye at school, why not try Franny and Zooey. If you’ve studied A View from a Bridge, why not try The Crucible. Some authors might be well-known for one particular bestseller, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have more up their sleeve.
- Read up on SparkNotes or CliffsNotes.
Reading a detailed summary, or giving context to a particularly difficult novel can make the reading experience so much more enjoyable. You can even look up the themes and symbols whilst you’re there if you really fancy a detailed reading. Besides, if you’re studying the book in school it will help with your book report or essay. (But don’t forget to cite!)
So, these are my tips and tricks for reading the classics. Remember, they’re supposed to be classics for a reason, there to be enjoyed, discussed and thought about. Sometimes it can feel laborious, but with time and effort, classics can be fantastic, and might even be some of your favourites.
Do you like reading classics, or like me, have you had trouble over the years? Let me know in the comments!