Why I read the classicsPosted: August 8, 2012
I picked up East of Eden on the Kindle for reading while traveling. It’s incredibly compelling even in the early pages. Something reached out and literally grabbed me into being interested in these characters I’ve just met. It’s a long book, around 600 pages, and I’m only 40 pages in or so, but I know I’m going to love it.
I read the classics more than I read modern fiction. I find myself many times longing to experience eras in which I never lived. How would life be like if I lived in a largely agrarian society? I don’t think I would have made a good farmer. What would I have done? My current vocation would certainly not exist, would I work instead on Telegraph machines? Would I work for Bell, or Edison, or Westinghouse? Would I instead work in the mines, in a factory, ministry, etc? City or country? Would I live to be 32? It’s a fun fantasyland to live in.
More than the nostalgia is simply that I find myself valuing reading time at a premium. To the point where I simply won’t read for months at a time if I get burned on a bad or even mediocre book choice. I don’t know why this is, but for some reason reading a book like City of Time by Greg Bear can put me off of reading for months. By reading largely the classics, I get to enjoy the benefit of decades of critical readers filtering out anything likely not worthy of my time. I wish there was truly a good service which would give me instant classic recommendations, things I am certain to like. I know Hunch sold to eBay, maybe somebody will eventually solve that problem.