Thursday 31 March 2011

Literary Blog Hop March 31- April 2

I completely forgot it was time for this lovely once fortnightly feature from The Blue Bookcase, probably because I've spent the last 2 days doing team building exercises that mostly involved me getting very muddy and pissed off with the world so that I've been unable to think of anything else, apart from how much I ache! But anyway- I'm totally on this now!

So, this week's question is:
Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the effect you believe a book's 'status' has on your opinion of it.

I'm not really sure what I think about this one. My family all seem to assume that, whenever I read a book that is a) thick, b) more than 100 years old, c) a classic, I am reading it only because I am 'supposed' to, and not because I actually want to, and therefore I can't really be enjoying them. This is really not the case, but this doesn't mean that I don't have a certain way of thinking about classic books.

The way I feel is basically this- if a book is a classic (an old classic) then there must be some reason that it has endured, and that is hopefully that it's amazing. And modern classics, they must have done something right too, to have gained that distinction. I am probably quite likely to consider them to be good, and to want to read them for myself, to get some kind of idea why they are classics. So I suppose I sort of 'like' them before I begin, as much as I possibly can.

This, of course, all dissolves when I actually read the books. My opinion of them is in no way blunted or exacerbated by the fact that they are classics, and I form it in spite of this fact about them. In a way, I suppose, I am more disappointed by classics when they are awful as opposed to just 'regular' books, but that's only because I can't really understand what it is about them that has made them endure for so long (Dickens is my prime example here) and I have to wonder whether anyone actually likes them, or is just reading them because they 'should'. I, for one, try to make sure that this is something that I never do.

How about you? Do you have any special feelings about classics, even if it's just avoiding them like the plague? Let me know below!


  1. I admittedly shy away from picking up classics even though I very often enjoy them. There's something about that status that makes me worried the book is going to be tedious or pretentious. I know it's not always the case but it's definitely something that crosses my mind before picking up any book.

  2. Some of my favorite books are classics. I love them. To me it's almost like as far as classics go, back then it was that writing was a HUGE art form for the elite, whereas now, it's still an art form, and it's still hard to get published, but I think there is a more diverse audience. Does any part of that run on sentence make sense? I swear it makes sense in my head.

  3. There are some years that I read a ton of classics and then others (like this year) where I am more in the mood to read the current trendy book. I am sort of getting in the mood for a Jane Austen or Little Women or something though.

  4. Ha ! I knew I wasn't the only one, yeah you Charlie Dickens, not " the look at me , everyone loves me" now are you ? Huh! . Oops sorry about that, get a little excited about meeting fellow Dickens disparagers. Now I've calmed down I think they can act as a kind of shorthand pointing a way.