Do you read the classics?
This goes for all genres and sub-genres, and it's outside of a school setting. We all know their stories from references and adaptations, but how often do you go back and read the original 'classic' novels? Some examples could be The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Time Machine, Lord of the Rings, etc. Basically anything that greatly influenced its genre.
Indeed I do read and re-read some of the "classics." I should do it more than I do. When I first visited Lord of the Rings in high school although we had an excellent teacher I missed so much of the significant thesis within the book. When I visited the classic once again in my 30s I discovered a whole "new world" within the book. Then when I visited it the last time (about 10 years ago) once again, discoveries were made. It is not unlike visiting a house and discovering new passages and rooms relative to my age, focus and aspect, if you will...
I have developed an interest in learning about a fascinating and extraordinary group of writers out of Oxford University during the Great Wars period of the 20th century referred to as the Inklings. They have authored some recent classics like Lord of the Rings and the lion, Witch & the Wardrobe to name a few. The picture above is the pub within Oxford, England where the professors met to critique their works, some of which included Lord of the Rings in which the 1st Edition was dedicated to another Inkling, C. S. Lewis...
I go back and read something classical in the genre of science fiction every month or so to keep a sense of what strong sci fi feels like while I'm writing science fiction.
I've also been reading and re-reading through classic literature that was released in serial format because I'm currently serializing two novels. I found Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers to be a much more enjoyable read than I expected and I learned some good things about timing and pace from it. I also recently finished re-reading The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas to get more of a feel for the way good serialized novels should read as books.
I tend to read a lot of science while writing science fiction so the science fiction classics and classical serials make for a nice fiction break in there for me, too. I think the most important thing they do for my writing is prevent me from writing like a scientist enthused with facts and observation rather than like a storyteller excited by action, emotion, and deed when I'm stuffed full of words from scientists.
I love the Foundation Triology by Isaac Asimov, it is brilliant...
I read the Foundation Trilogy back in the early eighties when Asimov added those sequels and prequels turning it into a series. It would be a great idea to revisit them. I hope they hold up to my memories well. I loved them with fangirl intensity.
My favorite Triology; well between that and John R. R. Tolkien's, Lord of the Ring...
I have read all of the above except for To Kill a Mockingbird (ironic since I live in Alabama!). Starting this year, the classics I have read are The Prophet, Slaughterhouse-Five, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Hobbit (for the second time), and Catcher in the Rye. Starting this week I am reading a new classic, The Life of Pi, then Riders of the Purple Sage, and lastly To Kill a Mockingbird.
In between all of these books, I go and read The Divine Comedy. I have made it halfway through Purgatorio.
I wouldn't deem the Life of Pi a classic quite yet...
I can't claim that yet, since I haven't read it, but I got that from a few lists for classics of this century. Did you not think it was good?
There is no doubt it is a good book; however, it has not withstood the test of time yet...
Yes. I have read them.
However, the modern generation is inclined to visual stuffs and they do not emphasize on reading story books! It's unfortunate!
A child of 10/11/12 years must be reading 'The Gulliver's Travels', 'Peter Pan', 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', 'Oliver Twist', etc etc.. and the sad part is - THEY AREN'T reading these classics!
90 % of my friends have never read 'To kill a Mockingbird' or even watched the movie!
Times are indeed changing..
I do; only because I have an Easton Press subscription (Great Gatsby, Mockingbird and Lord of Rings are not included--though I've read all). The conclusion I've reached, and which is where I think you're going with this, is that the books have little to no bearing on either the movie adaptation or the word-of-mouth references. In most cases, the books have to be experienced by being read. Albeit, some of the "classics" are not good today simply because they have not withstood the test of time. Others, which were originally serialized, can best be read as if they were a weekly or monthly serial.
I think today's reader would struggle with most of what we call classics. I for one can admit that I do not like the classic epic poems in lyric form. They require a lot of work for today's reader.
Always! They are the foundation of modern day fiction (which is subject to change, by the way).
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