Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. A little while ago, I wrote about Why I Love To Read… Fantasy, and today I’m writing about my passion for classic books. I’ve been reading classic books since I was very young, and I’m still a huge fan of this genre which, to my mind, doesn’t get enough praise.
Before I was old enough to read them to myself, but was too old for picture books, I have memories of my parents working their way through chunky classic collections at bedtime with me. I very clearly remember my dad reading The Water Babies and Peter Pan when he was home from work, and how I wish I had kept those books for my son to read now.
When I reached secondary school at eleven, one of the biggest wonders to me was having the library at my disposal whenever I wanted it. I could request books be ordered in, I could hide out during lunch times, and, more importantly, I could take out up to ten books at a time for multiple weeks. As well as all the texts needed for classes and what at the time served for a young adult selection, there was a big collection of classic texts. The first one I picked up, based purely on the title, was One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It was love at first page.
It was my first adventure into Russian literature, and although I had read some Dickens and Austen the years before, I was utterly captivated by this book. The idea that I could learn so much about a history I didn’t know too much about while also being transported to a fictional setting combined two of my greatest loves, and the sheer beauty of the book was something I will never froget. I remember curling up in one of those horrible brown, low to the floor foam chairs, and reading for as long as I absolutely could, holding the book almost reverently as I took it to the desk to check it out.
From there, I made my way through multiple other classics, as well as reading things in a chain with my friends and historical fiction musts such as Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir, and some time later, I picked up the utter beast of a book that is Les Miserables. While that might have been half my life ago now, I remember how that love of classics started with me as a child, picked up as I reached the point of having access to more books of my own choosing, and has never left me since.
There is so much to be gained from books written beyond our lifetimes. They are as much a study in social anthropology as they are a work of fiction, and there is so much magic in that. To be reading two stories at once – one the work of fiction, and one the lens we see the world through – is a beautiful, special thing that I think needs to be cherished, recommended and passed on to the next generation of book lovers.
If you’ve enjoyed this post but still aren’t completely convinced, why not check out a post I wrote a while ago, Classics To Read… If You Don’t Like Classics! Thanks for stopping by today, and be sure to come back again for daily posts.