There’s some mild to insanely heated debate (depending on where you’re looking) about what makes a novel a classic. Some contend that quality of writing is a major factor. The language should be forceful, expressive, and colorful. There’s also the issue of morality. Classics often come with a lesson, an overarching theme intended to teach readers, guide them. To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, discusses the existence of good and evil and how it coincides within one person rather than people being either purely good or purely evil. Then there’s the idea of universality—for the novel, the story, and the characters to be relatable across time periods. These stories are timeless. Like pencil skirts with sensible hemlines. With universality also comes truthfulness. No matter the fantastical nature of the story involved, like with Frankenstein, the storyline and ending seem inevitable--believable for those characters and those situations. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy belong together and it seems all too obvious that they’ll end in love as Pride and Prejudice goes on.
With that status of “classic,” there comes a pressure for a regular, avid reader to digest these novels, to take them down like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a bad date and relish them at least twice as much.
Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream. Vanilla ice cream. Fudge covered waffle cone bits. Caramel
FUDGE-COVERED. WAFFLE CONE. BITS.
So, you know, most of the classics that I’m supposed to be enjoying so much, avid reader that I am, don’t even compare to fudge covered waffle pieces, man.
I can’t help it. I tried. I tried to read War and Peace. I’ve tried to get through Dickens’ works, and every time I ever had to read Death of a Salesman for a class report, I had to fake it. For fuck’s sake, I have nearly lost my will to live just reading the fucking thing which is a tad ironic given the ending of that tale. I did enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird and at least most of Frankenstein. Pride and Prejudice was decent, but when I read it, I just didn’t see what the big fuss was about. Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to read it again.
Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, Cormac McCarthy, Chuck P., Chuck K., King, Hunter Thompson… Those are my classics. I return to those authors and those books time and time and time again. I devour them, relate, underline passages and write in margins and dog-ear pages going back again and again to quote them in letters or conversations. The political statements and commentary on humanity is so good in those novels, modern as they are. I used to kind of beat myself up about not having the taste that I “should”—not reading things that everyone else says is so fucking necessary for everyone who really loves books. I worried that I “should” be more cultured. That I “should” experience those novels and force myself to finish them because of the classic status they have. But,what’s a “should” anyway? Why should I force myself to get through things I absolutely don’t enjoy.
Life’s too short, man…as cliché as that sounds.
Life’s just too short not to do what you enjoy.
As soon as I’m done confessing, I’m going to finish Revival. It’s King’s latest novel. Then I’m reading the next installment (the SECOND book) of the Veronica Mars series which picked up where the Kickstarter funded movie left off.
And I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of that.
This has been another Sunday Confession with More Than Cheese and Beer. Go on over to her blog to check out all the other link ups and maybe check the Facebook page for anonymous confessions. Let me know in the comments how much I suck for not liking the things I "should." ha. Thanks again for reading.
Ohh let me know how Revival is!ReplyDelete
Love this post so dang much. The pressure to read something somewhat takes the joy out of it. I like to define my own classics now and refuse to let some list tell me what I should read and what is cherished literature.