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Classic vs. modern literature: Which do you prefer?

Holly Viers • Jan 21, 2018 at 5:00 PM

When you get a chance to sit down and read a book, do you gravitate toward old classic literature, or are you more prone to choose a modern title?

Like many others, I’ve read a bit of both over the years. My reading journey started out with mostly modern works — books that have been released within the last couple of decades or so — but after a few years, I wanted something that would give me more of a challenge. That’s when I started reading older classics.

Many of the books that high school and college students are forced to read for class I read for fun. I have a long list of favorites — “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, to name a few — and each one challenged my mind in a different way.

But after a year or two of reading classics, I grew tired of the stilted language and the sometimes hard-to-follow plot lines. I reverted to my modern preferences, and I’ve mostly remained there ever since.

Don’t get me wrong; I can still appreciate a good classic. I’ll read one if I’m looking for something thought-provoking, but when I want something that I can better relate to, I’d pick up a newer book any day.

Many of my peers are in agreement with me, especially since some of them never understood why I read classics in the first place. Because my classics phase took place while I was still in school, classmates would often ask me, “Why do you read those boring old books when you could be reading something that’s actually interesting?”

I can’t say they were completely wrong; some of the classics I read were positively boring. But I’m glad I kept reading them, if only because they broadened my mind and helped me gain a deeper appreciation for literature as a whole.

So what about you? Are you a classics fan, or do you stick to modern works? Email me your thoughts at hviers@timesnews.net.

Holly Viers is a general assignment reporter for the Kingsport Times News.

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