Should We Read More of “Serious” Literature and Award-Winning Books?

Do you remember those glorious school days of reading thousands of enormous classics filled with ancient words and war scenes that made us grimace and frown? How we hated literature lessons and no-one (not a single person except maybe you) read the full length of the novel? All it took was to go online and search for a “short description of the plot”.

To be honest, in the beginning of every summer holidays (just after receiving the longest “reading list”) I was very excited to read everything and all books in the entire world. And some of them I did indeed got to, however as the joy and freedom of the holidays overtook my reading spirit I would slowly but surely move to “light” and fun books.

I actually went on a very thorough google search and found some examples of “reading lists” for the last school year (it is obviously in Russian but you get the idea about the amount of books). 

Link 1  |  Link 2

So my question is – “Should we read “serious” literature? (I wanted to accentuate this “should” )

06-01

First of all, when it comes to school’s required reading, I agree that classics and the transition and evolution of writing is very important, therefore we need to read examples from different eras – see the differences between the words used by this specific author in this specific year, understand that every sentence can contain hidden meaning.

HOWEVER, school is the first and most important step in every child’s life. So why don’t we try to make them actually enjoy reading? Why can’t we mix education and fun?

How many people do you know that said “I don’t read.” or “I don’t like reading.” or “Why would you read if you can watch a movie?”. 98% of people around me (except this awesome community) don’t read. And it makes me very sad.

They don’t know this amazing feeling of the movie rolling in your head when you read. Or how you forget about everything around you, but the world of the book. Or how you don’t even notice when you turn pages.

It is definitely something schools and education should be worried about – How to make children enjoy reading!

Let’s take a step back, as it was not exactly what I wanted to discuss with you today. The question remains – Should we read more of “serious” literature?

06-01-2 (round of applause)

Sure, there is no age limit to what genre you love, however when the genre’s name IS age related it’s difficult to look away. (I still consider myself a Young Adult, even though I am not in my teens anymore.)

But as this year I will be one step closer to 30, I started wondering if reading more classics or more award-winning books is something I should focus on. I want to be well-read. Everyone does! I want to be able to quote famous authors and shine in a “serious adult conversation”.

This year, as you know, I want to read at least 12 classics, hence the Classic a Month challenge. But not because I should , only because that is what I want to do.

I don’t see anything bad in reading for fun. I don’t see anything bad in reading Romances, Fantasy, YA or other genres. Nothing at all. All of them will teach you something. All of them are full of amazing characters, scenes inspired by real life (even when the Mage’s fireball hits you in the face – it is all very real! Don’t you believe in magic?!)

Furthermore, I adore the concept of “reading for fun” because WHY else would you spend your days sitting at home staring at the book if it wasn’t fun?! (or you have finals soon – like tomorrow and you need to read all 847394 pages of that manual).

06-01-3

Honestly, I don’t know. I have no clue. (Lot’s of ranting to come to this conclusion!)

For me, it’s something I HAVE to want in order to do. Otherwise, I will get in the biggest reading slump and hide all my books under the bed. And as of right now, I feel inspired to re-read “War and Piece” all tomes and not skip the war scenes; or read non-fiction; or just learn something new and exciting about our world.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Let me know in the comments down below if you ever felt the urge to grab classics and power through them!

With love,

Alex

 

Advertisements

34 thoughts on “Should We Read More of “Serious” Literature and Award-Winning Books?

  1. Reading is the important thing. Whatever you read is a personal choice. I love the classics, but they are not everyone’s choice. You should never read anything just because you think ‘you should’. Take pleasure in your reading choices. The older you get, you’ll realize that the number of books you can read in a lifetime are limited. Make them ones you LOVE to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So funny that you posted this today after I posted that I was focusing on classics this year lol. I agree that people shouldn’t read certain genres out of obligation, even though sometimes you have to, but for pure enjoyment. Personally, I’m not getting much out of YA nowadays so I’m kinda gearing myself toward classics (since I enjoy them) and more epic style novels than I did last year. But I still plan on enjoying a YA novel here and there. I agree with Fictionphile – read what you love and to heck with everyone else haha. Reading Non-classic novels don’t make you any less of a read, and the reverse is also true. Really enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 😊 actually I’ve seen a lot of people resolutions for 2017 and most of them said “read more classics” and that made me think – is it something they really want to do or are they getting “pushed” towards it.
      I completely agree. Fun and enjoyment are the first things to worry about when it comes to reading. ☺

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s why I enjoyed your post so much. It’s like everyone’s resolution always begins with doing stuff they honestly don’t wanna do (such as reading more classics lol) for the sake of doing them. You’ll never enjoy classics that way, so just read whatever you want! You’re so welcome )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading should be fun, I think that sentiment will be echoed by most, but it’s true, if we didn’t find it fun then we wouldn’t do it.😀

    Read whatever you want to, genre and age is irrelevant, I don’t like Y-A, it’s not for me as I much prefer my fantasy dark, etc and I often tease people for reading Y-A but it’s all good fun as we should all read what we want, reading seems to have a stigma attached to it that it’s a ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ pastime and its not, it’s awesome and no matter the readers preferred genre, the fact that they are actually reading and enjoying it is what’s important.😀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Depends how ‘dark’ really, lots of great authors but they are rather grimdark which isn’t to everyone’s liking. I’d suggest The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne, it’s great, my favourite series and isn’t as dark as others with more of a traditional and epic feel to it. The Greatcoats series by Sebastian de Castell is also well, great.😂 It’s like a fantasy version of The Musketeers. The Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb. And, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss are all good to give the genre a try.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post. I know as a lit/writing major in college and as a 21 year old I get judged a bit by some people for saying I like reading YA instead of more literary fiction. But as a student I’ve had a lot of literary required reading and writing and while I’ve enjoyed some of it a lot more of the books I didn’t like. And why would I read something if I didn’t like it. I don’t think it matters really as long as you read what you enjoy. There will always be a community for it, even if you’re not spouting out quotes from “literary fiction” or classics authors. Great post!

    Like

    1. Thank you!! ❤ And yes, exactly! There always will be people who will judge you no matter (some people are just judgemental by nature) but as long as we are personally happy with our choices nothing needs to be changed. 😙

      Like

  5. What a creative idea for a post! I personally think we don’t necessarily HAVE to read “serious” literature- we only should if we want to. Being assigned it for a class is a different story, but I do believe that people should try to get their hands on at least one book to see what literature has been like throughout the years. I don’t read a lot of classics, but I might as long as they interest me. Ultimately, all books are good literature, and I think we should have the freedom to choose our genres whenever possible.☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post! ❤
    The other day, my Portuguese teacher asked me what I was reading, and I showed him 'Just One Year' by Gayle Forman. I even added that I wasn't enjoying it very much. He answered me "Of course you aren't". It really annoyed me because he knows I'm really dedicated to reading, and yet he thinks I don't read the 'right type of books'. He's been bugging us to read the classic we're analyzing this year, and while I'll eventually get to it, I'm not particularly excited (because I'm not a huge fan of the author's writing style), so he probably thinks I'm, what … lazy?? That I don't want to improve?
    School and teachers should focus on making kids enjoy reading, just like you said. If teachers have those prejudiced thoughts and input them on their students, eventually they'll grow up and share the same thoughts with their future children. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s always been a huge thing where people say you SHOULD read classics and whatnot, and it really bothers me. What makes them any better? Sure, it’ll show how things changed in the writing world, but that doesn’t mean every other book is beneath them. Personally, I DO read classics and have recently picked up a few nonfiction books relating to history because I LOVE learning about history. But I don’t hold them on a higher standard to the rest of my books. YA is not meaningless compared, far from it. And even if it was, why should it matter? Reading seems to be the only hobby that is judged this way. People don’t judge others for watching a comedy TV show rather than a documentary. People don’t roll their eyes at gamers because there’s more educational games out there. People are encouraged to read, and yet are told what they choose to read isn’t good enough. Which is just ridiculous. You learn something from every book, even when you don’t think you do. And reading is a hobby. It’s for enjoyment. Like hell am I going to read a 500 page book about some 19th century high class woman trying to get engaged if I can read about magic/mental health/diverse cultures etc etc.
    (sorry for the rant ahahaha 😆 )

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love all your points but agree the most with your ending. You have to WANT to read whatever it is that you’re reading or you’ll stop. For me that’s mostly light and fluffy but sometimes it changes. (I’m VERY MUCH a mood reader 🙃). I read a nonfiction book in one sitting yesterday! Instead of a ya fantasy, so I think every one has topics they lean to, it’s just finding books in other areas that appeal to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reading for fun is the best. I think if a classic is what is calling out to you to be read then that is all you need to be reading for fun. Personally, when I go to the book store I don’t go with a genre in mind I go with the thought that I need something to read, I want to read. I never use to read biographies by choice because I had been forced to read one in school that I didn’t enjoy, and like we do with the classics we are force to read I assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy any others. However, one day a biography jumped off the shelf at me and I was surprised by what I was missing by telling myself that I don’t read biographies. I have also re-read a couple classics that I didn’t enjoy in school and enjoyed them very much on my pressure free re-read. So, I truly think that reading for fun is what we make of it. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I do believe that reading classics will provide one with plenty of benefits, from the ability to look at things through the historical lens to seriously reading and comprehending each sentence to discover its ‘real’ meaning. This form of serious reading is like solving a literary puzzle in its own right, and it is definitely fun for me. Granted, there are times when I am too exhausted to read ‘heavy’ classics since I cannot skim through the pages without understanding them, but when I have taken a break, I’ll be really pumped up to read them. This form of reading, though, may not be for everyone. Just like Videogames with various genres, some gamers prefer the puzzle genre, MOBA genre, or fighting games. Reading is the same in my opinion; if you like a particular genre, read that one. If you dislike the other, then don’t force yourself just because critics say that it is a ‘must-read’.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Certainly! Trying new things is great, but when that new thing does not actually make you feel its benefits but rather, make you feel like it is not for you, then the benefits wouldn’t be there either (since in the case of reading, I believe you would have to somehow be interested enough to read it). If a case where one just read the pages as if hypnotized without paying a clear attention to the passages, the message would be difficult (but still possible) to be delivered across 🙂

        Thank you for responding! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post–couldn’t really get into “serious” literature until college, and then got really into it. Since that time, the books I tend to read are the special ones that are at least semi-serious while also being fun. It’s a dilemma for kids though, because you want to introduce them to important works but in so doing you threaten to bore them and turn them off from reading anything. Thanks for the read

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Not all books are created equally. Not all classics are good. Nevertheless, most classics have been vetted by time. I completely agree that schools should be concerned that they are making kids hate reading. Even more though, they are making kids hate learning. I teach literature at a liberal arts high school. I do not lecture. We circle up our tables so we’re all sitting facing each other (I’m right in it with them) and I ask a question in what we read. “Why did he choose to…,” or “What does she mean by…,” or “According to the reading, what is the purpose of…” the class is two hours. The kids love it and we see tremendous growth in them. Their reading level, ability to think critically, and ability to converse with one another toward some conclusion are much further along than the average kid. Best of all, they continue discussing when class is over; they even seek me out to ask my thoughts (I don’t speak a whole lot in class). So yes, everyone should read more of the classics. We learn to hate them because we have bad teachers. It’s not their fault; they did too. Welcome to American education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this! Something like this for adults would be nice too (I guess we call it “book clubs” but unfortunately they are very rare nowadays).

      Thank you for the comment! And for spreading love for books among younger readers.

      Like

  13. your article is very interesting! to be honest, when I was at secondary school I remember I had to read books and books and books of portuguese literature and because it was mandatory I never read lol however, after some years, I got interested in literature and now I´m always reading! I love the classics but I also read a lot of contemporary literature Among my favorite authors are Dostoievski and Thomas Mann but also Murakami and Paul Auster 🙂 for me is very important to read but I believe it is something you should develop by yourself and not force someone to because it will move the person away. best regards and read you soon!! 🙂 PedroL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point. Forcing anything on us, mere human beings, will just make us hate is with all our heart, stomach, and other organs.

      I believe that my love to read was first born through the interesting fairytales and colourful children’s books. But also I always was reading something on the side (other than boring school books) because they were the once that kept me awake all night trying to “just finish one more chapter” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s