Whenever the subject of literature comes up, you’d think I’d be the first one to say how I love Jane Austen or Mark Twain or any number of authors we’re forced to read in high school. Writers are supposed to love the classics, right? They’re the best of all time, the epitome of “good writing.” I should have a long list of classics that changed my life, which I often rattle off in order of influence.
Here’s the thing – I don’t. I love reading though. From the beginning I devoured any book I got my hands on and could spend hours in a bookstore. This is also true now. What I didn’t love was being forced to read classic literature in school. My friend from high school and I still joke about how we both fell asleep reading Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Sure, I liked “Catcher in the Rye” and “The Great Gatsby,” but I wouldn’t call them my favorites of all time.
What do I read? Anything else. I love genre fiction, always have. Give me a good mystery, supernatural or even a romance novel any day. My Kindle app has a growing collection of Nora Roberts trilogies (mostly her paranormal romances). Sometimes I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, but I always have one or multiple “currently reading” novels. Lately I surf Kindle for self-published ebooks or read works uploaded onto social media websites. To me it doesn’t matter what people read as long as they don’t fall asleep while reading it.
(Personally speaking, it’s ironic because with music the opposite applies – I prefer The Rolling Stones, Motown, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel. This phenomenon only happens with classic literature over thirty years old.)
Maybe I’d seek out more classics if I came across one I liked just as much as a contemporary novel, but it hasn’t happened yet. Now, that doesn’t mean classics don’t have value. They do because they influenced the authors who are on my Kindle app. They shaped the way we tell stories in the present day.
Unfortunately, I just can’t bring myself to read them.
I do hope I’ll come across a classic I absolutely love and finally get it. Once in a while I feel guilty about all this, but time is precious and I won’t force myself to read a book solely because librarians think I should. I’ll still write what I want and hopefully, some day, people will read my stories because they love genre fiction too.