One of my big 2019 reading goals has been to read more classics. I picked up Pride and Prejudice last year for the very first time and adored it, and immediately started wondering what else I’ve been missing out on. I’ve been working steadily through Jane Austen and some other classical authors, whilst cultivating a very ambitious classics TBR. Reading classics has been something very new to me, having only really read them at school, and we all know that studying something often takes the enjoyment away, but I’ve discovered lots of things along the way. So, here are some of my tips and some advice that has helped me in my pursuit of classical reading!
1. If you have a kindle or iPad, consider reading them as an eBook!
There are so many beautiful editions of the different classics, but if you spend a ton of money on them then you’ll be limited as to what you have to read and you’ll feel obligated to finish them because you spent so much money on them. Many classics are in the public domain which means you can pick up the eBook versions for £1-2 or sometimes even for free. It’s a great way to try different authors and genres without obligation.
2. Treat them like any other book!
Don’t feel like you need to pick up books because you feel like you should have read that book or author, browse different authors and blurbs, and pick what you’d like to try based on the synopsis! If something doesn’t interest you, you’re probably not going to enjoy it just because Dickens wrote it. ‘Classic’ isn’t exactly a genre, you can have classic romance, classic sci-fi or classic mystery! Pick what you’re interested in to give a go.
3. Consider audiobooks!
I’ve found audiobooks wonderful in my aim to read more classics. When the language can sometimes be a bit difficult to follow, or you feel like you’re making slow progress, sticking the audiobook on and reading along with your physical copy can be a great way to feel fully immersed in the time period and writing style. I have found this keeps my attention so well and allows me to become much more invested in the story.
4. Ask friends or bloggers with similar reading tastes for recommendations!
Just because your mum loved the BBC version of Vanity Fair, doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy the book. If you don’t know where to start, ask other readers whos opinions you trust which classics they enjoyed the most.
5. Wait until the mood strikes!
I think the main thing with classics, is that you’re never going to enjoy them if you’re reading them because you feel like you have to, not because you really want to. Once you’ve found something you’re interested, wait until you’re really in the mood to take the time to enjoy it. I recently read TONS of fantasy all in a row and sort of wiped myself out. I was feeling the need for something completely different to shake up my reading, and that’s when I picked up Little Women! It was a breath of fresh air and definitely contributed to why I enjoyed it so much.
6. Set a time to read it!
If you don’t like to pick up classics because you want to carry on reading the latest releases or you don’t feel like reading them all the time, set a regular time every day when you’ll read a chunk. Whether its on your commute, over your morning coffee or while the kids have their afternoon nap, set that time aside for reading a classic – even if you’re reading something totally different during the rest of your leisure time, you’ll work your way steadily through.
7. Try a buddy read!
Try picking a book with a friend, splitting it up into sections to read over a specified time period, and having a chat after you finish each chunk! This can be a super fun way to motivate you to progress with a book and the discussion elements will help to clear up anything you’re not sure about and bring a new level of enjoyment to it.
My best advice is simply to try different books and try different approaches until you find what works for you! Please let me know if you try any of these or if you have any tips of your own!