Lately most of the books I have read are dusty old novels who’s copy writes have long expired. Many of these books I read when I was a kid, but about six months ago I decided to read them again. Why read (or reread) the classics?
From a writer‘s standpoint, the reasoning is clear. Books that have stood the test of time, and writers who are household names many years after their deaths must have something to offer. I find that each writer is really good at something, whether it be character development, setting description, or their use of conflict. We modern writers stand to learn a lot from those of old. And if you read the classics before you became a writer, you probably missed a lot of the really neat things these wordsmiths from the past were profoundly good at.
For example: I just finished rereading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. He has always been one of my favorite writers, but I had not read any of his works since becoming a novelist myself. My conclusions, aside from this being a great book that has lessons to be learned on many levels–sociological, psychological, historical, etc, etc–Dickens is a master of character development and of weaving the lives of multiple characters together for an explosive (albeit heart-wrenching) climax. The way he sneaks his characters into the story, many of them seeming to have less meaningful roles, or perhaps secondary roles that serve only to enhance your understanding to the main characters (MCs) is amazing. He takes that seemingly secondary character and gives them a pivotal role in the story in a way that satisfies the reader’s desire for those twist and turns that leave you with whiplash.
I’m going to be blogging about other classics I’ve been reading as of late, not to give a traditional book review, but to tell what lesson I think a writer can learn from reading (or rereading) these books. With Chuck Dickens, I think the lesson to be learned is primarily in the character development department, though all of the greats have lots to offer in every part of the writer’s toolbox.
“Great Expectations” is one of my favorite books. I love the movie & the soundtrack, too.
“Great Expectations” is my favorite Dickens book as well. Going to reread that this summer as well. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by 🙂
Chuck Dickens?? hahaha Thanks for stopping by my blog. Congratulations on being a writer. I may get there yet. Right now I’m having a great time blogging. I look forward to getting better acquainted this year through our blogs 🙂 Marsha 🙂
I enjoy Chuck as well. I have written a couple of reviews of his classics recently, I didn’t review Tale of Two Cities, but I did David Copperfield which I liked better. http://wp.me/p2jC53-Gc. 🙂 Marsha 🙂
Always have loved some of the classics!
Good plan! I’ll be watching closely. 😉
Love Dickens! Love Tale of Two Cities. I’m very partial to Little Dorrit. 🙂 And I so agree. These books have something to offer the novelist of today.
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Woohoo! I love the classics! They compose the majority of my reading material. I’m horrible about branching out into modern fiction. I grabbed two new-ish novels at the store the other day and come wind, sleet, or snow I’m gonna read ’em! However, I will probably eventually retreat back to my classics. Have you ever read the poem “The Hunting of The Snark” by Lewis Carroll? It’s a very long poem that tells a story – give it a whirl. I agree that the classics have many lessons to impart on writers – excellent insight you’ve brought forward.
There’s a reason they are called ‘Classics’!