Thursday, March 31, 2011

Literary Hop - The Stigma of Classics

It's Thursday! The sun's out! Classes are over and I just had yummy pancakes! Okay, the sun isn't really out anymore, but it was when I first started thinking about this question. That totally counts. Anyways, It being Thursday also means another awesome thing -It's time for the Literary Book Blog Hop! As always a huge thanks to the ladies over at the Blue Bookcase for hosting my favorite biweekly event!
Literary Blog Hop
Now for the fun stuff. This weeks question is -
Do you find yourself predisposed to like (or dislike) books that are generally accepted as great books and have been incorporated into the literary canon? Discuss the affect you believe a book’s “status” has on your opinion of it.

I'd like to say I'm not effected by the public opinion of books, but that would be a bald faced lie. I spent the better part of my teenage years living under the opinion that classics were books everyone had heard of but no one had read. What can I say, no one in my immediate family is a big reader and I didn't really have anyone to prove me otherwise. So when I finally got around to reading the likes of Pride & Prejudice or The Picture of Dorian Gray* I already knew what was going to happen.  However this doesn't really determine how I feel about the work after I've read it.  In general I like to read "the classics". I like getting references ingrained in society and feeling like I'm in on some joke (or a really juicy secret), and in that respect, yes, a books status does effect me, but only so much as it gets me to read it. Once I'm speeding through the pages it  has always been up to the author to really make me love their work. 

I have a different sort of relationship with the contemporary "classics". You know, the ones everyone is reading and raving about, with prize winning authors and really deep subject matter? I feel like at least at first I'm predisposed to dislike them. I hate reading a book and finding that there are two dozen reviews posted within the last day that sum up exactly what I'm feeling. I hate it even more when I'm let down by one of these books and get attacked because I "must not have gotten it." Maybe I didn't get it, or maybe I just had a different opinion. I know. Shocking. 

*and many others

Hope everyones thinking up some really awesome April Fools Day tricks!


parrish lantern said...

Am in agreement Status can act as a reference point, like the tag "Classic" but at the final page ,or at least the last one you managed It's up to the author to wow you, to communicate their intent. In my post the Classics were signposts, which led me on to the world of books.

Heather said...

I feel somewhat the same about hyped contemporary books, though i am more likely to read those than classics. Partly I'm just afraid that after all the talk I will have higher expectations that I should. And let's face it, some of us have different expectations from our books that others, and some of the books that my friends have RAVED about I thought were pedestrian and stereotypical (i.e., most chick lit, which is definitely not for this chick!)

Red said...

I hate when people dismiss your opinion of a book by saying you "didn't get it". Not liking a book that's a "classic" just means people have different opinions and not that you're "wrong" for not liking it.