Book Talk: How Do You Read a Classic?

penguin-classics-clothboundAh, the classics. Those notoriously difficult yet revered books. Today I want to share a bit about my experience with reading classics and learn about others’ experiences as well.

As part of my summer goals, I wanted to try and read a few more classics. I read a lot of books on my kindle because I can loan them from my library for free with just a click of a button. The kindle is so handy because I can take it everywhere very easily and lighting is never an issue because of its built-in screen light.

For anyone who’s read a classic, you know that it’s certainly convenient to not have to lug around a book the size of, let’s say, Anna Karenina for example. I also like that you can just hold your finger down on a word in the text and a definition will pop up. That is really a useful function when reading a classic.

A few weeks ago I started reading Middlemarch by George Eliot on my kindle. I got about 11% into the book and then decided that I would not read the rest on my kindle. At times, reading this book on the kindle was pretty convenient. I was able to easily look up some words that I wasn’t familiar with, but I found that the negatives started to outweigh the positives.

George Eliot wrote Middlemarch in 1872 and although the dictionary function does bring up Wikipedia articles, the information you can access on the kindle is nowhere near the extent of the information that comes with a good edition of a classic.

15994588Additionally, I noticed that I have higher expectations when reading a classic. I’ve heard many people call Middlemarch a masterpiece and that influences the way I approach such a book. I felt like I was just missing so much by reading the book in kindle format. I ended up ordering the Penguin English Library edition of Middlemarch last week and am currently waiting for it to arrive in the post.

What is your experience with reading classics?

Do you prefer reading on your e-reader or having a physical book?

Do you have any favorite editions of classics?


5 thoughts on “Book Talk: How Do You Read a Classic?

  1. Oh my, it is too bad you missed the readalong of Middlemarch put on Bex at An Armchair by the Sea. It was great to read this with others for support and to get their take on each section. This was my first time reading a book this way and it sure helped with such a long book and soooo many characters to keep straight! I love my Kindle, but there are times a hand held paperbook is the way to go. I am glad you are giving Middlemarch another try and I hope it is a better read for you.


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