Why are you reading the classics?That is a pretty big question, and I could probably ramble on with random thoughts for paragraphs and paragraphs. For the sake of organizing my thoughts and so you can muddle some coherency out of them, I am just going to make a list.
1. I like the challenge. I read a wide variety of genres, and while I definitely like to read lighter books as well, I really enjoy sinking my teeth into a big, complex, meaty novel. I like the challenge of understanding different time periods and paradigms during those time periods (as wel as different styles of writing -- namely, those that are extremely wordy). I also enjoy the complex issues often raised by classics.
2. Sort of hand in hand with my first reason, I like the fact that classics apply and affect many different people. Like my Quotables post last week, which features Italo Calvino's statement that a classic never finishes saying what it has to say, I love that generations of people can find meaning in these characters and situations. Even though people's interpretations and experiences vary, I love the connection that comes from having read the same book, not only with thousands and millions of people living today but also with those who have been dead for decades.
3. I've always liked "old" things. I like learning about earlier times, but definitely in the context of fiction for the most part. I like collecting stories.
For some reason, when I started out this post, I thought there would be quite a few more reasons on this list, but I think that actually covers it. Why do you read the classics?