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Teen-2-Teen: June 2021

How to acquire a taste for ‘classics stew’

by Elizabeth Hodgson


You either really love them, or really dislike them. What am I referring to? That famous (or infamous) collection of books dubbed “the classics.” If you don’t enjoy reading them, you may wonder, “What do people see in these books?” And if you do enjoy them, you could probably proclaim this truth from the rooftops: “The classics are amazing!”

OK, I know I have to say much more to convince those of you who disagree. I think when many people say “boring,” they actually mean “difficult to understand.” For example, the first sentence of “Oliver Twist” is 98 words long! The first time I tried to read “Oliver Twist,” I didn’t get too far. But I tried again, and by the time I finished the book, I was in love with it!

“Oliver Twist” is a wonderful story with characters who are self-righteous, sympathetic, ironic, crafty, selfless or even downright silly. And, as in many of Charles Dickens’ books, there was a stunning plot twist at the end. When starting books that seem boring, you have to remember the beginning is where the author sets the stage for the grand finale.

Here are two suggestions when reading a book that seems “boring.” First, make a list of the words you don’t know, then look them up when you are done reading. Finding the definitions of new words can be interesting. Second, listening to audiobooks can help you stay interested. Some people don’t like audiobooks, and that’s fine, but I encourage you to try some from a few different companies.

I think fewer and fewer people are reading the classics. That makes me sad, because they really are amazing! Remember, books that make it to the list of classics are there because many people from many countries have enjoyed reading them for decades – or even centuries.

Elizabeth Hodgson, 15, is a freshman homeschooled student. She enjoys reading, writing novels and playing musical instruments. Elizabeth is the daughter of Donald and Laura Hodgson, members of Cass County Electric Cooperative.