Beginner’s Guide to Reading Classic Literature + Recommendations

MY MOST REQUESTED VIDEO BY FAR. Hey guys! Here are some tips that have helped my sustain a reading life that includes reading classic literature for enjoyment. I share some recommended books at the end of the video. If you’re interested in reading classics please leave your thoughts down below!

WHERE AM I? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


max washington songs says:

Great vid, Brittany!!….the classics can be daunting….I read The Sound and the Fury, but it was tough…..I have yet to tackle Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake!….Infinite Jest is another tough one that I haven’t cracked yet…………..Holmes, Poe…..perfect recommendations for classics newbies……My Grandfather gave me The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was a very tiny person……I was like: “Wow, non comic-book books don’t suck!!”….others: Tarzan by Burroughs, The Lost World, The Time Machine….The Girls in Their Summer Dresses by Irwin Shaw :))

Catalyst Reads says:

All valid points. I love that you bring up the pace of reading isn’t the same for every book, and for every reader. I need to try and remind myself that.

Ryan Plourde says:

Awesome recommendations!

Catalyst Reads says:

I just did a booktube 2018 goals video, and mentioned I wanted to read more classics, non-fiction and psychological thrillers…so your video comes at a great time. Thank you.

TheMirrorWorld says:

What I’m always wondering is: Who descides which books become classics? Is every old book automatically a classic or is there a committee that meets annually? And if so, can you suggest books or do they go by how many copies were sold?^^ No, no, that was joke. I know the ancient weasel of wisdom nibbles on the corner of the books which are henceforth declared to be classics ;P
Ok no, seriously, that was a great and very helpful video! Xx

TimeAndChance says:

R u going to follow this up with an full-fledged (not early) intermediate’s guide to classic lit.? An advanced reader’s guide?
I dive into an author’s oeuvre straight into the deep end. Middlemarch, Bleak House, War and Peace. I turn Profs’ wisdom on its head. Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.”
When u were first starting to read you just tried books x, y & z & you just got out of them what you could. Do the same now with Tristram Shandy, Ulysses, Faust, Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Faerie Queene, The Waste Land, & the Cantos of Ezra Pound.
O.S. Card is a controversial author on booktube. Just sayin’.
Classical Lit.: In Praise of Folly/Erasmus; Inherit the Wind (play), Man for All Seasons/Bolt, Glass Menagerie/Williams; Murder in the Cathedral/TS Eliot; Tale of a Tub/Swift; Silence/Endo; Candide/Voltaire; Saint Joan/Shaw; Pygmalion/Shaw; Decameron/Boccaccio. I only rec what I know, & for fic that includes a of of dead white guys. Them Profs & other educators follow that which is tried & tested all too often.
If I was going to go big time into reading books of a given period, I’d pick
1)classical era Greek & Roman
2)British lit. from 1575 up to & including Milton.
3)19thC lit. to 1920, focusing mostly on the novel & on UK poetry.
After that, wing it wherever suits you. Non-western, medieval, modern, post-modern, 18thC, etc. Others are free to have other views.

BrightonDestiny says:

I always find that I love classics when I have read them, but it takes me forever to get through. Great video and awesome tips, thank you! I’m excited to read more classics in the new year.

adjacentbrown12 says:

you are awesome

BooksAndJams says:

Anthologies always bring me back to college days. I’ve never thought of using/reading one now. You share some great tips and recs here! It has been a while since I’ve read a play. I should add that to 2018 goals!

MichiruEll says:

I find that sadly, schools put into our brains that classics are meant to be dissected (analysed) and not enjoyed. My partner who has a BA in English lit actually enjoys analyzing, but for me, it’s just tedious. However, I find myself dissecting classics “because that’s what you do”. I also need to learn to stop reading if I’m not liking a book, as you mentioned.

Now a question: how do you deal with hating main characters? I especially find that with the “19th-century rich white girl who is oh so sad”. I just want to shake them violently and tell them to snap out of it. Which is why I hate Sense and Sensibility (never tried anything else by Jane Austen) and Madame Bovary by Flaubert.
Should I even try? Or should I just decide to never read anything that features a 19th-century sad rich white girl ever again?

The Lawn Gnome says:

Another very insightful video!

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