Mittwoch, 4. Juli 2012

Half a Year, twenty Books and a whole new Person

It is the first week of July and halway-through-the-year-posts are mushrooming everywhere over the blogging community. Of course I meant to join the general trend anyway with an update on my reading challenges, my progress in personal life as well as in reading and plans for the rest of the year, but until last night I had no idea how much this past half-year really changed me.

Yesterday I was sitting on the balcony and reading Wuthering Heights when my sister came by in a very bad mood and asked how I could read such boring books. Needless to say, she never read Wuthering Heights or any other Brontë, in fact the only classics she ever touched were a few German and Austrian books she absolutely had to read for school. Never did she read or even want to read an English classic, she knows nothing of Dicken's adorable characters apart from what she saw in the Mickey Mouse adaptation of A Christmas Carol, she never stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish a case with Sherlock Holmes and if you mentioned the name Wilkie Collins in her presence I'm sure she would think you were talking about a woman. More than anything, she never read a thought which so essentially mirrored the depths of her soul that the author must have known her, must have written these sentences about her because surely no one else in the world could feel exactly the same, just to be reminded that those thoughts were published hundreds of years before she was born.

How dare she call the classics boring and stupid when she has never read them? To say it with her own words: because they are old, and old books cannot be interesting. She is not able to imagine that maybe even when an author wrote his book by hand and had never heard of a thing like the telephone he may have felt the same feelings as she does and captured them in his writings. She cannot envision that she will feel less alone because in Jane Eyre there is a girl who thinks exactly the same way she does and who is entirely so like herself that the fact that she never lived matters little. She knows nothing of kindred spirits.
And, despite my angry attempt to explain all this to her, she can't waste her time trying to read something which she knows to be absolutely boring when there are so many good, i.e. new (fantasy) books out there.

After our argument I was furious because she condemned something I love without knowing anything about it, without giving it a chance and without listening. A little later I was sad, because I realised that most people think like my sister and that in fact I don't know anyone in real life who reads the way I do. While I love the blogging community and find it wonderful to exchange thoughts and opinions with all of you I cannot help feeling lonely at times because I can never have a face-to-face discussion about the books I read with anyone. Anyway, right now I'm feeling neither sad nor lonely, but happy and thankful for this past half-year.

I started reading the classics and simultaneously blogging in December, so now I am looking back on the first half-year of reading classic literature in my life. Not counting a few non-classic titles, I have read twenty books until now. That is not much, but you cannot imagine how much those twenty titles have changed me. Half a year ago I would have shrugged and wondered a little about it if someone had told me that all books written before 1900 were boring, now I am starting a fiery argument because those twenty books turned me into someone else. They changed me because A Tale of Two Cities made me turn pages quicker than the finale of Harry Potter could and because the love story in Jane Eyre captivated me more than the one in Twilight. Even though I am still a raw beginner, have not read a tenth of what I would like to have finished by now and in all honesty know virtually nothing about literature, I feel like I have progressed immensely. I may not be doing too well in my reading challenges, which is rather I am failing them epically, but I am not worried at all. Firstly, I have two months of holidays before me to catch up and will probably read from sun-up to sun-down and secondly I feel that I have already learned that which is most important and which so many never do because they are either too lazy or to prejudiced: to love the classics with all my heart.

Kommentare:

  1. Awww, lovely! I also struggle with having an illiterate family (I mean, not really, but they read crap, and my dad's always like 'you can't *enjoy* all these books you read' and I'm like DAMMIT YOU'RE SO STUPID!) So yeah, basically keep going and I'm so happy that the classics have done so much for you! :)

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  2. I love this post, and I share your outrage and indignance! Many times I've had the same experience. A friend rang me a few months ago and asked me what I'm doing, I said "Reading," and she said "How boring" and then proceeded to bore ME about her stupid love life, as though ANYONE could be interested in her dull boyfriend! How dare SHE call ME boring!?

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  3. "that which is most important...to love the classics with all my heart."

    That says it in a nutshell! :) What a great post. I think a lot of us book bloggers feel a little isolated that way--that's probably why we do the blogging. I just love reading about what everyone else is reading and thinking, and I don't get to do that much IRL (though probably more than many, since my mom and a friend or two are readers).

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  4. It is so frustrating when someone expresses those sorts of comments! I guess all we can do is keep trying to share our love of the classics. Enjoy all that summertime reading!

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  5. A very touching post, Cassandra! And that's exactly how I felt before I'm seriously book-blogging. I felt lonely, without anyone around me to share my thoughts, as if I lived in the outer world or something. So I'm very glad to meet people who share my interest here in blogosphere, just like you. Keep on reading classics, and never mind them who don't (want to)understand!

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this post, and you've inspired me to read more classics. I probably read about one a month at the moment but looking back, they are the ones that I remember, the ones that have meant something to me. I don't think I will ever be as devoted as you, but I can try!

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  7. I had a similar mindset that your sister before I started reading the classics. I didn't automatically rule them out as pointless, but it'd never occurred to me that somebody who lived four centuries ago could introduce me to characters who would feel like long lost friends and stories which would grip me as if I were living them myself. Once I gave them a chance, though... They became my friends, my home, the one place I would go to so I could escape from my life sometimes. To say they made me grow up is quite an understatement- what they actually did was show me worlds I had never known to exist before.

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  8. Cassandra? You know that you can always talk to me, don't you?! You can talk to me about anything, and of course also about books. There are some books you have read that I have read as well. By the way, when I'm back from China I will need your expertise anyway, I will need you to tell me which books you particularily liked, and I will need you to discuss them with you after I have finished it. China really isn't good for my "List of books that I absolutely HAVE to read"...

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