Best Tips on How to Read and Understand Classic Literature Novels and Benefits of Buying Used Novels
The timeless classics. The Greatest Hits of Literature You've heard about these supposedly elite, magnificent books for a long time, but you've never actually picked one up and cracked open its cover. Or, in this day and age, clicked. Nonetheless, it's likely that you've wanted to read a classic novel at some point in your life.
That time has come: whether you want to read a single novel just to say you've done it, or you're ready to embark on a year-long literary journey, we've got some recommendations for you.
How to Read and Enjoy Classic Literature
Allow Plenty of Time when reading Classic literature
Although skimming a book can provide plot and character information, it will not provide the information required for in-depth analysis. Put yourself in a productive, distraction-free environment. Set increasing time goals for your reading of classic literature, such as fifteen minutes without interruption, twenty minutes, thirty minutes, and so on. Allow your mind to be completely surrounded by literature.
Read classic literature with a companion.
Let's be real. Some classics literature novels can be time-consuming and difficult to get into. Reading, discussing, or holding each other accountable with a friend can be a fun way to motivate you to read that classic on your shelf. You not only get an external push to turn the pages, but you also get the benefit of two different perspectives on the same story. Your friend may have noticed something you overlooked, or she may be an expert on an obscure 16th century custom (you never know!).
Determine what you already enjoy.
According to Brooklyn Public Library librarian Ben Gocker, all contemporary work is "imbued with classical work." So, if you enjoy Ta-Nahesi Coates' essays, you might enjoy older authors who wrote about similar topics—think James Baldwin, think W.E.B. DuBois.
If you like Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books, you might become obsessed with George Orwell's 1984 or Philip K. Dick's intriguing dystopias. Do you enjoy big, meaty stories? Middlemarch by George Eliot is a Victorian classic. Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl has you hooked? Purchase a copy of Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, widely regarded as the first mystery novel written in the Western world.
"Think of it like monkey bars," Gocker says. "If you're into classic literature, you're into reading." So, is there anything you can grasp [from which] you can begin to move into the classics?"
Many contemporary books and films are now based on classic literature. And we're not just talking about modern adaptations; there are probably more modern twists on old stories out there than you realize, and those links can serve as an excellent bridge between the very ancient and the very new.
Did you know? Clueless is based on Jane Austen's Emma; Easy A is a modern high school retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter; HBO's The Wire is inspired by Balzac and Greek tragedy; and The Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on The Odyssey.
Immerse yourself in the context/situation of a classic literature novel.
One of the most difficult aspects of reading a classic literature novel, whether written in ancient times, the 1760s, or the 1960s, is dealing with out-of-date language and unfamiliar settings. Even if we’re struggling with the language, knowing the customs, historical events, and social structures of the time helps me understand what's going on in a story. For example, a little knowledge of entailment and Regency-era etiquette illuminates key plot points in Pride and Prejudice and brings Austen's humor and social commentary to life.
You don't have to spend three days researching before reading a classic literature novel (though if that brings you joy, we applaud you!). Most classic editions include introductory essays by scholars or contemporary authors that summarize key context, share author background information, and connect the novel to today's world. Don't miss out on these fantastic resources!
Go to Google if you come across an unusual word or an unusual event. (Because I don't like to read with my phone nearby, I write my questions on a sticky note and save them for later.)
Don't Ignore the Details inside Classic Literatue novels
The author's attention to detail, which reveals the depth of their work, is one of the main reasons classic literature has stood the test of time. It's easy to reach the end of a chapter, or even an entire novel, and wonder, "What was the point of that?" Long paragraphs of description, for example, in Dickens may appear to serve no purpose, but nothing could be further from the truth. Charlotte Bronte frequently mentions various birds that fly in and out of the story in Jane Eyre, not just to add dimension to the world, but also to provide the reader with a symbol for Jane's inner journey. Don't overlook these particulars!
Ascend to the level of the greats.
Start your journey into classic literature with Homer and Shakespeare, whose works are full of obscure language and unfamiliar references, just as you wouldn't start playing a video game on the most difficult level.
Ruth Yeazell, a professor of English at Yale University who specializes in Victorian literature, recommends beginning with classic literature novels from that era because the social and historical context is most similar to our own. Novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, she claims, are "not that linguistically or culturally distant" from many others.
They were also written with a popular audience in mind, rather than an elite, intellectual class. As a result, they may be the simplest to enter. Make sure to include some historical and social context in those storylines as well. "Read books in the Oxford and Penguin editions, which have a good introduction and notes on things you don't know that might stump you," Yeazell advised.
When you're ready, work your way up to the greatest of all time.
Try reading one page at a time, referring to Wikipedia entries and dictionary definitions as needed. And starting with a short, fast work like The Tempest, which is more plot-driven than Shakespeare's hefty kings plays, may be beneficial. Abell recommends Arden editions for their "explanatory footnotes [and] great introductions" after reading all of Shakespeare on the Tube.
You'll quickly get the hang of it, and then you can progress to more difficult works.
Experiment with annotating (if you want to), when reading a classic literatue novel
When reading novels, we highlight difficult passages, draw attention to beautiful imagery and metaphors, and place book darts on memorable pages. For us, just putting a pencil (or highlighter) to paper helps us remember what we’re reading. It also allows us to go back and find important passages to discuss in book club or share with a bookish friend over a cup of coffee.
Annotating should not feel like a chore (unless you really like homework). Mark what piques your interest or piques your curiosity, not what you feel obligated to write down.
Engage with the Text of a classic literature novel
Keeping a pen and colored tabs next to you as you read is one of the best ways to practice literary analysis. You begin to understand the novel in depth by actively dialoguing with it. If you physically underline or bracket an important quotation, you are more likely to remember it. Try circling key words (like "bird" in Jane Eyre) to keep track of symbols; marking the first mention of a character along with their description; or labeling important plot, character, and theme developments with different colored tabs. Write ideas or questions in the margins of a paragraph that you can return to later when you have a better understanding. These minor interactions have a significant impact on our ability to concentrate and analyze.
Take in the audiobook version of a classic literature novel.
Audiobooks are probably my favorite way to immerse yourself in a classic novel. Hearing older languages helps you understand them better than reading them on a page. In addition, skilled narrators bring classic literature characters to LIFE! We would never have enjoyed Anna Karenina on the page as much as we did listening to Maggie Gyllenhaal's narration, nor would we have understood Zora Neale Hurston's humor and dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God without listening to it.
Ask questions when reading a classic literature novel
• All literary analysis stems from simple questions such as:
• What meaning does the author want to convey here?
• What is the character's motivation here?
• What causes this occurrence?
• What is the historical significance?
After you've given some thought to possible answers to these questions, you can use your previous interaction with the literature to back up your claim. These evidence-based responses are the crux of your analysis.
Watch a film about the classic literature novel
Check out the film adaptation of your favorite classic literature—really! Of course, some film adaptations are more faithful to the book than others. However, movie adaptations help us see the story, the time period, and the characters in a new light. When our 21st-century minds become stuck on the difficult older language, hearing and seeing the words roll off an actor's tongue can make all the difference in comprehension and enjoyment.
This is especially true for works like Shakespeare's plays, which are intended to be performed rather than read aloud. For example, in our beloved Austen adaptations, actors' facial expressions bring a lot of subtext to life.
If you don't like it, exchange it for something else.
Bottom line: there are classic literature books worth reading and ones that aren't. But it's all subjective. It's okay to leave a book halfway done, a quarter of the way done. You don't have to read the entire book to get a sense of the writer's presence, which is what literature is all about. Don't spend another second with them if you don't want to.
What, after all, is it that distinguishes a classic literature novel? The greatest novels have a kind of richness of psychological complexity. Good classics of literature have "a real obdurate heart." Any book you're excited about is a great book for you because there shouldn't be value judgment in reading.
Italo Calvino, the famous Italian author, has 14 reasons to read the classics, the best of which may be this simple definition: "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."
So, get out there and visit your local library or bookstore. You really can't go wrong with this.
Buying Used Novels
People who enjoy reading develop a positive mindset, which helps them grow in life. They have a higher level of empathy, imagination, and creativity. They create a passionate reading environment wherever they go and encourage people in their surroundings to become more interested in books.
Their gaze is drawn to a specific location whenever they see their favorite author's new book with attractive covers on the market. But the only thing that really matters is the price of books. People are hesitant to buy it because many of us cannot afford to buy new books every time. So there is only one solution to this problem: buy used novels. Moreover, purchasing used novels online is more advantageous. It gives people, especially students, relief because they need to buy their course book, which was difficult with new books. These used books on the internet save us money, time, and meet our needs.
So here are some incredible advantages to buying used novels:
The Benefits of Buying Used Novels
1. You will be able to save money if you buy used novels.
Of course, this one is self-evident. Newly printed books can be expensive, but buying used novels almost always saves you at least half the price.
2. You'll be reading more when reading used novels.
Nothing motivates you to finish your current book like a stack of equally enticing reads on your shelf. And if you buy cheap used novels, you'll have no trouble keeping that stack stacked high.
3. Buying used novels is more environmentally friendly.
Purchasing a new book isn't as innocent as you might think. Every year, the United States produces 2 billion new paper books. That's millions of trees and millions of tons of CO2 emitted - a significant carbon footprint. Yes, the artwork on the newest edition of The Great Gatsby is pretty cool, but why not help the environment by purchasing one of the millions of used novel copies already on the market?
4. There is a common history in used novels...
Purchasing a used book is akin to purchasing a box of chocolates... You never know what kind of ideas will be scribbled in the margins. That's part of the appeal of buying used novels. You are actively participating in a shared history, and you are free to add your own ideas along the way.
5. You can share used novels with others.
You've finally finished War and Peace. Your favorite passages have been highlighted and earmarked, and you are now free to share your enthusiasm for the well-worn tome. There's something appealing about lending a used novel to friends and family. It's adding another mind to the pages' cumulative life!
6. Used novels have already been gotten into.
Books are not meant to be coddled. Instead of worrying about how to keep the crisp, coffee-stain-free pages of newly printed books, simply purchase a used novel copy. The binding is most likely bent, and you may come across some rumpled pages along the way - but toss it in your bag and hit the road. Used novels have been around the block a few times... they've seen things you wouldn't believe. We're willing to bet they'll make it through a short trip in your tote bag.
7. You have the option to exercise your first-sale rights with used novels!
We (and you) can sell used books, music, or any other copyrighted product because of the first-sale legal doctrine. With the rise of eBooks and other digital works of art, many troubling interpretations of first-sale rights have emerged. Buying used novels is an excellent way to take advantage of your long-established, money-saving first-sale rights!
8. There are some truly incredible vintage covers of used novels out there.
There's no shortage of breathtaking artwork adorning the covers of used novels, from epic 1970s sci-fi to hunky romance novels. Cheesy? Without a doubt. However, it's a great way to strike up a conversation on your way to work on the bus.
9. The smell of an old used novel.
Fresh off the press, all new books smell the same. Used novels, on the other hand, have spent years, decades, and even centuries developing their own distinct aroma. There's that smell of This-Spent-200-Years-In-A-British-Library... This-Was-Well-Loved-By-A-Parisian-Aristocrat smell, and the less pleasant, but still charming, This-May-Have-Suffered-Water-Damage-At-Some-Point-In-the-Recent-Past smell.