Tips to Make the Most from Reading Classic Literature and Ways to Get Rid of Used Books
Classical literature includes ancient works that have stood the test of time and are still widely read today. Some well-known examples are Virgil’s Aeneid, Homer’s Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno, and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Whether you are a student, an enthusiastic reader of classical literature, or an essay writer free in his imagination who wants to delve deep into the written topic – you may wonder where to start. Familiarizing yourself with a text before reading it, using reading strategies to improve comprehension, and looking for ways to reflect on the text can help you understand a work of classic literature.
Make a list—or a few lists
What makes a classic book, anyway? There’s no strict definition, which can make it almost impossible to get started. Authoritative lists are here to help. The Guardian has a compilation of 100 best English-language novels, which comes with obliging, one-sentence explanations for why each work deserves a place in the sacred canon. Le Monde, Time Magazine, and The Telegraph offer similar lists.
You’ll notice certain books cropping up again and again: J.D. Salinger’s angsty faux-memoir The Catcher in the Rye, Kurt Vonnegut’s biting war satire Slaughterhouse-Five, Vladimir Nabokov’s troubled Lolita, and, hopefully, Tolstoy’s unremitting epic War and Peace. These are some works you could start with, should their summaries pique your interest.
But keep in mind that “the classics” span a broad range. ” ‘Classic’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘old’,” Gwen Glazer, a librarian at the New York Public Library, tells Quartz. “A classic [can just be] an important book making a contribution, or a really good representation of a particular genre.” Instead of making one massive, overwhelming bucket list, break it up. Draw up a list of Victorian classics. Or theatre classics. Or science fiction classics.
Immerse yourself in context
One of the trickiest parts of reading a classic, whether it was written in ancient times, the 1760s, or the 1960s, is encountering outdated language and unfamiliar settings. Familiarity with the customs, historical events, and social structures of the time helps me comprehend what’s happening in a story, even if we’re struggling with the language. For example, just a little bit of background knowledge on entailment and Regency-era etiquette illuminates key plot points in Pride and Prejudice and makes Austen’s humor and social commentary shine.
You don’t need to spend three days researching before you read a classic (but if that brings you joy, we’re cheering you on!). Most editions of the classics feature introductory essays from scholars or modern authors that summarize important context, share author background information, and connect the novel to today’s world. Don’t skip these excellent resources!
If you encounter an unusual word or unfamiliar event, go to Google. (We don’t like to have our phones nearby when reading, so we write our questions on a sticky note for later.)
Practice annotating (if you want to)
In addition to writing our questions on sticky notes or keeping a character list handy, we love to write in our books—especially my classics. We underline confusing passages, highlight beautiful imagery and metaphors, and place book darts on memorable pages. For me, the simple act of putting pencil (or highlighter) to paper helps me retain what I’m reading. It also helps us go back and find important passages that we want to discuss in book club or share over a cup of coffee with a bookish friend.
Annotating shouldn’t feel like homework (unless you really like homework). Mark what interests you or sparks your curiosity, not what you feel like you should write down.
Draw up a schedule
You can aim to read a book a week or one a year—it doesn’t matter. Stig Abell, the new editor of the Times Literary Supplement, read all of the Shakespeare canon while commuting to work. He assumed an hour of commuting time a day, which was roughly a play a week. That’s all of the Bard—38 plays in total—in less than a year.
Whatever your schedule is, just make sure to stick to it, lest you fall into the easy “I’m sure I’ll pick this back up at some point” trap and end up with a tome just gathering dust in your living room.
Absorb the audiobook
Audiobooks are perhaps my favorite way to experience a classic novel. Hearing older language helps me comprehend it better than reading on the page. Plus, skillful narrators give classic characters LIFE! We never would have enjoyed Anna Karenina on the page as much as we did listen to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s narration—or understood Zora Neale Hurston’s humor and dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God without listening to it.
Be social about it
In spite of the stereotype, reading doesn’t have to be a solitary act. Reaching out to friends about books or signing up for a site like Goodreads, which offers personalized book recommendations from friends across your social networks, can be an excellent way to get hooked on certain types of literature.
Even just posting a query on Facebook—perhaps a quick, “Hey, does anyone have recommendations for good classic books?”—can yield inspiration. You can also put down the internet and try joining a real-life book club, which comes the added benefit of meeting interesting new people.
Read with a friend
Let’s be honest. Some classics can be slow and difficult to get into. Partnering up with a friend to read, discuss, or hold each other accountable can be a fun way to motivate you to tackle that classic on your shelf. Not only do you get the external push to turn the pages—you also get the benefit of two different minds approaching the same story. Your friend might notice something you missed, or she might happen to be an expert on an obscure 16th century custom (you never know!).
Work your way up to the greats
Just as you wouldn’t start playing a video game on the most difficult level, don’t start your venture into classic literature with the likes of Homer and Shakespeare, whose works are full of obscure language and unfamiliar references.
Ruth Yeazell, a professor specializing in Victorian literature in Yale University’s English department, personally recommends starting with classics in the Victorian era because the social and historical context of that time may be most similar to that of our own. Novels like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are “not that linguistically or culturally far away” compared to many others, she says.
They were also written specifically for a popular audience—not a particularly elite, intellectual class. That means they could be easiest to get into. And make sure to add some historical and social context into those storylines nonetheless. ” Read books in the Oxford and Penguin editions, which have a good introduction and some notes to things you don’t know that might stump you,” Yeazell said.
When you’re ready, tackle the greatest of the greats slowly and surely. Try reading a page at a time, consulting Wikipedia entries and dictionary definitions if you need. And it might prove beneficial to start with a short, fast work like The Tempest, which is more plot-driven than Shakespeare’s hefty kings plays. Abell, who read all of Shakespeare on the Tube, recommends Arden editions for their “explanatory footnotes [and] great introductions.”
You’ll quickly get the hang of it—after which you can move your way through trickier works.
If you don’t like it, give it up for something else
Bottom line: there are classic books out there worth your time, and ones that aren’t. But it’s all personal. “Leaving a book halfway done, a quarter of the way done—that’s okay,” Gocker says. “You don’t need to read the whole book to get a sense of the presence of the writer, which is what you’re really getting from literature. If you don’t want to spend another second with them, don’t.”
What makes a classic good, anyway? According to Yeazell, “the greatest novels have a kind of richness of psychological complexity.” Gocker says good classics of literature tend to have “a real obdurate heart.” To Glazer, “any book you’re excited about is a great book for you, because there shouldn’t be value judgment in reading.”
Book reading is one of the greatest habits to incorporate in one’s life. Reading a book almost daily in your lifetime will make you have a pile of books later in your life. These are not easy to get rid of like you would get rid of a movie from your laptop by simply deleting it. Books are physical in nature and without the right ways to get rid of them, you may mess up your house or room or even lose great knowledge if you just decide to dump old used books. You may have piles of reading materials, shelves of books or standing bookcases that you might want to reduce or totally get rid of. Here are the top five ways you can easily get rid of them right off the bat. Anytime you feel like to do so.
Ways to Get Rid of Used Books
Decorate your house with old used books
You might have fallen in love with the books you read in your previous years in life and do not want to really get rid of them. This is because the old used books keep you or remind you of memories that are so meaningful to you. Perhaps you might not want to lend that book that you led you to meeting your wife at the local store. Or a certain book may remind you of your past hard times. That book you bought for self-improvement while your life was capsizing. Such memories are dear to us, nobody wants them to fade away. That is why we have some books we will never lose. This leads to books piling up over the years. So, what do you do?
One of the easiest ways is to have a small stand that can carry like up to ten books. Put there monochromatic vintage books and see how your friends marvel at how you are such and intelligent guy. For vintage books were written in the past and have quality content from greatest authors. You can stack them together in a creative pattern and wrap them in ribbon or fabric that may have some inspiring statements.
Paint your books with your favorite color or color that matches the interior of your room or house. It may look absurd but paint can really be a huge change on the look of things. Colleen talks about several paints such as chalkboard paint. This will enable you to change that catchy message that you have written on the painted old used books any time you feel like. You can also just rip off the covers of old used books if they are really worn out, she says, “They are farmhouse pretty tied with twine or fabric.” You can check it out. This article is also great in teaching you how you will decorate your house.
Create your own little shelf from old used second hand books for memories
Imagine having one little great shelf in your living room. Your grandchildren hanging around them and asking you which is your favorite so you start telling them the author’s story and they get amazed at how you are good at storytelling, which makes them eager to get started with reading them old second hand books, beautifully shelved in your living room. This can event remind you of your youth. That might even make a great conversation starter with old friends who may also have read the old second hand books.
This point hits hard if you are that guy who values the saying that goes, “A book does not lose its value once you finish reading it.” You can have visitors of whom one or two may want to devour you old used books. What a way to create a bond with a visiting stranger who just got enticed by your books and borrowed you one!
What if your shelf is somehow huge and you would like to make just a little bit of money from your old used books? Well, that is a good idea. Small money enough for you to just buy some candy. Yeah, you can create some place where people in your hood come to read your old used books as they pay you, probably hourly or per book. You can even start a business if for example let us say that they are students. For most of young people are interested in reading. Just start selling them stationery, maybe some everyday carry student tools. Just be creative, there is a lot that can rise from your non-professional library. How to shelf the books neatly remains to be the question. Well, there are several good resources online that teach you different ways of how to shelf your old second hand used books.
Donate your used books for free or for money
Donate to a local charity
Not all of us can afford books, live alone new books. Even used books. Donating them to a local charity is one of the best ways to help such people. We are humans and that means we are always there for each other, not only as a shoulder to lean on but such small thing which in fact matter. If you have some and you feel like, you can visit and get to donate one or two.
Lend second hand old used books to friends and relatives
What are friends made of? This has a lot of answers but among them someone may say that friends are made of little things they do to each other. Invite you high school friend that you have missed over the years and have a cup of coffee. Of course, around your shelf. Being in your late years, you all prefer reading a book in the evening sun just to end the day, peacefully. He then gets interested in one of them and you of course will be more than happy to lend him one. What a way to create a bond that never dies!
Sell your used hand books online
Selling second hand books online might be one of the best options if you want to totally get rid of the book. You can help someone out there become more knowledgeable as you also make some profit. Apart from selling old used books online, we also buy them if you feel like. You can contact us and get started with selling second hand books online.
Let go off of your old second hand used books
We as humans love each other by creating a bond that is not easily broken. It is no different when it comes to those who are in love with the books they read. Yes, it will feel sad when you will be parting with that book that taught you much in your youth or that which brings back flashbacks of nice memories. Just breath, take your time and accept that everything is not permanent or everlasting. Maybe write something good in the book for the next reader. Just feel the emotions but let go off of holding to it. Close your eyes and give that little kid you met earlier this week and invite him to your house. Have a great conversation, perhaps watch a movie and bless him with the book. You can also make it a routine to just give the book to the nearest available person once you finish reading it and you have no plans for reading the old second hand book once again. It will create you a habit, many will remember how good of a person you are, without having the load of books in your house.