Reasons Why You Should Re-Read the Classics

There’s an old saying that you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going. You could also say that knowing where you’ve been helps you know where you are. This is particularly evident when it comes to art, and even more so in regards to literature. Having a good understanding of the classics can help you to appreciate your favorite books even more. With all the focus these days on shorter, digital formats and the popularity of streaming media, it can sometimes seem like reading an old-school book by a classic author is out of fashion. I’d argue that this is exactly why it’s so important to check out some books that have withstood the test of time. Here are a few reasons why you owe it to yourself to re-read the classics.

They’ve Influenced Everything

They say that there’s nothing new under the sun, and the more you read the more you realize this is totally true. By going back and reading the classics, you’ll quickly see certain plot points used over and over throughout the years. You’ll also realize just how many of these iconic plots are still super relevant today. The more you read, the more you’ll see that a ton of popular movies are actually just classic literature in disguise. Clueless is really just an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma (and has been considered the best Austen adaptation) and 10 Things I Hate About You is actually a modern riff on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. These things are everywhere and the more you read, the more you’ll recognize it yourself.

You Still Find them Everywhere

Once you’re well versed with classic authors and books, you’ll start to see them practically everywhere. Just look at science-fiction. H.G. Wells is the godfather of the genre and his work rings true today and is still popular with audiences. His 1897 novella, The Invisible Man, has been adapted into a movie plenty of times (with another on the way) and has made its way into video games. A slot game based on the story takes its style cues from the 1933 movie and remains a huge hit with audiences. And it’s more than sci-fi that keeps popping up; just look at the new drama series Still Star-Crossed to see the continued influence of Shakespeare today.

They Make You a Better Reader and Writer

You know one of the things that most great writers have in common? Almost all of them were/are voracious readers. If you fancy yourself as the kind of person that knows how to turn a phrase, then you’re probably already aware that one of the most sure-fire ways to improve as a writer is to read more. I understand that sometimes reading the classics can feel like work, and in many ways it is. But sometimes I like to think of it as working out with your brain. Tyrion Lannister said in Game of Thrones that a mind without books is like a sword without a whetstone. The more you read the most you understand grammatical rules, learn new words, and find new inspiration for your own work!

You Can Get Them For Cheap (Or Even Free!)

One of the best things about classic novels and stories is that they’re super affordable. Because of the way copyrights work, many of these amazing books fall under the public domain. This covers all works published in the U.S. before 1923 and a number of other great stories as well. That means that you can often get these books totally free as eBooks or for just a dollar or two at your local bookstore. Filling up on classics is a terrific way to build an impressive library for very little money, and one of the most cost-effective ways to read this side of a library card.

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Wife, homeschooling mom, YA author of paranormal, dark fantasy, and horror, huge fan of the Oxford comma, book blogger, crafter, baker of sweet things, lover of the culinary arts, self-appointed zombie slayer.