Writing Advice

What happens when a writer reads a classic and doesn’t like it?

Last summer I read a classic that I had been wanting to read for a while. I began the journey through its pages with great hope and anticipation only to quickly find myself slugging through the prose, disappointed in not only how the story was written but in the story itself.

imageLet down, I drudged along expecting the story to get better but it never did. Like the man in a dental chair enduring a root canal, I found myself wanting the whole experience to be over as quickly as possible but the ending took an excruciatingly long time to come, and when it did arrive it failed to make up for everything preceding it.

The book never resonated with me, never moved me, and quite frankly, failed to interest me. And what made the whole experience even more frustrating is that I had expected that I was going to like the book.

So what does that make me? A writer who doesn’t like a classic book?

Maybe I’d be better off not pursuing a writing career, similar to the kid who passes out at the sight of blood should not list “doctor” as one of the things he wants to do when he grows up.

imageHave I done the unthinkable in the literary world? Should I have kept this dark secret to myself and not shared it publicly? I felt like I should be banished to an island void of all books for this egregious transgression.

But then I had a moment of clarity. I realized that what makes me different is what makes me unique. And aren’t some of the best writers some of the most unique writers? Yeah, that’s me. I’ve never quite fit into a mold so why should I try to now?

So I will put this unthinkable crime behind me and move onward, writing the stories that I would want to read (and hopefully that you would want to read too).

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the book was, it was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

8 thoughts on “What happens when a writer reads a classic and doesn’t like it?”

  1. I’m a hardcore English major and writer and there are countless classics I could care less about. I always felt bad, like how could an English major NOT like a classic, but oh well, I didn’t like some books, so what hahah

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Make no apologies for you’re in good company. I like what I like irregardless of its societal stature. If it’s crap, it’s crap. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cmosergren and Jacob:
    Thank you both for your encouragement and thank you both for taking the time out of your busy day to leave a comment. I truly appreciate knowing that I’m not writing in a vaccum, but that there are people out there who occasionally read what I write.


  4. Don’t worry…there were some classics that I really wish I had not read like Wuthering Heights. I read through it than put it down like it was a viper. I like a lot of books but they could burn that one for all I care. It was simply awful. Just keep writing what you like to write as I’m sure there are many people that would like to read it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What??!! How could you not like “Brave New World?” I mean, seriously, it is one of the higher acclaimed classics like “Wuthering Heights” and “1984.” And you call yourself a writer and a prolific reader?

    Actually, that makes you unique like me as well. I would rather have a tooth pulled with no anesthesia than read any of the above mentioned three EVER again.

    Unique is good. Definition of a classic is better left as, “A book everybody talks about, but very few have read.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. I agree with you on Brave New World.
      2. I have no comment on Wuthering Heights since I never read it (but you’re the second person on this comment thread to say it was bad so I’ll stay away from it).
      3. I absolutely disagree with you about 1984. It is one of the best books of the 20th Century and should be required reading for everyone in America. If you don’t like 1984, then we can no longer be friends.

      Liked by 1 person

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