A Fun Book vs. A Long Novel?


I love to read popular novels like “The Hunger Games” and consider myself an avid reader.  But I have been on page 25 of the classic “Last of the Mohicans” for two years.   All in all, I spend many hours reading for fun and doing my required reading for school.  But, am I missing out on something?  Classic books are often considered more intellectually challenging. But, reading the classics sometimes means wading through outdated language and keeping the dictionary close at hand.  With one year to go before I take the SAT’s, I decided to find out if I need to change my teen novel ways.

But, I still believe that any reading is good reading. Do I have to check out a long, classic or can I stick with my light best-sellers?  I admit that when I read books that are easier to breeze through and really do not require looking up words in a dictionary, I don’t feel like I learned anything from them.  Dhishal Tennakoon (’15) said he actually prefers more difficult books because “Longer books provide the reader with more suspense, excitement and entertainment much better than shorter books can.”   I agree that classics can be very entertaining.  I loved reading Pride and Prejudice despite having to figure out what exactly everyone was saying because the characters and plot were so complex.

I got a lot of confidence in my reading ability from finishing this book and I would like to read another of this type.  From my experience, I think it is important to choose a classic book that appeals to your interests and has just enough new vocabulary for you to learn new words, but not too much so that you struggle to read it.

Believe it or not, some experts say that even struggling through a book can be a good thing. In the March 15, 2012 issue of Psychology Today, Michael Austin in his column entitled “Want a Better Life? Read a Book.”, argued that reading books that have difficult parts helps in “… acquiring a deeper understanding about ourselves and the world we live in and applying it to life is conducive to building a better life and a better world.” In other words, when we are challenged intellectually, we grow not only as readers but as avid human beings.

I would like to understand more about myself and the world so I’ll give the classics one more try. I might never make it to page 26 of Last of the Mohicans, but maybe it’s time to check out a classic novel by a great writer like Jane Austen.