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Reviewing Classics October 26, 2009

Posted by rebeccareid in Reading and Reviewing Classics.
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I originally wrote some thoughts on reviewing classics for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Here it is again, if you missed it the first time around.

I personally love to read classic literature, those older books that have been around for dozens or even thousands of years. Book blogs have been a great place for me to remember my old favorites and to discover new old favorites.

Reviewing a classic on a blog may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Most bloggers review classics in a similar style to other works they review: short and to the point, or detailed thoughts about a particular theme, or sarcastic, or rambling and personal. Just because Dickens got paid by the word doesn’t mean your review has to follow the style as well! We rejoice in the individuality of book blogs.

I’ve seen some bloggers do “read-alongs” of the really daunting epics, linking to each other as they progress. Others do weekly or biweekly updates until their personal read of a mega-work is complete. I love to read those progress updates because it is interesting to see how impressions of a book change while progressing through it.

With classics, I think the fact that many people have already read it makes it ideal for online discussion. Our blog audience is our fellow book bloggers in the book community, and we all have a lot to say.

Many familiar old classics (Homer’s epics or Grimm’s fairy tales, for example) have entered in to our literary consciousness already: you may not need to give a complete plot description, and it’s hard to accidentally “spoil” the work for blog readers. With many classic works, people may relate to the issues because they’ve read retellings or even seen a movie. Learning about the original may then be fun for you and for your readers.

It’s perfectly alright to admit “I dislike this classic.” Once, I wrote that I couldn’t finish one classic; another time I posted about how much I disliked a particular classic. Both times, I received a few comments saying “I agree and here’s why” and other comments saying “Oh, I loved this book and here’s why.” Disliking the work opened up the discussion just as much as loving it might have, and I now want to give the books a second chance.

As a blog reader, I love it when someone reviews a classic. If it’s one I’ve read, I like recalling my impressions when I first read it, whether that was last year or in tenth grade. I may even be inspired to reread it. And if it is a work I haven’t read, it is fun to consider how it compares to those I have read. I’ve added so many classics to my “to be read” list, thanks to bloggers!

Don’t hesitate to blog about classics. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these old favorites.

From Rebecca Reid of Rebecca Reads
http://reviews.rebeccareid.com

P.S. There is a fun post about classics at BiblioBuffet. Go check it out — you won’t be disappointed!


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