For some, these simple words evoke a strange, wonderfully contented desire to step into a world of yesterday or a world of magical fancy. For others, they evoke a grimace of forced familiarity pushed upon them by teachers who only tried to follow the lesson plan or friends and family members wanting to impress a love of reading.
However, the latter, though indeed forced unwillingly into books either much too far above their understanding or simply far from their particular tastes, miss out on the joys and friendships that can exist between the pages.
The literature to which I am referring includes the works by authors such as Dickens, Austen, Fitzgerald, and the like. Between the pages of their praiseworthy works are found characters – people – while not real in the worldly sense, but real in our imaginations, where they are cultivated into existence through the aid of brilliant writing.
Readers share in their joys, weep alongside them in their sorrows, laugh at the joviality, and rejoice at the vanquishing of the “evil-doer.” The characters we find reveal themselves slowly, over time, allowing us to grow with them, learning their strengths and weaknesses, their passions, and their secrets. We build a connection to their lives, fictitious, yet their story draws us deeper into this unknown but very enticing world.
Their struggles make them human and their triumphs play like a movie in our minds as we venture into history. This bond, which lasts until the very last page is turned, cannot ever be replaced or forgotten. And as bittersweet as it is to come to the end of such an extraordinary tale, we know that there is always hope that we may embark on the adventure yet again by simply returning to page one.
Classic literature is a way to teach, to reveal the human condition, to bring simplicity and romance back into our lives, and to ultimately give us hope that life is beautiful and that people are not always as bad (or good) as they would initially seem.
So, reader, I encourage you to try again. I encourage you to select a piece of literature of your choosing, whether big or small and read with an open heart and an open mind. Grow with the characters, listen to what the author is telling you, rejoice, weep, and laugh, but most of all, prepare to fall in love with a world you never knew existed.