Classics are Cool -- Not Boring This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 1, 2012
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What are you reading right now, outside of school? Is it the latest YA novel? Are you rereading the Harry Potter series? Are you catching up on the "Hunger Games" trilogy? Maybe a book caught your eye on a library shelf and it's proving to be a bit more interesting than you expected.

I have a suggestion for your next book: a classic. Yes, those grandiose books collecting dust on your shelf. Yes, those books that dead people wrote. Yes, those books that could substitute with the family fruitcake for handy doorstops. You've heard the names: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Plato, William Faulkner, James Joyce.

I tried to read Joyce's magnum opus, "Ulysses," once and stopped on the third page. But at least I tried.

Classics are cool, no matter what anyone says. These books have been cool for years -- that's why they're classics. They're timeless and they're relatable. Whether about betrayal, love, friendship, grief, guilt or success, classics speak to the human heart with words that transcend time. These books are anything but boring. Take them outside of the classroom and you've got a book, not an assignment.

As a busy high school student, I know it's hard to find time to read anything that's not related to school. Still, even if there's limited time, I'd rather spend it reading great books, not wasting hours reading mediocre ones.

Besides, not all classics weigh more than your textbooks. Oscar Wilde's brilliant "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is less than 300 pages. (That's shorter than the SAT vocabulary book on my desk.) One of my all-time favorite plays is Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," which is humorous, witty, a little sarcastic, and under 100 pages. Likewise, George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" is a short, entertaining play (you may know its musical adaptation, "My Fair Lady," better).

Of course, if you have the time to spend, pick a longer book. "Pride and Prejudice" is the classic of classics, given the numerous adaptations in recent years. H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are the kings of the sci-fi genre, with suspenseful, adventurous books like "The Time Machine" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" is one of my favorite books of all time for its character depth and insight into the human psyche. (Plus, tell anyone you've read "Crime and Punishment" for fun and watch their expression. Bask in your awesomeness.)

So put aside your sparkly vampire novel and your comic books. Pick up a classic and dust it off. Impress your teachers. Shock your parents. Ace literature essays. Proudly mention book titles in your college essays. Most importantly, add to your understanding of the world and the people who live in it.

You'll not only be a better reader and writer, but also a more conscious person. And you will not have wasted a single second.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

IMAdreamerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

i doubt that last line because i have wasted plenty of seconds...

i like how you wrote this with a touch of witt and how well this seemed to be thought out...

i have read some classics and they were okay but im more of a long LONG time ago person and i find nothing wrong with sparkly vampires, though it was kind of wierd how they (Bella and Edward) just decided to be in love, it seemed a little unrealistick and fast...

ha ha, great work keep writing, and please check out ... (more »)

TaylorWintryThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm
AGREED! Completely agreed. Kids in my classes always complain about reading these old classics, but I just sit there quietly and am almost finished by the time they begin! I don't think people realize that even Shakespeare's plays could be considered classics! Sure, the Shakespearean language is a bit hard to understand, but they have books that have easier translations of his work (or back-to-back readers). You're a really talented writer, and I adore reading your work. Realy nice job!!
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