Are Great Novels Only Found In The Classics Section?

Posted on March 20, 2013

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Are classics, official or unofficial, better ever time?

Are classics, official or unofficial, better every time? All books my own 🙂 

I realised something today; I only ever seem to read books that have been written by well-established authors. I’m not just talking about the authors that are a part of the furniture at Waterstones, such as Mary Shelly or Charles Dickens, but also of the modern and unofficial classics. From the travelling adventures of Jack Kerouac to Ray Bradbury’s dystopian science-fiction, when I choose a book I know regardless of whether it’s my cup of tea or not, I’m in for a good read.

And I don’t think I’m the only one who chooses to read the classics as opposed to new authors. At the end of 2012 JK Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy retailed at £20.00. Five months later and the book is currently selling for £16.00 at Waterstones. The fact that JK Rowling and her publishers can charge what they like for a new book written by the Harry Potter author just proves they know it will sell like hotcakes!

Should we take more risks to read unknown authors? After all, we’re encouraged to choose indie coffee shops as opposed to corporate chains. Or do you believe that, much like the cream rising to the top, the quality art will always get noticed and go on to be a success. William Blake lived a life of poverty only for his work to be taught in schools around the country today. I can’t help but feel this is somewhat unjust.

Last month I was involved in a project with Quick Reads, which aimed at getting the nation back into reading through the sale of bite-sized books. During the project I learned that 25% of UK adults rarely pick up a book for pleasure. A further 11% of adults pick up a book to read once a year, and 6% said they pick up a book every six months. Based on these figures, it’s no wonder we want to choose a good read and not waste time on a bad one.

Personally I always have a book on the go. Sometimes it may take me a little longer to read it if I’m busy, which is why reading on the train or other public transport is a great place to catch up on some reading. Unless, of course, you get unlucky and end up sat close to someone telling their life story (or, slightly worse, the story of last night) to their friend on the other end of the phone.

I am reading Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint at the moment; after I have finished reading it I would like to read something different. Something new, exciting, mostly unheard of and I’m willing to read ANY genre. Ultimately, I want to invest my time in a risk. So my question is this: can someone please recommend me a good read from any new authors?

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Posted in: Art and Culture