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Was Mark Twain right when he made this statement? Even in the 19th century were classics unread?

From the blogs that I follow and people on Twitter that I follow nobody seems to read a classic novel anymore. Is it because so many contemporary books are on offer that are these classics no longer read other than by secondary schoolers studying them for their English literature exams? Actually, I read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee as a school project and it became my favourite novel, it’s probably the only novel I’ve read several times.

If we do read a classic novel, is it because we think we should or some list on Facebook or online says you should read these 50 novels before you die?

I’ve recently starting reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles after watching and enjoying a TV dramatisation, but I must admit I’m finding the language pretty hard going. I can’t get through as many chapters in one sitting as I can with other contemporary novels as I find myself re-reading to understand what I’ve read.

In the past couple of years I’ve read Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger and more recently I tried to read Anna Karenina and only got half way through. To be honest, both these classics bored me to tears and I didn’t enjoy them at all.

The shame of it is that so many of these books are free to download from sites for e-readers but are we just no longer interested?

The BBC Big Read conducted a search for the nation’s favourite book in 2003, here’s the top 10 of that list:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

As this was 10 years ago, it probably could you do with updating, leave me a comment and tell me what’s your favourite classic novel?

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