Classic literature or Children’s literature?

children's literature

I made a discovery while reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin that will involve changing a goal on my 30 Before 30 list a little bit. A little bit of back story first: I got the most lovely journal from Linda, my mother-in-law, this past Christmas in which to document my love of reading. I haven’t started yet because I had it in my mind that I was going to use it to keep track of my goal to read 100 classic novels before I’m 30, and I was dreading starting that task. Don’t get me wrong, I love classic novels; my bookshelf is full of them and I appreciate them for what they are, but they are EXHAUSTING to read. They are full of antiquated language and rambling descriptions that sometimes go on for pages and my mind wanders, only to have to backtrack a few pages and try again…and again.

I had a conversation about my 30 before 30 list with a few friends and when I came to my goal of the 100 classic novels, one friend (who is an art history major and someone who I relate to quite easily because we both appreciate art and literature) said “I hate classics. They’re so boring and hard to read” and in that moment I was shocked, because aren’t we all supposed to love the classics? I think that’s why that goal went on my list in the first place – I thought that the classics should be read because they are the most cultured and respected forms of literature. But after my friend announced why she hated the classics, my brain went “You’re right!” and I realized that my goal wasn’t necessarily something that I actually wanted to do, but something that I thought I should do.

Now back to my discovery. In a chapter discussing finding happiness through having more fun, Gretchen talks about the comparison between having the fun we think we should be having (to be the people we envision ourselves to be) versus having fun that genuinely reflects who we are as a person and what we enjoy. She then confessed her love for children’s literature such as The Golden Compass, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  and my brain went “Me too!”. In that moment, I decided to change my goal from reading 100 classics to reading 100 children’s lit novels instead. I searched online for a Top 100 Children’s novels list and came across this one. I think it’s a great place to start. I couldn’t be more excited to start reading a bunch of my childhood favorites, finding new favorites and keeping track of the adventure in my reading journal!

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  • Reply winski2012Linda March 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I was so delighted at your discovery! Your love of children’s lit and your talent for illustration could lead to a career in “illlustration for children’s lit”… a wonderful career that you could do from home! Your husbie’s Aunt Elsie taught Children’s Lit at the university in Vancouver I think. She is still alive and would be thrilled at your interest! I have a number of the books on the top 100 list so please feel free to come and take (or borrow)!

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