I am certain that I had the worst English literature teacher in high school. Perhaps you think yours was awful; but for British literature studies our senior year, she had us read an excerpt of Beowulf and allowed us to choose either The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring for a final project. Were you waiting for something else? Because that’s it. That’s all we did for BritLit. Want some more nonsense courtesy of Mrs. Pannell? Read here.

Since high school literature was a flop, the responsibility has fallen to me, as an adult, to verse myself in classic literature. While I hate that it’s not in my repertoire, it’s not always a fun task to catch up. I try to read a difficult classic (Dickens is the worst!) and then permit a mindless read before the next.

Continuing my efforts to “read the book before seeing the movie” has forced me into a heavier classic literature schedule, however. Rumor has it Keira Knightly is the next Anna Karenina; and a new cinematic version of Jane Eyre hit theaters this summer, so I took to the book quite diligently.

Can you really review a classic? It has, after all, already stood the test of time. It’s probably been analyzed from every perspective imaginable.

But nonetheless, a blunt point to begin. I am halfway through the book, and I am in shock that so many of my peers rave about this novel. It’s not because it isn’t lovely. Bronte is [painfully] descriptive and the start of the novel is so slow-going that I’m rather impressed she is still catching the attention of this Sex and the City generation. Still, once you pass through the beginning, you’re instantly sucked into a love story far beyond any that Carrie Bradshaw could have ever hoped for or written about.

What does that say about readers today? Aside from kids books topping the charts, are we also in danger of losing classic literature? If the Mrs. Pannells of the world aren’t teaching literature and, bound and determined as I am to make it through, if readers can’t find them enjoyable, will we indulge ourselves only in what is easy to read? Or will classic literature always stand the test of time?

And also, what were your favorite required reads in school? I need to catch up!