To Read or Not to Read?

To Read or Not to Read?

Dear students,

Good afternoon. The topic of my sharing today is “To Read or Not to Read?” But before I start my sharing today, here is a game for you?   If you can answer the following three questions, I will give you a box of chocolates.

  • The first question: How many plays did Shakespeare write? (37)
  • The second one: From which play does the quote “to be or not to be” come from? (Hamlet by William Shakespeare)
  • The last one: Which play was the film “My Fair Lady” based on? (Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (蕭伯納)

If you can answer all these questions, come to see me for the chocolates!.  If you cannot answer them, start to read more classics today. 

To many of you, the word “classics” may sound boring.  But I am going to change your mind now.  I can give you at least three good reasons of reading classics.

First, classics is entertainment

Reading classics can be entertaining.  Have you watched the film “Lion King” before?  Did you know that the film was based on Shakespeare’s play Hamlet?  Did you know that the film “Castaway” starring Tom Hanks was based on the novel “Robinson Crusoe” written in 1719 (Seventeen Nineteen)?  As you read more masterpieces, you will find that there are indeed close linkages between modern day popular culture and the classics.  So, why filmmakers keep remaking old books?  The answer is simple.  Classics have the best content and high entertainment value.

Second, classics is great language

Reading classics is the easiest way to improve your writing and speaking because great writers write in great language.  Studying works of genius will teach you to express yourself with good ideas, wisdom and even sense of humours.  Let me give you some quotes as examples.  The famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde (王爾德) writes, “As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.” (只要一個女人看上去比她自己的女兒小十歲,她就一定會心滿意足。)

Another one is “I like talking to a brick wall, it’s the only thing in the world that never contradicts me.” (我喜歡對一堵牆說話,世界上只有它不會反駁我。)

Here comes the last but the most meaningful one, “Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much.” (永遠要寬恕你的敵人。沒有什麼比這更能讓他們心煩的了。)

If you are now smiling or laughing, you already know the power of language in classics. 

Finally, classics is history

By reading classic literature, you learn about historical time periods. In many novels, writers will reflect environments, beliefs, and other aspects of their time.   For example, when you read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, you will see the conditions of poverty and sufferings of children in London in the 19th Century.

Dear students, if you want to become a wise person with good language ability, spend less time on facebook, but more on classic books today.  They will make you a different person.  To read or not to read?  I am sure you have the answer now!  Thank you.