Classics That Are Worth The Read

Whether Or Not You Should Actually Read These 8 American Classics

Not each one deserves its reputation.

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Ah, the classics. The books that have been pushed down our throats our entire education. Most of us may have a love-hate relationship--I mean, yes, they're good, but are they that good?

Who decided these are the books essential to our education? News flash, they're not. At least, not all of them. Here are 8 of the most famous American classic books--and whether you should actually read them.

1. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

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The short answer: Skip it.

The long answer: "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" might be worth your time if you liked "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or if you just have an affinity for country-boy-is-on-an-adventure-and-in-over-his-head kind of stories. If you don't already know you're going to like it, Twain's style and the odd racial slur will probably get in the way of your enjoyment. If you want a taste of Twain's humor, try his short stories instead, which are just as funny and more palatable.

2. "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

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The short answer: Read it.

The long answer: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" starts slow, but it's worth your patience. It is one of the most well-crafted coming-of-age stories in literature, offering incredible insight not only into the life of its heroine, Francie, but also into the unique world of Brooklyn.

3. "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand

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The short answer: Skip it.

The long answer: My personal opinion is that Ayn Rand is insufferable, so be aware that it may cloud my judgement a bit. "Atlas Shrugged" may have been interesting at the time, but a modern reading doesn't contribute much to our modern world and understanding of philosophy, other than maybe explaining why so many people have terrible ideas. Yes, it's considered Rand's magnum opus, but frankly, that doesn't mean much.

4. "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

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The short answer: Read it.

The long answer: "The Crucible" is set during the Salem Witch Trials, but it is entirely about the 1950s. It offers a dramatic look into history and a commentary on McCarthyism. And if you don't like it, it's a quick read, so you haven't wasted much time.

5. "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

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The short answer: Read it.

The long answer: Read it, please, oh God, read it. "Fahrenheit 451," unlike "1984," really is timeless, not restricting itself to a certain time, a certain place, all separated from us by astringent world-building. The themes it raises will never not be relevant, and Bradbury's writing is both poetic and fierce.

6. "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac

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The short answer: Skip it.

The long answer: "On the Road" is entirely more popular than it needs to be. I promise you, there are better books about being an irresponsible young adult out there. Besides, Kerouac gets high on ketamine for two weeks and dashes out this sloppy self-insert fantasy, and he's "famous" and "a good writer." I do the same thing and I "need to go to rehab" and "am not allowed to get high on ketamine any more." Where's the equality?

7. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

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The short answer: Read it.

The long answer: "To Kill a Mockingbird" has lost a lot of its power as a tool for social change, but its story is still moving. The voice of Scout looking back on her childhood and the things she learned will always stand alone in literature.

8. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The short answer: Read it.

The long answer: I am heavily biased towards this book, so know that I am writing about it as someone who deeply connected with it. "The Great Gatsby" is about the futility of the American dream in a way that avoids being pretentious. It gets across its themes by making them more personal and specific, instead of falling into the hole of being overly philosophical and abstract. The timeless tragedy of "The Great Gatsby" has resonated with readers for a hundred years--it's worth a chance.

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To The Person Feeling Like They're Losing Their Hometown Friends

Don't fret to much, if they are truly your best friends, you aren't gonna lose them.

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When you grow up and leave home to go to college or whatever your plans are after high school, you and your hometown best friends promise to make time for each other. You promise to always get together over breaks and to visit each other if you aren't going to the same schools or living in the same town.

But you realize over time that maybe those promises aren't gonna be kept.

Life gets complicated. School starts to become harder and harder, there are extracurriculars and work, and trying to figure out the rest of your lives; things start to get in the way. Visiting starts to happen less and less, getting together over breaks gets more complicated, you try to stay in contact but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter. There are too many things that you have to accomplish in one day that it's difficult to know if you can even get together.

You start to ask yourself "Am I losing my closest friends?"

And the answer to that question is no, your lives are changing and things are starting to become real but they will always be there. Just because you don't talk all the time or you go a few months without seeing each other, they are still your friends. They will always care and always be there. Don't stress about it too much, they are always gonna be there, it's just that your lives are pulling all of you in different directions and it can get hard to keep up with everyone because you are all so busy.

You are growing up but you're not necessarily growing apart!

If they are truly your best friends they will always be there, and you there for them. As time goes on, your lives will continue to change but you are always gonna be friends. Just know that they are there when you need them, and when you do get to see each other, it's like nothing has changed and you pick up right where you left off. Your friendship is important to all of you. Don't let a little bit of silence or a busy life cause problems. You haven't lost them, trust me, you all are just figuring out life. Don't take it personally when you don't talk for a while.

"Amigas, Cheetahs, Friends for life" — Cheetah Girls

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10 Little Acts Of Kindness To Make A Stranger's Day

Let's spread some kindness!

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One of my favorite quotes is "It costs $0 to be nice". I love saying that to people who are rude to me (or, at least I say it after they're gone and not to their face). It takes the same amount of effort to be nice to someone than to be mean to someone. Instead of ruining someone's day, what if you made it one to remember for a positive reason?

Here are ten ways that you can improve a stranger's day. Incorporate these into your life to make an impact on the world.

1. Pay for their meal

When I was having a really hard day a few years ago, I decided to swing by McDonald's and pick up an iced coffee. I pulled up to the front window and found that the person in front of me had paid for my meal. Before I could say thank you, he had pulled away never to be seen again. Ever since then I like to pay for the person behind me whenever I can (I'm a broke college student after all). It makes someone feel like someone is out there looking out for them!

2. Compliment them

It's a priority of mine to compliment at least one person a day. If you see a cute purse or see someone rocking a new shirt, let them know you notice!

3. Put change in an expired parking meter

You've been there before: a ticket for only a few minutes over the meter. What if someone had been there to help you out and have your back? What if you were that person?

4. Post-it notes

These are great if you're on a college campus or even if you live in an apartment complex, go to the store, basically do anything outside your home! Positive affirmations left around for a stranger to spot are sure to put a smile on at least someone's face.

5. Hand out flowers

It's impossible to refuse a flower. Well, if they're not allergic.

6. Leave a big tip/kind note

My friends and I did this once at a restaurant-- the woman was overworked, but still managed to be incredibly kind and patient, which is hard to do with a group of teenagers. To thank her we wanted to give her a big tip, but none of us had money on us other than what would cover the bill.

Instead, we gave her whatever cash we had on us, any gift cards and punch cards and a long note on a napkin signed by all of us. I like to think that we made her shift a little more manageable.

7. Be positive

Be positive! If you hear someone complaining tell them the silver lining of the situation! Just don't be preachy.

8. Scrape off snow/ice on someone's car

This can basically work all the time in Michigan since apparently, it's a never-ending winter. Taking the time to help another person out will be greatly appreciated!

9. Help someone who's obviously lost

Have you ever seen someone looking like they're about to have a panic attack and freaking out because they're lost? Why not ask if you can help! Why not recommend the best places around town, too?

10. Smile

Seeing another person smile makes another person feel happier. Spread the joy!

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