Good evening all! And for the folks reading this in a different time zone, goooood morning!
I have posted a few book reviews this week (with at least 2 more coming next week!) so I thought I’d post something a little different! I have collected some gorgeous copies of books over the years. Thank you to my boyfriend, family and friends who have given me these beautiful books for my collection!
Basically, this post is about ‘What makes a classic book a “classic?’”
When people think of classic books, I’m sure some titles will come to mind/ stand out. ‘Moby Dick,’ ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ all seem to fit into the category of ‘classics’. But what I’m asking is why?
The sad truth is that whilst I adore those that fit into the category, some more modern books I’ve read will never be as notorious or considered in the classic category.
So what actually makes a classic? Let’s have a look at the background.
I’ve already mentioned one briefly above: time. If a book stands the test of time, usually it’s in the classic category. Generally, the older the book, the more likely it’s going to be regarded as a classic.
Another reason, I guess, is that whilst it stands the test of time, the book has to be considered ‘great’. A masterpiece, an elegant unique idea, a phenomenal story… great!
That got me thinking- is the classic category a whole new genre in itself? Classics have lots of different areas; romance, drama, political, crime etc. But as a novel, I guess they all have their unique genre. This genre of books have been discussed by academics who would put classic books on a certain ‘list’ because of their integrity and stature.
Classic books also have a close relationships with the ‘western canon’, which relates to the arts that shaped western and modern influences. For example, Homer, the author of ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’ is notably a classic author that helped define western culture. Other classic authors include Austen, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Dickens.
So, taking some of these points into account, is it possible to describe a modern day book as a classic?
I guess in short, probably not. BUT that doesn’t mean that you’re wrong if a book you’re enjoying is not considered a classic. Think of this: a book franchise that is a multi-billion pound industry where everyone in the world has heard of it. The books themselves have changed lives and created a community within themselves. You guessed it- Harry Potter. I’m sure that it ticks a lot off the list as being considered a classic.
But what about a book that only a handful of people have read? A book you absolutely adore? One that has changed your perspective on the world and its attitudes? One that you feel should be a classic? Well, I say- “why not?”
A book is what you make out of it. I adore reading and have learned a lot from a variety of different books. Some classics, some not. I have found that some books from today’s era and classic era can be overrated. At the same time, some of those books have been awe-inspiring and ones I consider a blessing to have read.
I have read a ton of classics, but that doesn’t mean I liked them all, neither do I think the list is complete. I would say Sharon Guskin’s novel ‘The Forgetting Time’ and authors such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett should be on the list in their own right!
Through all this, I would say that classics do have a certain aura about them. I can’t help but get excited when I see a limited edition copy of ‘Jane Eyre’ or ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and I swear my heart skips a beat if I see the name ‘GATSBY’ anywhere in a bookstore. I guess that’s what I was getting at about the whole ‘genre’ thing of classics. They are called ‘classic’ that for a reason. I will never stop loving hem or collecting them. To me, I really understand why they are considered special. That list just needs to expand in my opinion.
If you want to read more into classics, I would recommend googling the ‘top 100 classic books’ and you will get many lists with slightly varying titles. The majority of the lists have pretty much the same titles.
Whatever you’re reading today, happy reading! Lx
Hope you have a wonderful start to your week tomorrow! Stay tuned for book reviews coming next week and the launch of a campaign to encourage more people to read!
Comment what book should be considered a classic. Or what is your favourite classic novel?
(Oh and mum, if you look at the picture, that’s what I needed your teacup for 😉 Thanks!)