Back to the Classics Challenge 2012: What is a Classic?

Nov 26, 2011 by

This Challenge is getting some great attention already!  So many people are talking about it, Twittering about it… the enthusiasm is incredible.  So thank you for all that.  I love that you are as excited about this challenge as I am.   A few people have already formally signed up and posted book lists already.  You are already a step ahead of me!  But I’ll get there, I promise.  But in the meantime, I am seeing lots of comments and questions asking “Does this count as a Classic?”  “I want to read this, but I’m not sure if it is a Classic or not…”  Well, I am going to try and answer that here.  Try being the operative word here, because as most avid readers will tell you – just about anything is debatable, and the definition of a “Classic” is certainly no exception.

I created this Challenge last year to almost force myself into reading some of the great books out there that I hadn’t gotten to yet.  It worked for me.  I don’t want to lose that.  I have noticed that I am reading more and more new(er) release books lately, and I want to keep myself grounded in the Classics.  Therefore, I am continuing the Challenge.  Also, I really have a lot of fun with it – not to mention meeting new people & their blogs.

So, for the purpose of the Challenge – What is a Classic?  I think a basic working definition to use here would be any book that has left its mark on the world.  I want to say “literary world”, but that is not always exactly the case, is it?  It is a book that is remembered, or can conjure an image in anyone’s mind whether they have read it or not.  In most cases, these books are old.  But I also believe that some more recent works could be considered Classics, which is why I kept the “20th century Classic” category.

I really want this Challenge to be challenging and fun at the same time.  If you have a book that you want to read, feel that it is a Classic though maybe others might be on the fence about classifying it that way – argue your point.  In your review/comments on the book once you’ve read it, state your position and why it counts as a Classic.  Does that sound fair?  What do you think?

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