"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Classics Club, February Question of the month

What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.

Before I launch into my answer, I need to pause and ask what makes a book a classic anyway? Just because it is old and still in print? Is it a book that others have decided is worth studying? Is it a book that has somehow changed the shape of history or spoken to us about a moment in time, like The Great Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter? We may not "like" the book but we recognize the timelessness of it. "Perhaps the most eloquent consideration of this question is Italo Calvino’s essay, Why Read the Classics?, in which he defines a classic as a book that has never finished saying what it has to say'" (Salon).

Several books published since 2000 seem to have something important to say and are not quite finished saying it. Two books immediately come to mind and, interestingly, they both address the importance of  ART in our lives: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2008) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). Both are beautifully written and neither seem to be finished saying what must be said about the ways art transforms our lives and we are better persons because of ART. Now this said, I doubt that either of these books will ever be taught or studied and I have no idea if they will stand the test of time, but I hope they will.


I love this quote, also found in Why We Read Classics? “The classics are the books that come down to us bearing upon them the traces of readings previous to ours, and bringing in their wake the traces they themselves have left on the culture or cultures they have passed through” (Calvino). Both Hedgehog and Goldfinch have left their traces on my life but is that enough to make them classics? I am not sure.


Can you think of any books published since 2000 that are modern classics?


Visit the Classics Club to participate or to read what others think. 

11 comments:

  1. Timelessness. You got it. That's the word I was looking for when I was trying to describe what a Classic meant haha. I think Classics are great because like you said it shows a little bit of history there, whether the reader ends up liking the book or not.
    I can see why you'd pick Donna Tartt's book. She writes so beautifully and her story lines are pretty unique.

    Her'es mine - > Modern Classics

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    1. I like your selection of The Book Thief. Since it is set during WWII it probably does have that sense of timelessness. I need to reread it.

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  2. The Invention of Wings and The Help.

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    1. Hmm. i like both of these choices, too.

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  3. I think it's hard to think outside our own time and some books that seem so relevant today may be dated later. I also fear what will become of classics in the future. Curriculums are changing and there will be less and less required fiction in the future. It's getting replaced by other kinds of reading. The number of students choosing English as a major or even as a minor is in serious decline. So I'm not sure what will be read in the future, let alone considered classic.

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  4. Interesting choices and theme. I would agree with The Goldfinch, but really, for me, there are so very many I would love to see considered "Classic" in the future. I think it varies with each individual. There are some reviews posted on Classics Club that I am surprised someone would consider to be a Classic, and I'm sure some I select would be surprising to others! :) Nice post.

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  5. Interesting choices and theme. I would agree with The Goldfinch, but really, for me, there are so very many I would love to see considered "Classic" in the future. I think it varies with each individual. There are some reviews posted on Classics Club that I am surprised someone would consider to be a Classic, and I'm sure some I select would be surprising to others! :) Nice post.

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  6. Oh good! I am hoping to get to Elegance of the Hedgehog this year.

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  7. Elegance of the Hedgehog is an excellent choice. It may be the only book I ever bought just because I liked the title. I hadn't heard of it, or received any recommendations, but I noticed it one day at the bookstore and the title intrigued me so I bought it...and loved it.

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  8. I really like Calvino's take on what makes a 'classic'; it's beautifully expressed, and I definitely agree with it. Defining a classic is so difficult, when you get down to it! But I like what you said about your two choices, they really sound like great books. :)

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  9. Defining a 'classic' is definitely a tricky business. I love Calvino's definition, though, and I absolutely agree with it. There is definitely an appeal to books that keep speaking to us no matter how long ago they were written, or how long ago we read them.

    The two titles you picked sound like great books. :)

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