I am honored to participate in this blog hop, hosted by the super bloggers/authors, Terri Giuliano Long, Molly Greene, Cheryl Nolfi and Rachel Thompson.
I had to think long and hard about what a classic read was for me. Having a background in English Literature, British, specifically, I automatically think of the books mass labeled as classics. My favorite authors for industry or educationally labeled classics are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch. Both of those books had the ability to surprise me by being something more than novels written in their contemporary decades. (This is particularly evident in the modern cover featured in my link for Frankenstein, above.)
Both Mary Shelley and Iris Murdoch were able to produce contemporary pieces for their times, but instill a timeless quality into their novels. This quality means that issues, plots, subjects, characters and all the elements of the story are all able to take the reader into another world no matter what year you are reading the book, or how many times you read it. Both books surprised me by being easy to comprehend while still layering the story with things that make the reader think.
These "old" classics are examples of what I think a classic read means to me today. Any book I read that sticks with me, has a timeless quality that doesn't date the book as having taken place in one particular era (even if it is a historical plot), and is infinitely re-readable...those are the qualities I look for in a classic read.
As far as literary quality, I am not sure if I could recommend any of the books I read as classics. I read to escape to another world, so if a book can do that, even if it is not a fantasy world, then I enjoy reading it. I think only a couple of authors come close to the "accepted" definition of a classic author, which is an author who has the ability to transcend a genre and pioneer new arenas of writing, while still remaining within the constructs of a familiar genre. (This is a loose interpretation of my own for the definition of a classic author.)
Susanna Kearsley has the ability to make her genre novels something above the genre of "contemporary gothic".... There may not be a lot of higher issues, or many morality lectures to be had within the story, but the books still have excellent writing. The stories have the timeless quality I look for, and I can read them over and over, without tiring of the plot. Susanna Kearsley's books include: Mariana, The Splendour Falls, The Shadowy Horses, and The Winter Sea. Her new release due in summer of 2013 is The Firebird.
For the Fantasy genre, Patrick Rothfuss has this same ability to transcend the genre and make the stories that much more human. Patrick Rothfuss' books include: Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. The third book of the Kingkiller Chronicles is in the works, but has not yet been announced.
There you have a few examples of my classic reads. It boils down to books that have the ability to transcend time, and keep me reading over and over. If they happen to have a literary quality that brings them above and beyond the genre they are written in, then that adds a particularly nice bonus touch to the story. My main goal for reading is enjoyment, and if a book can do that, it just might have the classic quality to stick with me forever. If a book inspires me as a writer, which my favorite authors tend to do, then I win!
|Sponsored By: Terri Giuliano Long, Molly Greene, Cheryl Nolfi, and Rachel Thompson|