Thursday, February 20, 2014

Classic Books? Yes or No?

(from flavorwire.com
by Jason Diamond)


Part One:

Which Books Should We Stop Calling Classics?

Recently, at Salon, Laura Miller wondered what makes a book a classic, and who gets to say which books should be included in the conversation: do booksellers or online book communities like Goodreads get to make the call? Do critics? Should we consider David Foster Wallace’s work among these classics, even though it’s so recent? Does a canon even exist or matter?

Taking all of these questions into consideration, we asked a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their take on which books should be considered classics — and also which titles they would drop from the so-called canon. Today we present the answers to the latter question, and hope you’ll join the conversation in the comments by letting us know which books you don’t think should still be called classic works of fiction.

Click here to see the 14 "classics".

Part Two:

The New Classics: 21 Writers Tell Us Which Books They’d Add to the Canon

What makes a book a classic? We’ve been revisiting the question recently thanks to a piece by Laura Miller at Salon,which explored what makes a book worthy of inclusion in the canon. Should David Foster Wallace be counted among the greats? Does Slaughterhouse-Five stand alongside Ulysses and the novels of Charles Dickens? Do these questions even really matter?

We asked a handful of critics, writers, and publishing industry people for their take on which books should be considered classics — and also which titles they would drop from the so-called canon. Yesterday we presented our participants’ answers to the latter question; today, we give you their thoughts on which new or underrated books deserve classic status.

Click here to see the 21 "classics".