Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 1: Classics...What is a classic?

What IS a classic?

Seriously! Is it classic because somebody said it was!? A teacher? A professor? A store who bound it a special and beautiful way? For example, here's the newest gorgeous set of Penguin Classics in hardcover! Aren't the "to die for"!? I think so! 

But who decides that they are "classics"!? 

I have no idea. I truly believe that it's the consumers! That's us! Partially it's educators, librarians and booksellers (who also happen to be us, that's Rachel and I, since I'm a school librarian and Rachel's an English Teacher by day in case you didn't happen to know.) BUT, in the end I truly believe that it's the consumers!!! Here's why...

If we continue to love a book, and/or series, which means that we continue to buy it and buy it throughout the years, while also possibly teaching it in our classrooms for its value in some way, shape or form...

it then is found to be a CLASSIC...is it not!?

What do you think?

So I put forth to you my favorite list of "Traditional Classics" and you'll see that they have a certain slant to them which isn't very shocking if you know me. ;) 

Then I put forth a "New Classics" lists which I HOPE will endure through the ages...

Traditional Classics...
Anything by Shakespeare

Anything by Edgar Allan Poe

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Dracula by Bram Stoker

New Classics...
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Many of these have elements that are just like the previous "Traditional Classics" in that they are cautionary tales in some way, but they are ones that have extremely updated powerful messages that truly resonate in my opinion with both my generation and with the generations that are in the now and the upcoming times be it to do with the environment, with how we treat each other, how we treat those we have power over, how we acted on a day that was to live in infamy in our history in the United States, or is part of our history we've been trying to make up for since the beginning of our country. Maybe they aren't teaching us a lesson that is what our main stream curriculum tells us we "have to know" but they are all very important lessons to be learned about compassion, about our world around us, about forgiveness, about saying no, about standing up for others, about not being ashamed, about the fact that no matter what you ARE, you are a human being who deserves love, respect and help! 

I can't wait to check out your classics you came up with as both an English major and a Teacher Librarian I am a serious lover of classics, but also a serious lover of all of these new books that are coming out! :) 


  1. I absolutely flove the way you put this together. Fabulous post...can't wait to see the rest of the week!

  2. I love the list of new classics. I think I agree with most of them! (The ones I've read anyway!) The old classics list is awesome too!

  3. Great list. The new ones are much more appealing to me than the old. Lol. Not a big classic lover....Nice to meet you!

  4. I like your trying to define classics and including recent works. I definitely consider CS Lewis in the classics! Maybe it has also something to do with the size of the book? lol. thanks for sharing!