What is your top choice for a “classic” novel that everyone should read, and why?
There is a lot of literature considered classic that I have, and have not, read. There are a lot of different lists of classic books out there, which differ because there are also several different definitions of what classic literature is. Some lists contain mostly books written more than 100 years ago, and seem to be focused more on the authors (Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare) than on the books themselves. Other lists contain older favorites as well as Pulitzer Prize winners and cult favorites from a few years back. The Miriam Webster online dictionary defines the adjective classic as “used to say that something has come to be considered one of the best of its kind; that something is an example of excellence; that it has been popular for a long time.” Going deeper, it’s also claimed that a classic has to have universal appeal, has to stand the test of time (thereby eliminating anything written recently), has to be of notable artistic quality, and has to make an insightful remark upon the human condition.
|Jon Sullivan. Public Domain.
Last night I started Brave New World, and a few minutes ago I downloaded Anna Karenina. Yes, I know, it’s sad that I haven’t read either of those books yet, but there you have it. The Gutenberg Project is my favorite website for literature that’s in the public domain.
I’m looking to add to my already endless TBR list with what you consider the best of the best, whether it’s “officially” a classic or not. If you were to recommend a “classic” classic to a young reader, what would it be? (I’m torn between Pride and Prejudice and anything Sherlock Holmes.) What do you consider to be the best of the more modern classics? (My nomination is To Kill a Mockingbird.) What’s your favorite comfort book, the one you know almost by heart and can read over and over? (Mine is Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler.)