What’s A Classic? Let’s Talk Books!
by Molly Greene
We’ve been chatting on social media for weeks now about what makes a book a classic, and many readers have responded that it’s any story that resonates and makes them want to read it over and over. And every time they do read it they discover something they hadn’t before. I agree. I believe our personal classics are things that tie us to a time, feeling, person, character or experience we want to revisit again and again. People, events and things that shape us, change us, help us grow, or remind us of who we are and who we want to become. Books are no different.
People are drawn to a story for different reasons, and what appeals to one reader’s sensibilities can make another wonder what anyone sees in it. Every reader who opens the cover of a book does so with their own life experiences calling to them just offstage. Past events color what we feel and see in the plot that currently holds – or does not hold – our attention. If we just can’t get into it, we usually put it aside and reach for another.
The themes that most often draw me into a novel and keep me turning the pages are similar: A woman, typically knocked around by life, who continues to put one foot in front of the other in spite of unsettling events. Not always the perfect Pollyanna, but at least without extreme self-pity. She’ll often cast around, lost, but whatever fix she’s in eventually helps her grow and become a different person. That’s my favorite theme: Women in the throes of “becoming.” For my favorite leading ladies, there is no pain without gain. Although the gain is often hard-won and late in arriving, it always arrives.
I read a blog post somewhere that mentioned Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea, and I requested it from the library, then promptly forgot. Two months later an email notified me that the e-book was available to download. As I read, I found Ms. Kearsley has a gift that every writer and most readers will understand: She completely removes herself – the author – from her writing, and at the same time spins a tale than completely draws the reader in.
In Sea, Kearsley seamlessly weaves two stories into one and effortlessly pulls off a character who speaks in dialect that is so well done I almost felt I was a native Doric speaker. Her characters are well developed and distinct, and so compelling I will never forget them. Gorgeous. Haunting. Beautiful descriptions, passages that made me wonder how anyone could write like that. Although some readers won’t appreciate the Scot dialect or the descriptions and complications of the intertwined plot, I loved all of these elements. It is a lovely, moving, thoughtful account that made me think about the characters long after the book was closed.
That’s what happened for me. I want to visit Scotland now, I want to see the scenery the characters saw. I want my friends to read it so I can talk with them about Sophia and John. This is my definition of a “classic read,” an author with the gift to make such an impression with her writing and her characters that I want to re-read it and study her lovely craft.
Now I have a question. What makes a book a classic for you?
Join Terri Long, Christine Nolfi, Rachel Thompson and myself January 3-7, 2013 for Classic Reads Blog Hop 2013 and share the books that have made your own “Classic Reads” list! We want to hear about your favorite stories, authors and books – regardless if they’re old, new, controversial, or simply heartwarming. What elements catapult a book from a good read to a must read for you?
This is a fabulous opportunity to share your favorites and hear about more! Not only that, every blogger taking part is eligible for a $200 Amazon/B&N gift card drawing. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to win one of two $50 Amazon/B&N gift card “Spread The Word” contest prizes. Here’s how you can participate:
- Visit Terri Long’s website [http://bit.ly/CR2013] and complete the appropriate Classic Reads Blog Hop registration form.
- If you write a post: Your post must include the sponsor banner to be entered into the $200 draw. For EXTRA entries and chances to win, you can promote one or more of the sponsoring hosts’ books at the bottom of your post by adding our book cover(s) and synopsis. All this information will be sent to you by December 24, 2012.
- If you’re sharing: You’ll need to provide a Tweet URL or a Pinterest URL for verification.
- Several days prior to the event, we’ll send an email with graphics and a new link code that will link directly to all participating posts. (Keep this email, you’ll need it, see below!)
- Schedule your post to go live at 12:01 EST between January 3-7, and respond to our email with your direct post URL. Your post URL will be added it to our link and used to validate your Rafflecopter entry/entries.
- Don’t forget Rafflecopter! Submit your entry/entries at any time for prize drawings via Rafflecopter (one entry for participating PLUS extra entries for running sponsor’s materials.) The forms are available at the bottom of the “Classic Reads 2013 Blog Hop” page (same link as above).
- Spread the love January 3-7, and learn about everyone’s own classic reads by visiting and commenting on as many hop participants’ posts as you can. We look forward to reading all the fabulous posts!
What, for you, makes a book a classic?
Join us across 1/3-1/7 to share the books that you think are classic reads, and to tell us what makes a read a ‘classic’ for you. Old, new, controversial, heartwarming – what are the things that catapult a book from a great read to a must read?
Post about the books you think are great and why. They don’t have to be ‘classics’ as we traditionally know them but anything you think is a fantastic read, in any genre.
$300 in prizes: $200/£130 Amazon gift card (open to hoppers), 2x$50/£35 Amazon gift card (open to everyone)
Sponsored by Terri Giuliano Long, Molly Greene, Rachel Thompson and Christine Nolfi
Visit http://bit.ly/CR2013 to get more information.