Discussion: What Makes A Book A Classic?

Hello readers!

I’m so sorry for the lack of activity here over the last few days, I’m getting incredibly close to reaching 100 subscribers now so if you know anyone who likes reading books or has a passion for classics, then please recommend my blog to them. There are two options to subscribe: A valid WordPress account or an active email address. Your support means the world to me, thank you! ❤

Now, onto today’s post which will be my first discussion post here (cue major nerves) but its something that I honestly have to credit someone else for. Charlie AKA TheBookBoy on Instagram posted this a while back.

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and published by the @foliosociety 😊 I was one of those rare people who didn't read this at school and only read it quite recently, but I absolutely loved it! It was heartbreaking and wonderful and everything I wanted it to be and more. What do you think makes a book a classic? I think it's quite difficult to define and would love to hear your thoughts 😊 #book #books #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #booknerd #bookaddict #booklover #bookish #bookblogger #goodreads #foliosociety #harperlee #tokillamockingbird #roses #flowers #vintage #bibliophile #bibliomania #nature #garden #igbooks #igreads #instabook #instabooks #instareads #reading #reader #bookworm #bookporn #gardening

A post shared by Charlie Edwards-Freshwater (@thebookboy) on

Pretty photo right? Charlie has over 5,000 followers on Instagram and honestly, he’s one of my favourite bookstagrammars so if you are on Instagram, you should stop by and give him a follow 😉 (Also, follow mine alicetiedthebookishknot where I have just over 1,100 followers, self promo guys).

Anyway, the point of this is the question that Charlie posted on his post which is this: What do you think makes a book a classic? A question that actually was really difficult for me to answer. There is a wide variety of answers on the post in response to the original question. Here is my response:

“I was 12 when I first read To Kill A Mockingbird and that feels like a very long time ago. I think what defines a classic for me is a story that sticks with you for weeks and months after you’ve read the final page. That lasting feeling.”

What I also after weeks of thought wanted to add was a story that breaks out of the traditional box. I love An Inspector Calls but for me, what stood out about it was the fact it was written as a play script instead of a novel. That really brought an edge to it since it was easier to get into the minds of the characters. That’s just my opinion.

But readers, I really want to hear your thoughts on this topic. Any classic books you’ve read that you feel is most definitely a classic? Any hidden classic gems that some of us may not realise are classics? Let’s start up a conversation about this, feel free to respond to anyone who comments but keep all things civil, my blog is designed to be a safe and welcoming place for those who want to discuss books and any bookish related thing.

Thanks so much for reading, new posts coming soon!


2 thoughts on “Discussion: What Makes A Book A Classic?

Add yours

  1. Ooh, that’s a hard one – what makes a classic? Well, for me, it’s a book which I read and reread, put on the bookshelf, forget about, then many years later, read again. So … Mockingbird is definitely one of those. I think a Classic is also one which appeals to all age groups – again Mockingbird. That leaves out those Classics which I don’t actually like though – as you know, An Inspector Calls is one of those. Maybe then a Classic is one which has been around for a while, is studied in depth, reproduced in different media – film for example. However, that leaves out books which have been written more recently – Goodnight Mr Tom comes to mind … Oh dear, as I said – that’s a hard one! Sorry this isn’t much help, is it?
    It will be interesting to see what others think …


  2. I think “Classic” to me implies a sense of antiquity, that the book in question was potent enough and “sticky” enough to resist eventual obscurity, similar to that “lasting feeling” you mention but on a broader scale. Whether that’s because they were so ahead of their time as to seem modern even as generations pass (e.g. works by Kafka, Beckett, Cervantes), or so popular and pervasive that they could be passed down as a vehicle of cultural identity (Dickens, Shakespeare, Twain). So by that token, books I love and reread very well might not be classics. But then there are books like Infinite Jest or House of Leaves which, while I wouldn’t call them classics yet based on their contemporary nature, I can imagine future generations looking back upon the same way we look back on Pynchon or Salinger.
    But then, everything in literature exists in vague scales of gray — it’s tough to define something in art the same way you can in hard science (and isn’t that half the fun?)


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