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message 1: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (edwagemann) | 992 comments How do you define the Classics
Which of them have you read?
Which ones do you think deserve their recognition?
Which ones do you think are overrated?


message 2: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
I am not sure exactly how to define the classics. Definately books that are in the canon count as classics. I have a list of 100 classics that are considered "must reads," I started working my way through it about a year and a half ago and I have read 64 so far. I think The Bronte Sisters and Jane Austen are way overated, I also think Kerouac is overated. I think Moby Dick (while usually considered a classic) is super underated. Hunter S Thompson also does not get the recognition he deserves.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed Wagemann (edwagemann) | 992 comments I agree about Moby Dick, People dismiss it because it is too long or they just dismiss it as an old classic that nobody can relate to today, etc. But its just incredible.

I've never read the Bronte sisters or Jane Austen, so I can't speak to those.

Btw, where did you get this list of 100 at Jenny?


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina What a coincidence. A friend and I have been debating this the last couple of days. He thinks To Kill a Mockingbird is a highly overrated classic that does not deserve to be on school readings lists, while I completely disagree.

What do you all think?


message 5: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Christina wrote: "What a coincidence. A friend and I have been debating this the last couple of days. He thinks To Kill a Mockingbird is a highly overrated classic that does not deserve to be on school readings list..."

I think To Kill a Mockingbird has earned its place on school reading lists.... However, it might be a bit overrated. It is not my favorite.


message 6: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 218 comments Mod
Ed Wagemann wrote: "I agree about Moby Dick, People dismiss it because it is too long or they just dismiss it as an old classic that nobody can relate to today, etc. But its just incredible.

I've never read the B..."


This is what I did to make my own personalized list. I combined numerous of lists like these. Then I crossed off all duplicates and everything I had already read and filled in the blanks with things by those authors I had never read. For example Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck was on most lists but I had already read it so I crossed it off and added East of Eden instead (which I loved more than Grapes). It took me a while to simply compile the list, but.... it has been such an interesting literary adventure.

http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/...

http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A09349...

http://712educators.about.com/od/nove...

http://www.listsofbests.com/list/6679...

http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/exhi...

Anyways, like I said, making the list for me was a process in itself, but I think I got the best list possible for me.


message 7: by Ed (last edited Dec 28, 2012 07:24PM) (new)

Ed Wagemann (edwagemann) | 992 comments Wow, that's great. I'd like to see your list...

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As far as the writing goes, To Kill a Mockingbird is a good book, but it is not great in my opinion. What makes it an 'important' book or a classic is that it had an immediate impact on society. It was similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (another important book but not necessarily a great book if judged soley on the quality of the narrative).

Only a handful of fiction writers in America have been able to create novels that are big, immediate successes which actually change or enlightened the standards/perceptions of a specific social issue

Steinbeck was able to do this in the above mentioned Grapes of Wrath of course, and it is something that thousands of writers have aspired to since. A lot of it probablly has to do with timing, but that in itself suggests that the author must be intuned with his/her times and have a clear pulse on society and the times he/she is writing in. So for that alone, the authors of such books deserve recognition.


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