Friday, 4 January 2013

Classic reads bloghop - what makes a classic?

Happy new year and welcome to 2013 from Dag-Lit Central.

Or maybe I should be saying hoppy new year, because I'm starting the year by participating in another one of these blog hop thingies. I'm quite the twinkle-toes by now.

The event I'm participating in is the Classic Reads Blog Hop sponsored by Terri Giuliano Long, Rachel Thompson, Molly Greene and Christine Nolfi. There are some great prizes to be won, including a $200 Amazon gift card.

So, the big question to be answered today is what makes a classic?

Being the anal type of soul that I am, I thought I might begin by looking for a definition of what classic actually means - and this is what I found:
  1. Belonging to the highest rank or class.
  2. Serving as the established model or standard.
  3. Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.
There were a few additional meanings - actually there were quite a lot of additional meanings - but I figure that this gives me enough to go on.

So what can this mean when it applies to books?

Let's start with definition one. I suppose it means that any book which belongs to the highest rank or class must be a classic. But what does that mean? Who decides what the highest rank or class is? Is it open to anyone, or should we be relying on experts - and if the latter, who decides who these experts are? I reckon definition number one is getting a bit problematic, so lets pass on it for now.

Okay, how about definition two? Any book that serves as an established model or standard is a classic. I suppose that refers to books like Lord of the Rings, which set the template for epic fantasy. But does that mean that once the standard has been set, any book that follows it can't be a classic? And what about a book that doesn't follow these standards, in effect creating new ones - does that become a classic - or do we need to wait until other writers start following this new template before deciding that we have a new classic on our hands? Oops, I think we're struggling with definition two as well.

So how about we try definition three. A book that has lasting significance or worth. I reckon this is the best definition so far. A book that stands the test of time, that people in subsequent generations come back to again and again - that must be what a classic is. But hang on a second - what if a book is really popular for a couple of generations and then disappears - is that no longer a classic? Or what about one that is rediscovered - does that now acquire classic status it didn't previously have? Now that I think about it, definition three isn't so clear either.

See, this is the problem with being me - I have a terrible tendency to overthink things - to the point where I end up being unable to figure anything out. Looks like that's the case with classics as well. I don't think I'll ever figure out which books are classics and why. Then again, I'm not sure it matters. I like to read a mix of books - old ones that have been around for a while and new ones that look exciting. And as a writer, well I don't know if anything I write is a classic or not. I just write what I want to write.

Once you are done with my obfuscations, be sure to visit the other participants in this blog hop, and go to the event home page to enter the prize draw.

And here's a little info about the books of the event sponsors:

Mark of the Loon - Molly Greene


Synopsis: What happens when a workaholic serial remodeler falls in love with an old stone cottage built by an ornithologist and his eccentric Irish wife? If you’re Madison Boone, you kick your budding romance with handsome Psych Professor Coleman Welles to the curb and lose yourself in a new project.

Madison renovates distressed homes in addition to her busy real estate sales career. When she hears about a quaint house on a private tract of land overlooking Lake Sonoma, she climbs in the window for a private tour and falls in love with the place. Good fortune enables her to purchase the Blackburne’s property, but far more than a new home and lush gardens await discovery during this renovation.

As Madison works on the remodel, she’s drawn into an old love story with dangerous consequences. She unearths buried secrets and discovers herself in the process. Good thing she has three wise, hilarious friends to advise her along the way! Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores deep friendship, choices, and how individuals cope with loss.

In Leah's Wake - Terri Giuliano Long


Synopsis: A Story of Love, Loss, Connection, and Grace

At the heart of the seemingly perfect Tyler family stands sixteen-year-old Leah. Her proud parents are happily married, successful professionals. Her adoring younger sister is wise and responsible beyond her years. And Leah herself is a talented athlete with a bright collegiate future. But living out her father’s lost dreams, and living up to her sister’s worshipful expectations, is no easy task for a teenager. And when temptation enters her life in the form of drugs, desire, and a dangerously exciting boy, Leah’s world turns on a dime from idyllic to chaotic to nearly tragic.

As Leah’s conflicted emotions take their toll on those she loves—turning them against each other and pushing them to destructive extremes—In Leah’s Wake powerfully explores one of fiction’s most enduring themes: the struggle of teenagers coming of age, and coming to terms with the overwhelming feelings that rule them and the demanding world that challenges them. Terri Giuliano Long’s skillfully styled and insightfully informed debut novel captures the intensely personal tragedies, victories, and revelations each new generation faces during those tumultuous transitional years.

Recipient of multiple awards and honors, In Leah’s Wake is a compelling and satisfying reading experience with important truths to share—by a new author with the voice of a natural storyteller and an unfailingly keen understanding of the human condition…at every age.

Second Chance Grill - Christine Nolfi


Synopsis: Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which The Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson


Synopsis: Welcome to bestselling author Rachel Thompson's newest work! Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, BROKEN PIECES is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again.