So as you may know I made it part of my New Year’s Not Really Resolutions to read 12 classics this year.
I just felt that I wasn’t really challenging myself with my reading very much. Although I’m not exactly reaching for the See Jane Run books, there are times when I feel I could benefit from some heavyweights in there.
Plus I was sick of having to say “I’ve not read it” whenever somebody brought up certain famous novels.
(Do you know how many classics there are out there? Kind of a lot.)
So I made my sweeping statement that I was going to read 12 “Classics” this year and got on with it. Only now I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. Maybe I should have been clearer on what I define as a classic?
This all centred around a discussion I had with my Dad at the weekend. I took him back his copy of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and mentioned that I had rushed out to buy The Daily Telegraph on Saturday purely because I saw that it was giving away a copy of a collection of three of F Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories.
Dad disputed that this counted as a Classic, saying that although F Scott Fitzgerald was a classic author, he didn’t think these particular short stories counted as a “classic”. The Great Gatsby however, would be considered a classic.
We got further into debate when I announced that I was also planning to read Gone with the Wind as part of my 12. He said that although the film was a classic, the book wasn’t that famous.
So this left me reeling a little bit. Am I not setting out what I achieved to? I’ve read Midnight’s Children (still digesting that one before I feel strong enough to attempt a review) and I feel that although that’s fairly contemporary, it can be judged a classic because it was named the Booker of Bookers. But then again – is it? Am I confusing the term “classic” with “books you should read”?
But then I argued that One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich might not be deemed a classic because I’d certainly never heard of it. Should I only be reading “acceptable classics” and if so then what the hell are they?!
You see the tangled web I’m getting myself into?
So I thought I’d turn to you guys (some people call it co-dependency, I call it blogging) and ask for your opinions...
1. Does the collection of F Scott Fitzgerald stories count as a classic?
2. Does Gone with the Wind count as a classic?
3. What do you think constitutes a classic?
(I'm not asking you if you think Midnight's Children is a classic because if you say no and that means I've read that book for nothing I might never read again. Can you guess how the review is going to go?)
And then finally I would like you to name a classic that you think I should read. All titles will be put into a hat (as long as I haven’t already read them, I’m not really bad you know, I have read some) and I will draw out a winner and that will be the next classic that I read.
So you know I think we both get something out of this bargain – you know?