A Slight Adjustment

November 20, 2016 Books 6

A few days ago, Karen at BookerTalk wrote a very thoughtful post about what, exactly, counts as a “classic” book. Please, go visit her blog — I think she wrote more eloquently about the subject than I can really hope to.

Anyway, this got me thinking (haha what?! I know); how well do the titles on my own Classics Club list actually qualify as classic books?

You know, I think I’ve done a decent job of packing my list with “real” classics. Some are a little more obscure or niche than others, but that’s actually on purpose. I wanted to focus a little bit on SFF and nonfiction classics, so some of the titles on the list will necessarily be below the radar of more typical ideas of classic literature. And that’s OK.

There was one title that I’ve decided to replace, though: Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse. I had originally intended to read the author’s short story collection My Man Jeeves, but ultimately decided that I’d rather have one actual novel instead. Fortuitously, a friend of mine gifted me a collection of Wodehouse stories for my birthday, and Quick Service was included in this collection. However, as awesome and “classic” as Wodehouse might be considered as an author, ultimately I don’t think that this novel in particular really qualifies as a classic in the same way that every other title on my list does.

All this blather is just to say that I’ve replaced Quick Service on my CC list!

My replacement of choice will be The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum.


I wrote last year about some Christmas-y books that draw my attention around the holiday season (The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?) and this book was included on that list. But you know what? It’s actually be several years since I’ve picked it up. I think I last read it in high school, actually. I think it’s high time for a re-read, especially considering my plans for a Wizard of Oz read-along in 2017.

How do you define “classic” when it comes to books? Do you think The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus fits my list a little better?

6 Responses to “A Slight Adjustment”

  1. Toady

    Your replacement is a good choice. I have seen a couple of people pick that particular title up this month. I am off to check out the post at Booker Talk. Defining a classic has been a forever struggle of mine.

    • Louise

      It’s difficult to figure out what, exactly, “classic” means to you (or in general). Also, Booker Talk is a great blog!

  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    I have occasionally pondered this question. Whenever I came up with a definition, I would end up thinking of a book I considered classic that didn’t fit the definition… I think I consider a classic anything published 10+ years ago that I think will still be worth reading in 50 years. Not a very narrow definition, but it suits my purposes 😛

    • Louise

      Yup, that’s a perfectly serviceable definition if you ask me! Maybe defining “classic” is kind of one of those Jacobellis cases – “I know it when I see it” and all….

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