‘A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.’ – Italo Calvino
Our next Better Reading Live Book Club is on Wednesday, 31 May at the usual time, 8pm (AEST), on our Facebook page.
Can you believe it’s a been over a year since we started this groundbreaking live book club?
This is an extra special book club in many ways – instead of reading one particular book, we’re going to look at favourite classic books in general.
We invite you to let us know your favourite classic books and let us know what ‘classic’ means to you.
We’ll let you know some of ours and the panel will discuss what makes a classic and talk about their favourites. Joining the lively conversation are very special guests Rebecca Huntley, whose list of favourite classics inspired this book club, as well as the brilliant Caroline Overington. They will discuss their favourite classics with Cheryl Akle, who is hosting the night.
A classic might be a really old favourite – Wuthering Heights, War and Peace, The Odyssey – or it might be something more modern. Think One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or those dystopian classics that have withstood the test of time such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or George Orwell’s 1984. But at what point can we declare a more modern book a classic? Is Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple a classic? Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love? Or consider modern Australian classics – Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda, Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus, Geraldine Brooks’ March? What makes a classic anyway?
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments here or in the Facebook post and we’ll discuss some of these book and ideas at our next book club.
Here are some thoughts from the Better Reading staff on what classic means to them:
Liz Durnan: ‘When I think of a classic book I instantly think of my favourite books from the far past – Dickens’ David Copperfield, Austen’s Persuasion, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Of course there are so many modern classics too. I think of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. But are these old enough to be declared classics?’
Jack Stanton: ‘When I worked in a bookstore we categorised a book as a ‘classic’ or ‘literature’ if it had been written before the end of the Second World War. That definition, although arbitrary, does work. But we are approaching a new generation of classic writers and need to decide how to best define them. What is the new criteria for a classic? Especially considering the advent of film as the mainstream’s favoured way to critique society, do our expectations of what defines a classic novel change?’
‘One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is without a doubt my favourite classic. Marquez’ Magic Realism masterpiece is the best novel ever written. There are so many clever things about it but I think above all it is supremely entertaining and imaginative. A book like no other.’
So please let us know your favourite classic novels and tune in to hear the discussion on the Better Reading Live Book Club Wednesday 31 May at 8pm Eastern Standard time. Click on the link below to join us in person on the night…