All Book Talk

The Classics; Should They Be Added To Your Bookshelf?

What are classic books? What makes them classics? Should you add them to your shelf? Here’s a little run-through that answers all that, and some suggestions on where to start!

What really are classic books? And why are they significant? I’m sure every middle or high schooler has asked this before when you realize you have to study a classic novel. Now, you can always Google the answer but here’s my own definition.

The classics are books that were published and then later gained success and eventually led to becoming something noteworthy. Then the hype never died, and the books started being covered in the school curriculum. Not all of the classic books will be covered by the school curriculum, but some will.

I also wanted to clarify that this won’t include Shakespeare’s plays because they are plays with a specific storyline and not books. Some classic novels you may have heard of are Wuthering Heights, Dracula (Bram Stroker), Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby and Dorian Grey.

Now it will depend on your high school, but I know most covered Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice or The Great Gatsby. Mine had us cover The Great Gatsby in 10th grade. Speaking of which, from what I learned, The Great Gatsby didn’t sell well. So the publishers sold their books to schools, and they, in turn, used the books in the school curriculum.

The question is, how did a book that didn’t sell well, turn into a classic? Well, students across many generations started bonding over their shared experience of reading said book. Then those who haven’t read it went and read it, and so forth.

Now that you have a semblance of what a classic novel is, and how some became a classic, why are they significant? And should you strive to have a few on your bookshelf?

I’ll be honest, even with years of schooling I have no idea why they are significant. I think many of us can take a guess as to why though;

  • Dracula: usually seen as the beginning of vampire novels
  • The Great Gatsby: being rich will not make you happy, “new” and “old” money dynamics
  • Pride and Prejudice: it’s in the title, but longstory short it’s about a battle of people’s pride and their prejudice against one another.

All in all, people would probably read the classics sometime in their life. In terms of adding it to your shelf, I think it’s entirely optional if you don’t have them at home or haven’t read them. But I personally find that some of the classics are very popular because of the hidden messages in between the plot of the book, so for that alone, I would probably get one or two to hold a place in my bookshelf.

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