Originally Posted by Jasi
Not that I am a literature buff, but I can say I am a fan of classics.
Actually I have a hard time finishing a contemporary novel, whereas I tend to devour, for instance, Russian classics.
Not that all contemporary isn't worth it, it was just a generalisation. Actually, the correct categorisation should be classic literature / bad literature (with some degress in between), regardless of their historical period.
(For instance, I am sure 90% of the literary production of past centuries is shit).
So, from a purely practical/realistic point of view, the thing is, if it's a classic from the past, it means it has passed the hardest judgement of all: the test of time.
I can tell you for sure that most of these trendy Fantasy works will be forgotten (in terms of a general literature history, not of course for the enthusiasts of the genre) in a relatively short time.
From a more critic point of view, MY reply (which isn't meant to be THE absolute reply) to your question is that I usually find much more "universality" of themes in classics. They don't just tell a nice story and that's it; they challenge you to think about "deep" issues, life, death, love, God, relations. Other novels may be terrific turnpager, but when you're done, nothing changed.
I stress that I don't think at all that all contemporary novels are shit. At all. For instance, Paul Auster's Trilogy is a classic to me.
nothing personal but i hate this answer. i have the exact same feelings about classical literature as Juges, its incredibly boring to me. now i've never read any russian books so maybe they're different but most of the books i've read on the original list wren't very good. some were not funny at all(Don Quixote) like it gets praised for, or incredibly boring stupid(Huck Fin). i can get into mythology and/or stuff like the Illiad and Odyssey since those are almost like fantasy novels of today, but i swear if someones going to tell me Don Quixote was funny they have an awful sense of humor to me
i can get if someone may have liked Huckleberry Fin if it was forced reading for a class but if you're really telling me that is such a great book today without factoring it being held in high esteem i'll just say you have really bad entertainment tastes.
thats the thing about this list that bothers me tho. first of all 10, 20, 30, 50 years ago didn't have as many books as today to read. things WERE more boring with less choices for entertainment back then so if you're going to say "they've stood the test of time", well that doesn't work for me. the past were ignorant is bliss...
the other thing that bothers me is books are more subjective than almost every other form of entertainment. a person's favorite book or books of today i'd think would be very different from person to person, and types of people. some people love how to books, some love fantasy action novels, some classical literature like this thread, romance novels, etc., and lists like this seem like its just voted on by pretentious people who somehow get to create these best all time book lists that are just extremely subjective and made by the same types of personalities of whom more than likely don't have average person tastes.
again i'm not trying to offend anyone, just be blunt iin how i'm seeing this whole list. i'll never understand how some people think some of them are so great, and i'd love to do some dual reading with them where they explain to me which parts of say Don Quixote made it so funny other than him acting like a retard