What is a classic book? In our opinion, it’s any work that proves a good story will endure. Classic books tend to populate high school reading lists, lists of books everyone should read, and more.
There are books that are considered classics within specific genres, such as classic science fiction books, classic gothic horror novels and classic romance novels. There are classics that distill the voices of certain times and places, such as books from Lost Generation writers or from the Harlem Renaissance.
Classic books also have the tendency to become cultural touchstones—everyone knows what it means to tilt at windmills; to chase a white whale; to ask “to be or not to be” (and if you don’t; it’s high time you cross these classic books off your TBR). They’ve also been turned into iconic films, sparked some of the most hated characters known to man, and invented fantastic places we can only dream of visiting.
While many books that we consider classics were written long ago, the best ones are truly timeless, telling tales that resonate with people around the world and across generations. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, it's time to see for yourself.
Nobody wrote whodunits like the Queen.
Revisit the books that started it all.
Class is in session.
Go beyond Crime and Punishment.
Have you read these foundational classics?
By Keith Rice
Steinbeck showed that migrant farmworkers were "citizens of the highest type."
They're not bad—they're just written that way.
Celebrate black authors’ fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
Learn more about the woman behind influential pieces of literature such as The Color Purple.
The Jazz Age literary icon who couldn't resist living to excess.
Harrowing tales from Florida to Kentucky.
A “Modern Prometheus” that left a timeless mark.
With stories old and new, these gothic horror novels have the classic dark mood you love and the modern twists you can't resist.
By Kara Brand
The horror genre's oldest characters continue to spook, so keep the garlic handy.
"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise."
When in doubt, hit the books.
Which book deserves the title?
A look back at a banned book that grapples with racism in the Deep South.
Harper Lee's words still ring true today.
Almost a century later, hope continues to endure through disillusionment.