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.
From the golden age of Hollywood to Meryl Streep, here are some undoubted classics from the Turner Classic Movies canon.
Rediscovering the book series that redefined children's literature.
“Trifles make the sum of life."
Rachel Carson’s New York Times best seller launched a global movement.
Read an essay from Alice Walker’s book, Living by the Word.
By Alice Walker
Nobody does romance quite like the classics.
These characters were there through thick and thin.
Ms. Walker answers readers' questions about her most famous work.
Heartfelt moments and witty comebacks await.
They've bewitched us, body and soul.
By Cailey Hall
From Jane Austen to Roxane Gay, these inspiring stories prove that you are never too old to find yourself.
By Cailey Hall
Read an excerpt from Jack London's classic adventure novel.
The Peter Pan author based his characters in real life.
"Don't try to make me grow up before my time..."
"I like good strong words that mean something..." —Louisa May Alcott
The iconic feminist praises Alice Walker's ability to move readers.
Understand the story like never before with an excerpt from Margaret Landon’s novel.
Powerful wisdom from the author of The Color Purple.
These reads from the last century all deserve a place on your bookshelf.
From Melville to Didion, these first sentences created lasting and notable impressions.