New York's famous bookstore, The Strand, is celebrating its 80th anniversary with The Strand 80, a list of its customers' 80 favorite books. I've read over 50 of them (yes! go double literature major) and several are among my personal favorites. I discussed it a bit with a friend and she pointed out these are not necessarily meant to be classics -- they are popular picks. Of course, many are undisputed classics (Les Miserables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Crime and Punishment, Homer's Odyssey). Others might more commonly be called pop-culture phenomena (The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter).
That led us to wonder, though: What makes a classic? Obviously a work that can stand the test of time is often called a classic. If you can read a book written 50, 100, 200 or more years ago and find that it resonates with you today, then that's classic. There have to be more criteria than that, though. What do you think?
By the way, there is exactly one picture book on the list: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.