One reason why it is necessary to keep “pushing” the “classic books” is that they strengthen the things that remain. For one of our present monomanias is for “innovation,” against which the classical works provide much needed traction.Without it, it is easy to feel one is living a chopping-block mode of existence, bound to cut oneself as the present accelerates implacably toward the “cutting-edge.” Slashing away, Samantha Shannon, writer of paranormal and dystopian juvenilia, is dyspeptic that the BBC (Big Boring Classicist) recommends for kids a list of books so predictable that it has made us all clairvoyant. Dyspepsia relieved:
The list isnt a bad one. Its just not a new one. Created by the public, it sets out 10 books that children should read, and includes the usual suspects: The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird and the Bible, with Harry Potter coming out on top. Yes, its right that we acknowledge that they are all important contributions to the history of literature; yes, it is also understandable that we want the next generation to experience the books that we have loved.
But havent we seen lists like this one too many times before? I was reminded of the 25 books that will stick with you and blow your mind list that the Independent released in February. With the exception of Frankenstein, the list was made up solely of books by white men, most of whose names are already entrenched in the public consciousness. The list in question acclaimed the books for withstanding the test of time but what about books written in our time? Why do we invest such little trust in books written today?
I should think that H.P. Lovecraft would be the stronger candidate than H.P. “the boy who lived.” But then, the former is one of the white men who died. But to answer: the book and the cask show that time makes lucrative both the investment and the interest. And it is Poe and the Apostles who show how in combination (books and wine), they can also make for good paranormal fiction.
Read her full post atThe Guardian