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View Poll Results: Should we change one of the classic months to another genre?
Yes - Change it 12 30.77%
No - Leave it as it is 20 51.28%
Either way is fine with me 7 17.95%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:05 PM   #61
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and the work merits lasting recognition
The problem is that this is too vague. Take what the literary book club is about to maybe read. A Passage to India. It does not merit lasting recognition. So would it still be a classic in that case?

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“A classic usually expresses some artistic quality--an expression of life, truth, and beauty. A classic stands the test of time. The work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written; and the work merits lasting recognition. In other words, if the book was published in the recent past, the work is not a classic. A classic has a certain universal appeal. Great works of literature touch us to our very core beings--partly because they integrate themes that are understood by readers from a wide range of backgrounds and levels of experience. Themes of love, hate, death, life, and faith touch upon some of our most basic emotional responses. A classic makes connections. You can study a classic and discover influences from other writers and other great works of literature.”
Given this definition, I think a lot of people would feel that Twilight is a classic other then the age of the book.

But what about a book that shows us something that is not life, truth, & beauty? Can't it show something ugly and still be classic?

What about a book or series of books that when you finish reading you say to yourself, "I wish there was more". Would that count towards maybe being classic? What touches some do not touch others. And just because a book touches us, does not make it a classic. I've read some Star Trek books that have touched a lot of people. They may be considered classic within the Star Trek universe, but not outside. There is no one definition of classic that can embrace what a classic is.

The definitions you posted, why good are not the be all and end all of what a classic can be. The problem is that there are a lot of books that are classic are horribly awful and some of them are foisted on kids in school and that causes the kids to take a dislike to reading. All in the name of classics.


The problem is that classic is way too vague. Yes, you can know it when you see it, but just because you see it or I see it, doesn't mean others see it. In fact,

Quote:
So, what is modern classic, well sounds like an oxymoron to me:

"A modern classic, then, would have to be a book written after WWI, and probably after WWII. Why? Because those cataclysmic events shifted the way the world sees itself in irreversible ways.

"Beyond content, modern classics also demonstrate a shift in style from earlier eras. This shift began in the early part of the century, with luminaries such as James Joyce expanding the reach of the novel as a form. In the post-war era, the hardened realism of the Hemingway school became less of a novelty and more a requirement. Cultural shifts have meant that obscenities once viewed as outrageous are commonplace. Sexual “liberation” may be more of a fantasy than a reality in the real world, but in literature the characters certainly sleep around a lot more casually than they used to. In tandem with television and movies, literature has also shown its willingness to spill blood on the pages, as violent horrors that once would not even have been alluded to now become the basis of best-selling novels."
Why does a book written after WWII have to have more sex and violence? The truth is, they don't. A classic can be something that has no sex and no violence and written after WWII.


Quote:
So, seeing as there is something to the idea of modern classic and some folks here see two classic months as a "duplication" here is my proposal.

Classic - pre World War 1 (pre-1939)

this would be the month for those great books written long ago that you can still buy at borders. Most will be in the public domain so people can download them for free.

Modern Classic - post World War I

this would be your On The Road, Catch-22, A Canticle for Liebowitz, Harry Potter, Hitchhickers Guide, etc. This can also include those Pulitzer prize winners as well.

yes, I know there are classics in every genre but I still think there is merit in having months set aside for classics... especially since I don't have time to participate in the "literary" book club.

thoughts?

BOb
What about books written during WWI or WWII? Where do they fit in?

Would you not have to say that a book written 14 years ago that's still popular and may have a resurgence to be possibly a classic? 14 years is quite a good amount of time (IMHO) for a book to retain popularity.

What might be a good idea (IMHO) would be for someone to explain why he/she thinks the nomination is a classic and if it fits, it gets nominated and if not, it doesn't. Some books that are considered to be classic, I just don't see it. For example, Rendezvous With Rama. It's supposed to be a classic, but I just don't see it. And since some won't see all nominations as classic, why not have the nominator explain why it's a classic so maybe we can get everyone on board.

The last time we had classics, the limitations were such that most of the nominated books were awful. We can't have such limitations for fear of a repeat. We need to keep it open.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:09 PM   #62
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I bet if we had a poll about combining sci-fi and fantasy together, it would get a fair amount of support and people coming out of the woodwork to argue why they should be combined. It probably wouldn't win, but it would get support, same as what's happening so far with two classics.
But if you do combine SF/Fantasy then you also have to combine Mystery/Thriller as they are quite close as well.

But to be honest, SF & Fantasy are different in the true sense . But there is a book (or series) by Piers Anthony that is both SF & fantasy in the same book. But there there are also Mysteries that are thrillers. So really, we just have to make sure the books in question do not fall too much to the other side and keep mostly to the topic at hand.

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:22 PM   #63
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I have to disagree with you. I never meant anything as a personal attack and I think you've made some good points over the course of the discussion.

I think we're both being very vocal and I don't necessarily see anything wrong with it on either side. But I think Jon and then you being so vocal has confused things to a degree that it seems like more people are adamant about a change than really are.

At this point, if the poll results stay the same, I think to change the classic months in any way would be to invalidate the poll.

I do think pilotbob's offer was gracious to those not wanting two classic months, but I am giving my opinion that it doesn't seem necessary or fair considering the poll results so far.

However, he is the leader of the club so it is his decision to make. As I've said before, I'm fine with whatever is decided.
Sun Surfer, are you serious?

Quote:
But I think Jon and then you being so vocal has confused things to a degree that it seems like more people are adamant about a change than really are.
I wish I had that much power. That list was made 2 years ago.. I asked for a change and many people weighed in on both sides. I will not apologise for taking part in the conversation. I love the idea of this book club; I'm not going to sit quietly in a corner wringing my hands.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:52 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Nyssa View Post
Sun Surfer, are you serious?



I wish I had that much power. That list was made 2 years ago.. I asked for a change and many people weighed in on both sides. I will not apologise for taking part in the conversation. I love the idea of this book club; I'm not going to sit quietly in a corner wringing my hands.

Yes, I am serious!


Here's the timeline of events:

JSWolf complained about the classics months in general, then took on two classics months. Some people agreed, some didn't, but the issue continued to be pressed by JSWolf.

JSWolf even suggested "Modern Classic" to replace a classic month way back then. Some were supportive, some were not.

pilotbob said he was open to what the members wanted.

JSWolf claimed overwhelming support for a change, then issybird chimed in countering the claim. You and I and others also were involved.

Eventually, the idea of a poll was brought up. Neither I nor issybird agreed with the idea of a poll to just look at support for only the two classic months. But some others said a poll is the fairest way to decide if we should keep two classic months or not.

So pilotbob started a poll to decide if we should leave things as they are or change them. I honestly thought the two classics would lose (but barely - I was guessing close to equal support for both sides).

So far, the poll has clearly shown most people wanting to leave things as they are.

Despite that, pilotbob then offered the option of replacing one classic month with "modern classic".

I have countered that option by pointing out that to do so would be to invalidate the poll if the results stay the same.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:00 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Defining terms is probably the most useful part of any discussion. Otherwise, how the heck do you know if you and the opposition are even talking about the same things? How can you arrive at a reasonable compromise without being clear on the issues? Otherwise, it's just a lot of mushy talk, going around in circles, that involves gut reactions and emotions and not logic.
Language is a mushy thing. Lay it bare as a single word and it's even worse. It loses the context that gives it meaning. Being clear on the issues is beyond defining terms. Coming to a common understanding is more useful and that really only comes about through conversation and exchanging ideas and asking questions of the meanings inferred. I really think we're both trying to get at the same thing from different angles -- emotions have no place on the Internet.


I don't think the problem here is with two classic months. I think it is with the narrow definition of classic or the complete lack of a definition of classic. Can someone define it? Can we agree on it? I don't believe it actually is age. There will always be that point in time that we define classic as having to be older than at which we find a book of great quality that is one year not old enough. Do we let it in? Slippery slope is an invalid argument because letting that one in shouldn't open the floodgate for two years younger, three years younger. But the original line is arbitrary. It's exclusionary. Classic, to me, would be a book that you would hold up within any category as a good example for the category. People tend to understand quality when they see it, even if they can't actually define it.

"Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him" (Italo Calvino).

A book that is one of "those we know we should have read" (Chris Cox).

It is a personal choice what classic is. I would call "If On a Winter's Night a Traveller" a classic, but it is only 32 years old now.

I feel it's a poor choice to have two months devoted to such a non-genre and difficult to pinpoint topic as classic. That's why I voted to change it and suggested a couple of options in one of the threads. But the voters want to keep the category. I believe we let people nominate what they feel is classic and let the voters weed out what is not really that way just as they have told us that there is no problem in having two classic months.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:11 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by sun surfer View Post
Yes, I am serious!


Here's the timeline of events:

JSWolf complained about the classics months in general, then took on two classics months. Some people agreed, some didn't, but the issue continued to be pressed by JSWolf.

JSWolf even suggested "Modern Classic" to replace a classic month way back then. Some were supportive, some were not.

pilotbob said he was open to what the members wanted.

JSWolf claimed overwhelming support for a change, then issybird chimed in countering the claim. You and I and others also were involved.

Eventually, the idea of a poll was brought up. Neither I nor issybird agreed with the idea of a poll to just look at support for only the two classic months. But some others said a poll is the fairest way to decide if we should keep two classic months or not.

So pilotbob started a poll to decide if we should leave things as they are or change them. I honestly thought the two classics would lose (but barely - I was guessing close to equal support for both sides).

So far, the poll has clearly shown most people wanting to leave things as they are.

Despite that, pilotbob then offered the option of replacing one classic month with "modern classic".

I have countered that option by pointing out that to do so would be to invalidate the poll if the results stay the same.
How does any of that that support your accusation that "Jon and then you being so vocal has confused things to a degree that it seems like more people are adamant about a change than really are."?

Jon made a suggestion, I agreed with it, others weighed in.
Nobody has been confused.The very poll itself is showing that no one is confused. Those who have wanted to weigh in have weighed in...I'm still not seeing the problem here. It really feels like you're saying everyone should have just shut up and said nothing at all.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:46 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Nyssa View Post
Jon made a suggestion, I agreed with it, others weighed in.
Nobody has been confused.The very poll itself is showing that no one is confused. Those who have wanted to weigh in have weighed in...I'm still not seeing the problem here. It really feels like you're saying everyone should have just shut up and said nothing at all.
Whoa! "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

Surfer's not saying that, at all. The reality of this campaign is that the gadfly-in-chief kept pushing for a change to December's classic month. At the point where he claimed (and a four-letter word starting with "L" would be appropriate here) that no one had posted in opposition to eliminating a classic month, things got contentious. So first of all, the gadfly shouldn't have made a false claim, easily disproved by scrolling upthread. So while gadfly is entitled to his opinion, he's not entitled to lie about other people's opinions.

Then gadfly pushed for a poll, even to trying to keep his hands clean and getting you to start it, which you, properly, resisted, kicking it over to BOb. So at this point, where was the groundswell in favor of change? But we had the poll, and guess what? Poll didn't go gadfly's way. So gadfly said, in so many words

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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Can we please dump the vote and dump the topic for December and pic something else?
Yes, we're frustrated. Yes, we've explained our position over and over and over. But just the same, we've had to deal with objections saying, "But it's so unfair!" once the vote seemed to be going in favor of keeping the classics.

And now that things are going against them, the anti-classic faction seems to want to compromise. Strong arm tactics didn't work, so now they want to talk. Oy! Bad timing.

Some of us wanted to look at the whole shibboleth when the issue was raised. Others just wanted to change what they didn't like. And some, perhaps, just like to create trouble.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:53 PM   #68
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Common usage of the term classic does incorporate some variation of , to put it colloquially: “Still read and appreciated after all these years.”

It's fine with me to just let the votes decide what is or isn't appropriate for a month's category as long as I can say for the Fantasy month nominate The Metamorphosis. Surely no one really believes that Gregor Samasa is turned into a cockroach? The votes would not be there for that I know.



Sounds good to me, let's go with that. Though from your dates did you mean WWII?


Isn't it about time for nominations for August to start? None of this need impact that.
Yep got the dates wrong.

Yes, it is time for discussion and nominations to go up. I'm not sure why I missed them... I must have deleted my reminder before I actually started them.

BOb
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:00 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
Language is a mushy thing. Lay it bare as a single word and it's even worse. It loses the context that gives it meaning. Being clear on the issues is beyond defining terms. Coming to a common understanding is more useful and that really only comes about through conversation and exchanging ideas and asking questions of the meanings inferred. I really think we're both trying to get at the same thing from different angles -- emotions have no place on the Internet.
We've got a lot of common ground here. I think this thread has been unfortunate. I personally would have preferred discussing the aims and the appeal of the book club and trying arrive at a consensus about the topics, appealing to as broad a range as possible. But squeaky wheel and all that, we got a poll.

I'm going to disagree with you about the term classic, however. it's squishy, but it's not that squishy. There's disagreement at the margins, but I think most tend to have a sense of what it means. It's in common parlance, after all, and we seem to get along about it. And know what area of the bookstore to check!
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:04 PM   #70
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I have countered that option by pointing out that to do so would be to invalidate the poll if the results stay the same.
I never meant the poll to be a definitive referendum. Sorry, if it was taken that way. I just wanted an idea on the sentiment of the group.

The suggestion of more clearly defining the classics because people disagree on what a classic is was also an idea I wanted to gauge reaction to.

Oh, and Jon, don't be so pedantic. Pre WW-1 would be Classic and from the start of WW-1 on would be Modern Classic. The duration of the war is not a exclusive time period of the division.

BOb

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Old 07-26-2011, 06:09 PM   #71
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Whoa! "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

Surfer's not saying that, at all. The reality of this campaign is that the gadfly-in-chief kept pushing for a change to December's classic month. At the point where he claimed (and a four-letter word starting with "L" would be appropriate here) that no one had posted in opposition to eliminating a classic month, things got contentious. So first of all, the gadfly shouldn't have made a false claim, easily disproved by scrolling upthread. So while gadfly is entitled to his opinion, he's not entitled to lie about other people's opinions.

Then gadfly pushed for a poll, even to trying to keep his hands clean and getting you to start it, which you, properly, resisted, kicking it over to BOb. So at this point, where was the groundswell in favor of change? But we had the poll, and guess what? Poll didn't go gadfly's way. So gadfly said, in so many words





Yes, we're frustrated. Yes, we've explained our position over and over and over. But just the same, we've had to deal with objections saying, "But it's so unfair!" once the vote seemed to be going in favor of keeping the classics.

And now that things are going against them, the anti-classic faction seems to want to compromise. Strong arm tactics didn't work, so now they want to talk. Oy! Bad timing.

Some of us wanted to look at the whole shibboleth when the issue was raised. Others just wanted to change what they didn't like. And some, perhaps, just like to create trouble.
Then talk to gadfly! I am not gadfly I am Nyssa. I did not ask to compromise...I have never asked to compromise, but I do appreciate PioltBob's willingness to do so - Like I said it is very gracious of him. My saying it is unfair is absolutely nothing new as I had said it from the very beginning of the "campaign" as you call it. You are just now choosing to hear it becuase of this poll...Why do you think I asked for a poll in the first place? Talking about strong -armed tactics...seriously!?! You dislike Jon's lumping people in together but you are more than willing to do that to me?
Understand this - I am nobody else on this forum but me! Just as I have agreed with Jon about this I have disagreed with him on other things...like that to year nomination thing on the Literary thread. But you don't see that do you? No becuase its not what you want to hear.

Edit to Add: An apology to Jon, whom I'm assuming Issybird has decided to call a gadfly. That is obviously not your name, and therefore you should not be called outside of your name.

Last edited by Nyssa; 07-26-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:21 PM   #72
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Nyssa, to the extent you keep citing Jon, you're going to be hoist with his petard.

And please, don't ascribe motives to me. "Just now"? "Not what [I] want to hear?" I've been consistent and on message throughout this whole dreary discussion. I'll note that you've gone back to the word "unfair". You're unwilling to hear what others say, apparently, because I've addressed that word until I'm blue in the face. Get this: NO final determination about what months are devoted to what classification or genre is unfair on the face of it.

If TPTB decided to make eleven months out of twelve, SF months, I wouldn't think it was unfair. Sheesh! Some months I'd read, some months I wouldn't. The MR club isn't a lifeboat.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:26 PM   #73
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Nyssa, to the extent you keep citing Jon, you're going to be hoist with his petard.
Issybird, are you Sun Surfer? You tend to agree with Sun surfer, so I guess its okay if I treat you as though you are her. What a ridiculous thing to say! I've quoted Orlok a lot am I him? I've quoted Elfwreck, am I him? I quote a lot of people that does not mean that I am them. I treat each and every person on this board as the individual that they are and I expect to me treated the same.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:44 PM   #74
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I don't think the problem here is with two classic months. I think it is with the narrow definition of classic or the complete lack of a definition of classic. Can someone define it? Can we agree on it? I don't believe it actually is age. There will always be that point in time that we define classic as having to be older than at which we find a book of great quality that is one year not old enough. Do we let it in? Slippery slope is an invalid argument because letting that one in shouldn't open the floodgate for two years younger, three years younger. But the original line is arbitrary. It's exclusionary. Classic, to me, would be a book that you would hold up within any category as a good example for the category. People tend to understand quality when they see it, even if they can't actually define it.

"Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him" (Italo Calvino).

A book that is one of "those we know we should have read" (Chris Cox).

It is a personal choice what classic is. I would call "If On a Winter's Night a Traveller" a classic, but it is only 32 years old now.

I feel it's a poor choice to have two months devoted to such a non-genre and difficult to pinpoint topic as classic. That's why I voted to change it and suggested a couple of options in one of the threads. But the voters want to keep the category. I believe we let people nominate what they feel is classic and let the voters weed out what is not really that way just as they have told us that there is no problem in having two classic months.
I have to agree. I think the definitions we've used for classic have been way too narrow. The last time it had to be public domain. That's why I suggested along with the classic nomination, there be a small definition of why said book is considered a classic. In the long run, i think that may make for a better definition of classic.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #75
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This has turned into one of the silliest arguments I've seen in a long while. I've got a solution to the whole thing. Let's drop the book of the month and everybody can read whatever they like.

That's what I plan to do. Just isn't worth it anymore.
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