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Literature & Fiction Books > Classic Books, Novels & Literature

Classic Books, Novels & Literature

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People tend to think of "classic books" as old literature, but while age can be a component of a classic, it is not the defining characteristic. Not all vintage books are classics, and some classic novels are relatively newer. Some books that were once considered classic literature have now been all but forgotten, while other bestselling classic books were initially ignored by audiences only to be rediscovered to great acclaim years later. ThriftBooks offers a wide range of affordable classics waiting to be experienced again or enjoyed for the first time.

What Makes a Book a "Classic"?

It is a simple matter to ask what makes for classic literature, but answering the question is not so easy. Some people define a classic in terms of the effect it has on you subjectively. For example, If you think you know a book by reputation, and then you read it and find it to be more innovative, original, and unexpected than you anticipated, it's a classic. If you read or reread a book and see more in yourself when you finish than there was before, it's a classic.

However, classic novels also have widespread appeal. In other words, they produce similar effects on multiple individuals over many years. Not everyone agrees all the time about which literary works qualify as old classic books, but most people generally agree on the qualities that make a book a potential classic:

  • Universal Appeal: Classic books appeal to some of the most basic human emotional responses by exploring themes of death and life, love and hate, that are relatable to everyone.
  • Valuable Insights: While classic literary works have universal appeal, they can also offer insights that you might not have gained otherwise by providing you with a completely new perspective on familiar themes.
  • Staying Power: Because classics deal with universal themes, they remain relevant to the human experience decades, and even centuries, after they were written.
  • Intertextual Connections: The study of a classic reveals influences by other writers and literary works that came before. The more literature you study, the more you can learn about one work by reading another. Not only that, but more modern classics eventually serve as inspiration for future writers. Because this is true, there is even value in studying books that you don't particularly enjoy, at least in moderation.

The definition of a classic is fluid. This is a good thing because it means that more books can be considered classics and more people can access insights offered from a selection of classic novels that is more inclusive and representative than the traditional literary canon.

What Makes Classic Books a Great Addition to Your Library?

Part of what makes a book a classic is that it invites multiple re-readings. If you have the books already in your library, it is easier to find and read them again. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment to look at the books in your personal library and know that you have read them.

If you are a student, the reading lists you may be assigned at school often consist of old classic books. If you have these in your library already, you can get a head start on your assignments.

Why Should You Purchase Best Selling Classic Books From Us?

ThriftBooks offers a depth and a breadth to our inventory that our competitors do not. The reason is that we buy and process used and vintage books in larger amounts and thus can offer them at much lower prices compared to other online bookstores. This is beneficial if you need to buy in volume, e.g. if you are a teacher who needs books for the classroom. Another reason to choose ThriftBooks is our ReadingRewards program, which is free to join and allows you to earn points that you can then redeem for free books and other benefits.

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