What defines or constitutes a “classic” book is open to debate and individual choice. We’ll be here all month debating the proper use and definition of “classic” when applied to a book, music, movie, etc. I’m afraid the word gets so overused at times that it may have lost its impact.
But regardless of your definition, I’ve been catching up lately on allegedly classic books I should have read by now. This is actually a bit embarrassing, especially in one particular case: I recently realized that somehow I’d neglected to read Dashiell Hammett’s “The Dain Curse.”
Given that I’m a mystery author—and consider Hammett to be among the giants of detective-mystery literature—this is like being a rock ‘n’ roll fan and suddenly realizing you never got around to checking out “Abbey Road.’
So somewhat red-faced, I can now report that what some consider Hammett’s second best novel (behind only “The Maltese Falcon”) is indeed classic-esque, if anything is.
I’m thinking that next on my “catch up” reading list will be Kenneth Fearing’s “The Big Clock.” Less well known than Hammett, Fearing seems to have a loyal following and his work has been brought to my attention more than once. Has anyone read him? What are your thoughts?
And while we’re at it, are there any other potential classics you’ve overlooked but then finally caught up with?
Any that made you ask yourself, “How did I miss this one?”
-- JOE NOWLAN