A few weeks ago, I saw a list of “new classics” issued by Entertainment Weekly. It’s movies released since 1983 that they consider to be, well, new classics (is that an oxymoron?). You can see the list here.
I love lists like this, mostly because I enjoy arguing with them! This list inevitably includes some movies I don’t like (Pretty Woman); some I just don’t think will be remembered enough to be “classic” (Speed, Gladiator); some I like but am also not sure they’re “classic” (Office Space, Napoleon Dynamite). And then there are some I totally agree with (Room With a View, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lost in Translation, This is Spinal Tap, Moulin Rouge). And, of course, some glaring omissions (no Shakespeare in Love? No Princess Bride? No Babe??)
Anyway, it made me think–what would a list of the “classics” of romance novels look like? What would be the criteria? I suppose there could be books that sort of defined the genre (Heyer, natch; The Flame and the Flower, Whitney My Love). There could be books readers still remember and talk about, long after they first read them. Ones that help break out new sub-genres in a bigger way (like paranormal, or chick-lit). It could be anything, really, and every reader’s list would be different. Just like lists of “classic” movies.
My own list would be not only the books I keep, but ones I re-read and think about long after my first encounter with them. Some of these would be:
Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels
Laura Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart and Shadowheart
Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You
Mary Balogh’s Thief of Dreams and Christmas Bride
Taylor Chase’s Heart of Deception
Judith Ivory’s Sleeping Beauty and her Judy Cuevas book Dance
Carla Kelly’s Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand
Mary Jo Putney’s Shattered Rainbows
I do re-visit all of these, despite my TBR mountains. I guess that makes them my own “classics” of the romance genre.
What would your classics be?