1) Books often become nominated as "classics" if they stand the test of time. Thus authors from previous centuries may be deemed classic even if they were merely "popular" in their time.
2) Another type of "classic" is a book or film one which appeared to establish a genre, so Lord of the Rings (book series) is a classic, because of its many imitators amongst fantasy writers; and Star Wars Episode IV: a new hope may also be considered a classic because of its contribution to modern film and special effects.
3) A looser use of the term can be applied when a book or film follows a genre pattern very well. Thus a new detective story or film may be considered classic because it follows the pattern of detective stories as established by Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Agatha Christie, etc...
Suspends mixed with romance and an unexpected end... I hate it when I can tell how a book ends
I feel a book considered to be a classic touches on a topic that stands the test of time. Many books both fiction and non-fiction touch on topics that draw interest today and in the future. Those that present information or a story that peaks a reader's attention can become a classic. I am not sure who puts this label on a book but to me it would be the draw of the readers over time.
Some Disney books are considered a classic such as Cinderalla. Topics in the non-fiction arena that present an opportunity to learn something about principles and their impact to individuals and/or society are time tested. To put it another way certain topics or principles will have the same impact and response today and in the future.
A "classic" can stand the test of time. If it was published in the 50's, and still has a constant, stead follow of current readers, it is a classic.
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