Is Classic The New … New?

On the back cover of last weeks Guardian Guide magazine is an advert for the latest book by John Grisham. Now I don't have any particular axe to grind where Mr Grisham is concerned; he's not my favourite of authors nor is his legal thriller genre one which I read that much of.

My gripe here is with the advert itself which, to my mind, contains not one, but two oxymorons.

Firstly, The Broker is, apparently, the new bestseller. According to my dictionary, a bestseller is a product, such as a book, that is among those sold in the largest numbers.

Secondly, The Broker is also the classic new novel. Time to refer to the dictionary again. Hmm, classic is having lasting significance or worth; enduring.

Either the agency which put this piece of advertising together is remarkably prescient or there are two unanswered questions here ...

  • How can a first edition, brand new book be a bestseller, seeing as it is, by definition, new?
  • Likewise, how can a brand new book which has only just been published be seen as a classic. In say, five to ten years time; maybe. But just after publishing? I'm not so sure.

So, just as black is hailed as being the new black, maybe classic is the new new?

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user