Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mordern Classics

Modern classics is an interesting categorization for books. We all know what Classics, with a capital "C" are. They're books that have endured. They have proven to stand the test of time. Think of the 1800s. Such a glut of authors writing yet we have but a handful of authors that are remembered; Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Wharton, Gaskell, Eliot, Trollope, and more. But comparatively small. They're like the 1% of authors. Now look to the 1900s. Just a hundred years or less isn't really enough time to know if a book will still be read and loved in another hundred years. As Stephen King himself says, he doesn't think his books will be remembered. They are loved and devoured by today's readers, but there's also something transitory about them. But there are books that people place favorable odds on enduring. The works of Hemingway are pretty much a shoo-in. Or so we think. And that's what makes, say A Farewell to Arms, a "modern" classic. We are pretty sure that a book with this moniker will go on. So much so that many of these books make up the curriculum of high school English classes. Vonnegut, Kesey, Slaughterhouse-Five, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, anyone of my generation will recognize these as standard reading. But will people a few generations from now recognize them? This is one instance in which I would love to peak into the future and see what endures. Of the books I've selected... it's a crapshoot.


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