What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.
Before I launch into my answer, I need to pause and ask what makes a book a classic anyway? Just because it is old and still in print? Is it a book that others have decided is worth studying? Is it a book that has somehow changed the shape of history or spoken to us about a moment in time, like The Great Gatsby or The Scarlet Letter? We may not "like" the book but we recognize the timelessness of it. "Perhaps the most eloquent consideration of this question is Italo Calvino’s essay, Why Read the Classics?, in which he defines a classic as a book that has never finished saying what it has to say'" (Salon).
Several books published since 2000 seem to have something important to say and are not quite finished saying it. Two books immediately come to mind and, interestingly, they both address the importance of ART in our lives: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2008) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). Both are beautifully written and neither seem to be finished saying what must be said about the ways art transforms our lives and we are better persons because of ART. Now this said, I doubt that either of these books will ever be taught or studied and I have no idea if they will stand the test of time, but I hope they will.
I love this quote, also found in Why We Read Classics? “The classics are the books that come down to us bearing upon them the traces of readings previous to ours, and bringing in their wake the traces they themselves have left on the culture or cultures they have passed through” (Calvino). Both Hedgehog and Goldfinch have left their traces on my life but is that enough to make them classics? I am not sure.
Can you think of any books published since 2000 that are modern classics?
Visit the Classics Club to participate or to read what others think.