Welcome back, it’s Tuesday, which mean’s it’s also Top 10 Tuesdays, which is now hosted by Jana @ThatArtsyReaderGirl, make sure to check her blog out!
It’s been a while since I managed to post a Top 10 in time for Tuesday! I definitely missed this so I’m back at it, this time for 21st C. books I think will become classics.
Well. I’m going to preface this by saying that there are so many books out there that probably should be on this list but I haven’t read them, yet. I didn’t want to include anything I hadn’t read, because how else would I know if it’s a classic? That being said, there are some books on here that are not my favorite thing, but I just know they’d be the kind of literature that would become a classic. There are also cases where I’ve picked a book I’ve read from the author, but I think a different book of theirs will become the classic.
Anyways, here’s the list:
Never Let Me Go | Kazuo Ishiguro
I absolutely adore this book, and yes, I think it will be a classic. If not this, than at least one of Ishiguro’s works. He’s a very talented writer and Nobel Laureate in Literature. This book has won awards/been nominated for many and it’s even been turned into a film. It’s dystopian, and one of the best I’ve ever read, to be perfectly honest.
I think it speaks to the writing that I love this book, since I usually do not like reading literary novels, so that alone is enough for me to believe this is a classic in the making.
Persepolis | Marjane Satrapi
I read this book so long ago, but I can still remember pages of it and how evocative they are. This book is part one, but I’m sure both volumes will end up being classics. Through the graphic arts medium, Satrapi manages to capture so much within its pages. It’s a memoir of her childhood in Iran, chronicling her experiences growing up amid the Islamic revolution.
I learned so much from this book, and I can easily see it being used in classrooms to connect students with worldly perspectives during a pretty historic moment, thus I think it could easily become a classic.
Norwegian Wood | Haruki Murakami
To be honest, this was not a winner for me. I’ve read other Murakami books that I like more, but I do hear a lot about this one in particular. Now, I don’t know if this will be his work that will become a classic, but I am positive at least one of his works will. Possibly Kafka on the Shore, I don’t know, I didn’t read that one.
What I can say about this one is that Murakami knows how to depress you with his writing – he really goes there. For this fact, alone, I know he’ll become a classic novelist. Most pieces of classic literature are works that really hit you in the grief bone.
Fun Home | Alison Bechdel
This one’s kind of interesting. It’s also a graphic memoir, but it’s also been turned into a musical, go figure. I do think that Bechdel has her place in history (Bechdel Test, anyone?), and this book was published to great acclaim – it’s won numerous awards including a Stonewall and a Lambda. I think it’s a very masterfully written work and I am a sucker for illustrations.
I didn’t love the book, myself, but I realized as I was reading it that it is a classic in the making, at least for the fact that it reflects so many LGBTQ+ experiences.
A Visit from the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan
I read this book in college for a writing course. It was one of the most unusual books I’d ever read at that point. It’s more like a collection of stories with a through-line through all of them. It’s also won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and many other awards, so yeah, probably a classic in the future.
Now, could I tell you what it’s about? No. I do not remember much from this book. I do remember one story was about a character that was obsessed with songs that have pauses in them (as in moments of silence) and had a whole PowerPoint presentation about it, which was basically the format of the chapter.
The Road | Cormac McCarthy
I hate this book. Will it be a classic? Probably. But I hate it. I hated every minute of reading it and it’s only like 150 pages. Still, it’s probably one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. So, so bleak. A dystopian that is pretty devoid of hope. I really couldn’t relate to the characters, the story did not interest me, and it was slow, slow, slow.
And yet, it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner. People love this book. It’s on a lot of lists that bookish people make. For me, it is not a winner, but I’m not in charge of what is and isn’t a classic.
Pachinko | Min Jin Lee
This is such a good book, and I honestly do believe it will be a classic. Lee is a masterful writer and this story, stretching generations, is full of timeless connections and emotions. I definitely see this book as being the kind to be studied in writing classes. The prose is elegant, beautiful, and at many times bleak (but at least I could connect with the characters).
The funny thing is I actually enjoyed her first book more than this one, which I read after I’d read this one! But still, I think Pachinko is the obvious classic in the making.
Bear Town | Fredrik Backman
Here is another book where I don’t think this work, in particular, will become a classic, but I think one of Backman’s works will (probably A Man Called Ove). Now, I’ve only read this one and it blew me away. I love it and I recommend it all the time. Backman’s writing is amazing and his characters are so well developed for there being so many of them!
I think that this work would certainly be worth of becoming a classic, but I don’t think it’s received as much attention as Backman’s other work.
The Hunger Games | Suzanne Collins
I felt the need to slip in a few YA books on this list, since this is a newer genre of writing and I’m sure it, like Children’s Literature, will have it’s own classics. I can easily see this book becoming one, simply for the fact that it launched such a massive amount of dystopian read-alikes. Dystopian was barely a subgenre before this book cracked it wide open.
Now, since I’ve brought it up, I do like to mention that Battle Royale by Koushun Takami is it’s predecessor and (I think) is a huge influence on Hunger Game. Both books have their differences, and I could see both becoming classics, at the very least to show progression of ideas in literature.
The Hate You Give | Angie Thomas
Another book from the YA genre that will become a classic. This book is so tied with its moment in history that I think many will turn to it in order to get a sense of what was going on at this time. Thomas encapsulates so much in this work, and her characters are so interesting and relatable.
This, I feel, is a story that sparked a whole host of others and gave so much deserved and necessary spotlight to a very marginalized, underrepresented group of readers. It’s also an award nominee/prize winner of so many awards.
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How about you?
What are some of 21st C. books you think will become classics? If you’ve read any of the books I’ve listed here, let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you!