Top 15 21st Century Novels Destined To Become Classics

September 5, 2013

While visiting the blog River City Reading, I noticed a post about 21st Century Novels which were destined to become classics published by The Inquisitr (original post). As with any list, it is a point of contention and debate. I don’t feel that reviewers decide what is or what is not a classic, but the people do as well as time. After all, many books which we consider classics these days were serialized adventure stories in newspapers (The Three Musketeers for example).
But first – here is the list:

15. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
14. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
13. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
12. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
11. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
9. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron
8. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

First, I’ll admit I only read 6 of the 15 mentioned, however, I must say that several of these books have no place on the list. The Help, A Storm of Swords, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , and Freedom to name a few.

The Help, while I did enjoy the book,  it only works in the context of the 1960’s  civil rights move­ment, I don’t think people reading it in 200 years will be able to related. A Storm of Swords and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are … books in the middle of a long series. While the whole series itself might be considered a classic one day, I don’t believe that books in the middle –and hence with no or little context and history – will be able to stand on their own in the pantheon of classics.

As I posted on River City Reading’s original post, I would add The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman which in my opinion should be taught in every writing class on “how to write a book” (content aside).

Which one would you add?

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  • Shannon @ River City Reading September 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I really didn’t understand the inclusion of not one, but two books from the middle of a series. Like you said, it’s possible that the series as a whole might be seen as classic, but I can’t see someone picking up A Storm of Swords and reading it without reading the rest of the books.

    Many of the comments on my post pointed out something I hadn’t really thought of about the list, which I think is true – it focuses quite a bit on the popularity of the books rather than the merit.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book September 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

      That’s a good point Shannon – those who made up that list seem to either scour the best sellers list.

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