The Classics Club Monthly Meme #31: Modern Classics

classics

I’m finally making time to answer The Classics Club’s Monthly Meme! This one sounded really interesting:

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.

This was a tough question for me to answer for two reasons: 1) the word “classic” means something different to most people (some people consider books older than 100 years classics, while others define classics as books that have had a fundamental impact on culture and literature); and 2) an example of a modern classic came to me so quickly I thought it was too cliche of an answer. But I’m going with it anyway because I sincerely think it will still be regarded as a classic to future generations of readers.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

I’m cheating a bit because the first book was published pre-2000, but the last one wasn’t released until 2007 so it can still be considered at 21st century classic.

Why do I think Harry Potter will be labeled a classic in the future?

  • It persuaded a revival of reading. I know of people who do not naturally like to read, but they have read and enjoyed Harry Potter and have even desired to read other books afterwards. (Yay for converting people into readers!)
  • It has already been taught in schools. Isn’t that one of the requirements for a book to be considered a “canon”? I was always so jealous of my university friends who took lit classes that had Harry Potter on the syllabus.
  • Its themes are timeless. Harry Potter has similar themes to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, two series that are also considered classics.
  • It has influenced a number of other writers and their works. Some of these authors include Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and Daniel Handler (A Series of Unfortunate Events). (Which works has J.K. Rowling listed as “probable influences” for Harry Potter? The Illiad, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Emma, and The Sword in the Stone.)

Do you think Harry Potter will be considered a classic in 25-50 years? What other books do you think are or should be considered modern classics?

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15 thoughts on “The Classics Club Monthly Meme #31: Modern Classics

  1. That’s definitely a tough question. Most of the books I read have been published after 2000, but I find it difficult to tell whether any of them will be classics. It’s hard to know what will resonate with a future generations, but I agree that Harry Potter will probably still be around in 100 years.

  2. I had to chuckle to myself upon reading your post. In my mind, this series is already considered “Classic.” I guess I was surprised that it wasn’t…but you’re correct. I have read the whole series 3 times, and honestly, if I wasn’t so involved in book clubs, read-alongs, etc., I would reread it this year, too. It is just one of my favorite series of all times! Nice post!

  3. I so agree that Harry Potter is already ‘classic’ status that I find it shocking when someone dismisses them, or sneers them as mere ‘kids books’. Which reminds me, I need to find a classic Children’s book for the Back to Classics challenge…

    • While the early installments of Harry Potter are child-appropriate, the later books are not. There are some dark themes and images in those final books! And I think the series isn’t directed towards one age group. I know people of all ages who read and enjoy these books.
      As for a classic children’s book…one of my favorites growing up was Where the Red Fern Grows. I’m long due for a reread (best to stock up on tissues first!). Good luck with your challenge!

  4. Love that you choose these! I adore the HP series and definitely think they are modern classics. I didn’t read the full series until I was in college and became a fan then, unlike most HP fans in our generation. However, I’ve read them several times now and am currently listening to the audiobooks with my husband. This is definitely a series I look forward to sharing with my future children.

  5. Harry Potter is a perfect choice for this – I know it will be considered a modern classic, if it’s not already generally thought so. The points you mentioned of why are very apt too. I clicked the link for the list of books that are said to have influenced HP, and was surprised by the some of the books mentioned. And some books sound really good too – I think have a list of more books to read! :)

  6. Great choice. I totally agree… I also think a book called “Jasper Jones” could work for this category. Off topic.. totally loving the blog layout (check out mine… not self promo… and you might see why :-) I love how you’ve made it your own. Looking forward to reading more.

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