Thursday, 19 November 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Books for Posterity

btt2 Today’s question was suggested by Barbara:

Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?

This is an interesting topic as I have just been discussing this with my seniors. We have been doing a unit on poetry and have talked a great deal about themes that are universal.

Often in the ‘classics’ the themes are universal and that is what makes them last (although I am personally not sure how Bleak House has lasted so long). What authors now need to do is find themes that are universal but also to set them in such a way that they feel as if they are relevant. I find that often today authors use to many pop culture references and this means that the books loose their appeal.

However I do think that there are some books that will last. Not all of them are books I love but I think they will stay because they talk of themes that are universal. Some of these books are Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audry Niffenegger.

As I compile this list I realise that all of these books are set in a time gone by (yes I know that at least part of some of these books are set in more recent times but the majority of the story takes place in the past). Interesting. I wonder if this is because we have a hard time seeing our own time with any objectivity. Maybe we need to set things into a time that we feel is stable. Where we know the outcome of events. That this makes it secure.


Novel Insights said...

You make a good point about universal themes. Love, friendship and personal struggles are all ones that I think stand the test of time.

gautami tripathy said...

Toni Morisson too is another one who ought to be remembered for eternity!

Booking through Posterity

Novroz said...

I agree on The Kite Runner :)

Tho horror is not a universal theme...I believe Stephen King will stand through the test of time :)

Amanda said...

I'd have to disagree with you on the Time Traveler's Wife. It's just erotica disguised as literary, and it says nothing at all about the human condition. It's bilge. I hope that one goes away within the next decade.

Priscilla said...

Remains of the Day is a good one, although I know some people (not me) who would argue for Never Let Me Go. I am just not sure about how dystopian fiction will play in 100 years!

I must respectfully disagree with you about The Time Traveler's Wife.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Zee! As I started reading your post, The Kite Runner also came to my mind as something that is universal and timeless, transcending all cultures. To Kill a Mockingbird is another.