What makes a book a classic? Or gives you a feeling that it will become one? I think that is an interesting question and might be a discussion for a different post. I have a feeling that a lot of the books I will be talking about today will appear on other readers’ lists as well! There are a few books that have been published in the last 20 years that I think have staying power and have something to say and will be relevant in the future.
Never Let Me Go was published in 2005, and it just happens to be my favourite book of all time. I think that there are a lot of books in Kazuo Ishiguro’s collection that have the potential to become classics. It is especially interesting because he has been writing for decades. As technology evolves, the conversations had in Never Let Me Go will remain relevant.
Pachinko was published in 2017 and I finally got around to reading it in March. The emotions that this book evokes are powerful and there is something about the scope that makes me think it has the potential to become a classic. It is such a sweeping novel and one I will not soon forget.
The Book Thief was first published in 2007 (I cannot believe it has been that long!) and it currently has over 2 million reviews on Goodreads. There are quite a few WWII novels that I think have the potential to become classics, but something about The Book Thief stands out from the rest.
The Underground Railroad was first published in 2016 and I think that the speculative nature of this story will help it to have staying power. I also think that there is the potential for something new from Colson Whitehead to surpass this one in its potential to become a classic. He is simply a genius! And while The Nickel Boys is my favourite of his so far, I do think that The Underground Railroad received more attention and has had more staying power.
The Kite Runner was first published in 2003 and, in many ways, it already feels like a classic. There was a time when everyone was reading this book, which explains why it has almost 3 million reviews on Goodreads. It is actually already labelled as a classic on Goodreads, which is interesting!
A Little Life was first published in 2015 and, while I didn’t love it, many people did and the debates about this book are part of why I think it will become a classic. I have seen some brilliant discussions about this book between those who adore it and those who have issues with it. I think a good classic fosters discussion!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was first published in 2017 and is beloved by many. I needed to include a romance on this list and this is the one that stood out to me. I think the fact that it is now being adapted will also help with its potential to become a classic!
The Song of Achilles was first published in 2011 and it continues to be extremely popular more than 10 years later. Greek Myth retellings have had such a moment and I think that The Song of Achilles is the most talked about within the genre.
Piranesi was first published in 2020 and it is the book on this list that I am least confident in becoming a classic, but it is the one that I am rooting for the most. I have not read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but there is probably an argument that can be made for that book having a better chance of becoming a classic based on what I have heard about it.
The Fifth Season was first published in 2015 and I think that this entire trilogy has the potential to become a classic! Every book in this series has won a Hugo Award. I have only read the first book, but it absolutely blew me away!