21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics 

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!

50 thoughts on “21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics 

  1. Nice list, I can agree with them all. I love that you put The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo on here! I loved that book and can agree that it can easily stand the test of time.

  2. Amazing list! I definitely think A Little Life will be. Totally forgot about it and The Book Thief. We do have some overlap!! I have several of these on my TBR too!

    My Top Ten!

  3. I originally had a really long list and made some tough cuts… and somehow ended up without Evelyn Hugo, House in the Cerulean Sea, and Pachinko in the final version. I love them all so much. Can’t believe I didn’t think of Never Let Me Go either. This is a fantastic list!

  4. Great post. I’ve read about half of these and heartily agree with you. I’d add Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’, Douglas Stuart’s ‘Shuggie Bain’ and Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’. Like you said, so many more to choose from. And it’s only 2022!

  5. Never Let Me Go is a no-brainer (maybe also Klara and the Sun?). I‘d throw in The Handmaid‘s Tale. It’s interesting so many have included The Seven Husbands-just started it and my expectations are hiigh. x

  6. Wonderful list and interesting choices on it too. I think Kite Runner will definitely end up becoming a classic. I even had to study it for English which seems such a typical classic thing. And it’s such an intensly emotional read. From how much I’ve heard about Evelyn Hugo I can definitely see that becoming a classic too. Although I still need to read that one 🙈
    I haven’t read Song Of Acheilles but I adored Circe & could certainly see that becoming one eventually too. I’d love for Addie LaRue to get that status one day too tbh. The pieces fit together so wonderfully & I adored it. Plus it was popular enough to get an anniversary edition after just one year.

    1. I wasn’t surprised to see that The Kite Runner was already classified as a classic on Goodreads! I think it is a perfect book to study in school.

      I would love to hear all your thoughts on Evelyn Hugo and Song of Achilles. I actually preferred Circe, but Song of Achilles seems to be the one everyone talks about!

      I haven’t read Addie but have seen it everywhere! I could definitely see that happening!

      1. I’ll definitely share them when I read them both. Kind of nervous about Evelyn Hugo as I’ll be devastated if I don’t enjoy it as much as everyone else 😅

  7. “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.”

    I feel you’re absolutely right!! I adore that book

  8. Never Let You Go is great – already an option for GCSE English Literature exams too. Klara and the Sun would be another possible for me.

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