I loved taking part in Bionic Book Worm’s Top 5 Tuesday last month and when I saw the amazing topics I couldn’t wait to take part again. This week it’s Books I Consider Modern Classics, and I found it surprisingly easy to name my favourites! Classics alone are still under debate, let alone modern classics. A quick Google gave me titles from the ’50s and ’60s mainly, but I don’t consider these modern any more. For this list I decided to focus on books around the time I was born, in the mid ’90s, that could be considered modern classics now or in the future. I think lots of contemporary books are overlooked for traditional classics, so I’m excited to share my list with you!
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (2003)
I read this book as a teen and fell in love with this book. It was the first time I’d read something which was truly diverse, and importantly so. The Kite Runner carries a really significant message that everyone should read. It gives a wonderful insight into a different culture and a society dictated by religion, race, and politics. These are real issues, with similar problems happening now. It’s modern and raw and very important.
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne (2006)
Despite being a children’s book, this is another novel with a really important message. A heart wrenching story about the unlikeliest friendships in extraordinary circumstances also acts as a warning against war. The exploration of history from the innocent eyes of a child makes this another hard hitting novel. I believe this is a modern classic and will be read for years to come.
- The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling (1997 – 2007)
This is something a little bit different but I’m hoping you all agree with my choice. This makes my modern classics list because of the huge impact Harry Potter has had on lives. It completely changed books and films for me and many others and the legacy still exists now. I see this a little bit like Lord of the Rings: a series which people fall in love with and pass down to their children. I truly believe Harry Potter will stand the test of time.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Coming of age stories are pretty common when you think of classics, and I believe The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the modern equivalent. It reminded me very much of The Catcher in the Rye, which I had to read in English at school. Perks explores the pressures of society on teenagers, making a lot of social commentary whilst being relatable for teens, even now. There are so many important aspects to this book, which makes it a modern classic for me.
- Life of Pi – Yann Martel (2001)
I also read Life of Pi as a teenager and still remember the experience to this day. This novel is a brilliant example of a modern classic thanks to all the writing techniques used. It’s packed full of many of the literary techniques I studied throughout GCSE and A-Level but you also don’t realise this until after, which is the beauty of the book. It’s clever, picturesque, and moving. This easily deserves a place on my modern classics list and from my quick Google it seems that its already making other lists too.
All of these books have shaped my reading experience and life as a whole, which I don’t think is a coincidence at all. Modern classics should have the capacity to be entertaining as well as important and poignant. All of my picks have also been turned into films, not that I think all books should have a screen counterpart to be considered a modern classic, but I think it shows the gravity they hold. There were probably a few others I could’ve picked, but these are the most important (and my favourite!) modern classics. They are all important now and I believe they will be in many years to come.
What do you consider a modern classic? Happy reading!