As part of my low-key Mother’s Day celebration–which involves a great deal of sitting around reading–I clicked on to the Goodreads site to update my book lists. Thanks to the extra time this weekend, I’ve managed to finish a couple of books and start another one. But housekeeping tasks aside, the best books ever list caught my eye as I clicked my way through a search for my most recent read.
Tops on the Best Books Ever List? To Kill A Mockingbird, followed up by Pride and Prejudice. Having watched To Kill A Mockingbird work its magic over high schoolers year in and year out, I can’t argue with it’s placement in the least. Students continually told me they’d never read a book that gripped them as strongly or changed their thinking as much. And, I’d certainly never question Pride and Prejudice‘s ranking. If I did, my friends–rabid Jane Austen, or is that Mr. Darcy, fans–might never speak to me again.
But I have to question book number three–the one that outranks number four The Book of Mormon and number seven The King James Bible–yes, it’s Twilight. Because who wouldn’t want to read about sparkly vampires and well-built werewolves? I’m the first to admit I did thoroughly enjoy the guilty pleasure that came with powering through the Twilight series (the other three books make the list as well, though further down). But great literature this is not.
I continually find it interesting how perceptions change as time passes. What is vastly popular, or even vastly unpopular–today may be remembered entirely differently in the future. Listening to the radio recently, my kids wondered aloud about what music from today would still be playing when they became parents. I disagreed with them about Miley Cyrus (Debbie Gibson, anyone?) but willingly agreed to their Green Day and Nickelback suggestions.
So, To Kill A Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice clearly meet the “test of time” criteria for greatness. To that list I’d like to add the more recent The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns, and A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving.
What makes your modern classics list?