[Think Aloud] – #19 – “Dear Year 3000”

Think Aloud explores book-related discussions encompassing reading, writing, blogging, and perhaps newsworthy content. The focus is to push the boundaries, stretch the mind, and encourage dialogue within this community. Let’s all think out loud.

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Table Topic:
Dear Year 3000

Abstract:

20th century literature has marveled in timeless stories that have been enjoyed by generations. But which of those hold appeal a thousand years from now?


 Thoughts:

“Dear Year 3000,

I am so sorry for Holden Caulfield, John Green, and Fifty Shades of Gr—“

(Note: I hark on these namesakes because of their mixed appeal.)


Hah. It would be funny wouldn’t it if someone picked up a post marked letter a thousand years from now and it addresses the state of literary experimentalism a millennium back.

That’s the question of the hour: which books have staying power to propel itself into the next millennium?

Giving credence to existing Classics like Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, and 1984, there are distinguishing qualities of twentieth century  literature that hit the mark of being read by multiple generations. This is awesome and demonstrates the resilience of original stories to leave a lasting imprint of the then, now, and the future. A major concern of this Classics label, however, is the continuing redefinition of itself as generations challenge new paradigms.

This is what makes classifying any 21st century book as a Classic is a dubious affair.

There is no certainty that any one franchise will stand the test of time (including the household names authors make for themselves). We can say that this generation has benefitted from its Harry Potters and Game of Thrones to the penmanship of Murakami, King, Gaiman or even James (yes, that James). For better or worse, stories enrich and demonstrate perspective. But a decade or century down the road will birth new stories that explore alternative avenues of creativity, imagination, and dialogues suited for its particular bubble of time and interest.

This is where the socially flexible story typically wins.

Originality of ideas is well-taken (and often necessary) but when incapacitated by visibility, the story simply cannot thrive. While notoriety from scholastic marketing is a sound basis to build upon, it’s the traditional word-of-mouth strategy (and push-strategy to a lesser degree) which ultimately wins over the wallets (and minds) of many. Perhaps it’s off-putting to think that only the popular will rise—call it the mainstream if you will—but it is without doubt that this happens even now. The point isn’t always to make that sale. Nor does the book have to be necessarily read. It’s successful by remaining in the scene.

See, this discussion isn’t so much about me naming the future Classic than it is to outline the thought that if there’s a title you believe holds that timeless, well-rounded value, then you should continue screaming its name into the world. For as much value as you take away from a classic-to-be, the story equally deserves to be heard by others. It’s like a relationship where both parties build each other up—step by step—in hopes of achieving greater heights; greater visibility for one party and enrichment for the other. While it isn’t a duty to reciprocate any feelings gained from a story, your voice is a stepping stone for it to live another day.

Or you can just imagine the Earth imploding in on itself before Year 3k hits. Whichever helps you sleep better at night, I guess.

*Mic drops*


Afterthoughts:

For funsies, I encourage you to reply to this prompt with:

“Dear Year 3000,”

Then talk about the books you hope to see still doing well (e.g. is there a theme you enjoyed or a character that resonated with you?) or titles that you hope aren’t present during that time (yes, this sounds bad but you’re entitled to that opinion if you disliked a title).

Think of it like a time-capsule of sorts, where the titles you put into the comment are those you think the future ought to read or skip.

Or you can just reply however you want. I’m basically interested in what you think holds a timeless value a thousand years from now. I’m already expecting for some Harry Potter answers though…LOL.

Cheers,
Joey

connect: afterthoughtAn // twitter  |  anotherafterthought // goodreads

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Post Inspiration:

This post dials back the fun and takes a more serious undertone at the question, “what makes a Classic, classic?” It is the discussion topic in question over at the Blog Olympics.

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20 thoughts on “[Think Aloud] – #19 – “Dear Year 3000””

  1. You mean to tell me Fifty Shades SHOULDN’T be considered a CLASSIC?! LOL. No, it shouldn’t. Yes, she’s been very influential, but those books aren’t classic material. Classics, IMO, are boring books about things you can’t pay me enough money to read. hahaha. No, seriously. Snoozefest.

    I could see HP making the list. I’m not a fan, but that’s the first book that comes to my mind.

    Like

    1. If our society continues this trend of experimentalism, then yeah Fifty Shades [should] become a Classic. Or maybe Crossfire. Who knows, something BDSM-y surely. Although…now I can’t tell if you’re both down-voting 50-shades AND promoting it as an entertaining book.

      I think your definition of Classics is one that a lot of readers/non-readers identify with. I can’t say much cause I’ve read most of these “Classics” before even knowing they were coined such a term but yeah your point is well taken. That’s part of the reason why I’m like “mmm, maybe next time” regarding reading the tried-and-true Classics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Year 3000,
    Okay this isn’t going to go with the rest of the prompt lol.
    Anyways, my school book club (which is exceptionally tiny) was actually talking about this during our meetings. We all kind of failed to come to a conclusion about what defines a “classic” seeing as most of us weren’t big classics readers (I read the most out of all of them and I’ve probably read like 3.). But I do agree that what will probably become a classic is what is considered “mainstream”. However, I don’t think it’ll be just any mainstream novel but rather those that have stuck around and built a huge fanbase like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games simply because the book appealed to so many people. Although it’s hard to say how much staying power the latter has since the movies haven’t really finished. I can already see myself becoming the cranky grandma that considers all the then-modern “classics” as terrible. I’m hoping that the Twilight books don’t become classics but then again I don’t even know if that series is even relevant in pop culture anymore. I don’t think any recent mainstream novels are the best but I have a feeling that they’ll be marketed as a classic simply for the commercial value. I do know that Laurie Halse-Anderson’s Speak is already considered a modern classic by some people. But who knows if it’ll actually be considered a classic by that point in time. Most really popular classics have large overlying themes and a lot of books nowadays… don’t really have it. I can see The Fault In Our Stars becoming a classic with all of it’s flowery writing and allusions to other literature as much as I’d hate for it to become one.
    I just word vomited all that and I’m not even sure if it makes sense. I was just throwing out ideas but I’ll definitely continue to think about this topic. Great post, Joey!
    Sincerely,
    Kelly @ Dancing Through the Pages (Year 2015)

    Like

    1. Part of the mainstream factor leans on it’s resiliency to come up in conversation time-after-time. Let’s say Harry Potter for instance. Most of the core phenomena has subsided (although you could argue that most readers are still gaga over it). But with the new movie coming out? Boom, in the spotlight again. Now I won’t say that’s just because our society is a bunch of cash cows who love to milk things for its worth (although that’s probably the case) but it’s definitely one of the main contributing reasons why we could see Harry Potter a thousand years from now (so if someone is reading this in 3000, you’re welcome!)

      I think there are still satire references for Twilight in the enigmatic Internet. Can’t say much of its visibility in public though. But that begs the question of how much the physical enviornment plays in Classics-to-be if we’re inching toward digital-everything.

      I haven’t read Speak but I’ve seen the movie with Twilight extraordinaire Stewart. Content-wise from the script, I don’t know if it has that staying power to become a Classic but it’s definitely a choice among thousands of other choices. So I’ll eat my words in my grave if it happens.

      I think I’m most curious to see how well Fault will do a hundred years from now without the personality of Green backing his works. I’m not short-selling his writing as I’ve never read it but I’m interested to see how much of an implication there is if Nerdfighters etc. weren’t a thing and they were just books for books sake.

      Thanks for participating in this rant (it was coherent)!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve heard some book critics discuss the 50 Shades issue and their conclusion was that even though the book is questionable in terms of literary merit, all because of the number of readers who have read the book and the insane amount of money it made, it will be considered a classic.

    Like

  4. Dear Year 3000,

    I tend to shudder at the thought of FSoG being considered a classic. It scares me. However, if you look at some of the classic romances, the male lead characters’ behaviors toward the female counterparts were pretty despicable at the least. I’m not sure that a “hype” will build a classic, but a hype is needed, unfortunately.

    When I think of classic, I think of books with social relevance and justice as a theme, perhaps a piece of history built into the setting, possibly redemption of a character who has overcome, and maybe romance that spans long periods of time before the characters get their HEA. I can see Delicious Foods possibly becoming a classic, even though it isn’t well known. The same goes for All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and anything by Laurie Halse Anderson.

    Like

    1. Haha, there are some questionable characters representative of their times in so many past Classics that does make Fifty Shades a potential Classic (if we’re going that route). But perhaps times will change sometime from now and the year 3000 and there’ll be less questionable behaviour.

      That’s worthy praise for All The Light We Cannot See. I had myself pegged to read it when it was released (I even instabought it) but it just hasn’t happened yet–ahhhh.

      Like

  5. Wow. Really deep, I may have just been slayed by this post. Wow.

    Dear Year 3000,
    A book I hope is still roaming minds and strangling the life out of hearts (as morbid as that may sound) is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. This masterpiece cannot be encapsulated in one theme. It is a novel that, for once, doesn’t cover up pain. It doesn’t express it lightly. It doesn’t express it in a way like most books exploring depression as an aspect do. They start it off with the suffering teen, and they stop before it gets too much.

    Because they think it is too much. Stopping, and thus turning their “realistic fiction” into another half reality. It expresses the pain of the character as it really is. Loud, and sharp. Burning like fire. All consuming. It is too loud to ignore. That’s what really makes it stick. It did justice to those scouring the earth for something like it. And, yes, it had wit which softened some of the sharp edges of the blade that it was. And, it had a wonderful setting development — someone capturing the city RIGHT. And those things were thrown into a bowl—a mixture of different types of color. A mixture of different types of paint, and plaster, and music and reality…and it was thrown out onto a canvas. It was art, and art isn’t suppposed to be pretty—its supposed to make you FEEL SOMETHING. It’s supposed to make you think, and learn — and grow.

    Finally seeing that means the world to me. As cheesy and pretentious as it probably all sounds.

    “I have hated words, and I have loved them. I have hoped I have made them right.” -Markus Zusak.

    -Wesaun
    (Mosquitoland for originality and how much I can relate. Fifty Shades of Grey needs to be burned; although I wouldn’t officially condemn it. You like what you like.)

    Like

  6. Dear 3000,

    I trust people still talk of the Classics during my time? But in addition, I hope Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Winger endured, too. Though this may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, I think the teenage experience these two books encapsulate has a better shot in the grand scheme of things. But if I were to pay more attention to data now, I wouldn’t be surprised (not at all) to see the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games books up in the shelves.

    I’m do not agree that E. L. James’s Fifty Shades series deserves the popularity it got, but I DO agree that it got it. So these novels might find their way in your time. I can only hope they wouldn’t define our century.

    Cheers,
    Early 21st Century Guy

    Like

  7. This is crazy- I was actually just talking about this with The Book Dame the other day! We are of the opinion that there are few books nowadays that will be classics in the future, but I insist that the Harry Potter series will be there. SO many people love it, and it got so many people reading, I just can’t imagine it WON’T be passed down through generations of Potter-Loving parents to their children. I don’t imagine it’ll be read in schools or anything, but I’m sure it’ll survive.

    Like

    1. It’s great to hear you have the conviction to carry forward the books you have enjoyed to the next generation and so on. I think those particular stories in the HP franchise will continue to be wildly relevant for the next 50 years for sure. Even the new movie is gaining traction. But yeah it really is up to a lot of the current readers (and sellers) to maintain the shelf-life of these stories so it continues to be seen by generations to come.

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