November 19, 2009

Posterity



This week's Booking Through Thursday question is asking what authors you think will stand the test of time and what books you think will still be read in a hundred years.

To last that long, a book really needs to be timeless. One interesting thing I've noticed is that while not wildly popular, poetry seems to have good staying power. I think some Seamus Heaney is sure to last.


Nonfiction is harder, especially science. It changes so quickly that unless it's on a big subject or extremely well-written, little of it lasts. Luckily for us, Richard Dawkins tackles one of the biggest and best subjects ever with evolutionary biology and writes in a clear and compelling way. The Selfish Gene has already lasted
over thirty years and shows no signs of slowing down. With poetic description, dazzling arguments, and an inspiring passion for the subject, I think his biology books will definitely stand the test of time.

Fiction is a bit easier. I have two authors I'm sure will be read for awhile. One American and one English. They both build on the style and tropes of their countrymen, but push the envelope even further.

Cormac McCarthy is a master and I would argue that Blood Meridian is the great (yet dark and terrifying) American novel.



Philip Pullman has carved out his place with one of the great fantasy series of all time. The His Dark Materials stories are staggering in scope, imagination, and emotional impact and Lyra Belacqua is definitely a heroine for the ages.

2 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

I agree about timeless writing!

Booking through Posterity

Ted said...

Cormac McCarthy. A great writer to be sure. You may well be right and it would be be a testament to readers if it turns out to be so!