Modern Classics

We are forced to read classics in school, from Sophocles to Vonnegut, from Homer to Salinger. They can be exciting, they can tell wonderful stories about the past, fact or fiction. They can be meaningful, making points true to the times. But why do we want to read books written in the past about the past, when the future is so thrilling, so bright, so mysterious? Things happened before the 21st Century, but lets leave that for the history classes. Times have changed and civilization is not the same as it was ten years ago. New technologies, such as smartphones and tablets have emerged. Art has been modernized, films and plays have been created, and different genres of music has emerged. There are books being written every day, holding brand new concepts, ideologies and stories within the pages. One day, these books might be known as classics, defining books of the times. But for now, they are contemporary, and they teach us about what’s happening in the world around us. The world has drastically changed from Homer’s time, and Fitzgerald’s too. Infrastructures have been built, economies have grown and fallen, wars have been fought, and new entities have been created. Societies standards have changed drastically; same sex marriage is legal, there is no more slavery, and woman are respected more. This seems like a better and more advanced time and place. Obviously there is still room for growth, but growth has occurred since the time of the classics. Why would we want to look back on a time that African Americans were owned by white men, when we can experience the world around us and appreciate what we have today? Why wouldn’t we want to see new and more relatable characters facing life in the 21st Century? Why would we want to be closed to the changing world around us and just read Brontë and Lee? Why can’t we explore the present as well as the past? Who knows, there might be a modern book sitting in a bookstore, waiting for it’s genius to be celebrated. Maybe one day that book will become a classic, and be read in schools everywhere; but for now it’s just a book. A book that glorifies life in the present. We just have to open our eyes, move past the former revered novels, and pick up something original, something that we have never seen before.

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