Books That Defined The Modern Classics

The term modern classic is conflicting in itself. My understanding of the “Modern Classic ” is the book that is neither a modern, nor a classic and at the same time is both the modern and the classic. It is somewhere in middle of everything . For me the book that defined the “Modern Classic” is On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

On the road
Nothing says “Modern Classic “like “On the Road “

This book had both worlds. A scenic background of conflicting 60s , but the characters and their views that you can instantly relate with. If you have not read the book but have seen the Kristen Stewart starer movie based on the book, with the same tittle, then you may not buy my word instantly. I am not going to argue that the book is better than the movie because that is always true. I think that the movie didn’t stand anywhere near the league of the book and reading the book will change your opinion.

Also in the Series :

Speakeasy- Jazz Age Part II

The Jazz Age

On the road movie poster
Movie failed the book. The star cast of promising and art-direction was reasonable- I always see this movie as a lost opportunity

Another book that made Modern Classics as its own is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I talk about this book a lot, so before you give that expression of not again, I want to assure you that even the second read of this book is equally timeless and joyous experience as the first time. ( You can read my musing on the book on this link 🙂

The book cover
Timeless and one of the best ambassador of the term Modern Classic is Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Though Modern Classics is the series initiated by Penguin publishing and commercially it may mean only the books published by Penguin only but my consideration is wider than that. ( I have also heard some criticism by readers that Penguin has launched this series to hike the prices of the books that should have been cheaper or even available for free because of their age. As long as Penguin keep printing them in wonderful covers, I am okay with them making some money off it). Ayn Rand released her 1943 classic with The Fountainhead and still I find 20 year olds calling Howard Roark as their hero. The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger and Anne Frank’s Dairy of the young girl  were other other two non-penguin published books that fits the bill of being modern classics and there were also the books like “To Kill A Mocking bird ” by Harper Lee that created the league of it’s own.

Catch 22 cover
Catch-22 is a cult book. The catch-22 also entered English dictionaries after the success of the book


To kill a mocking bird
There is no reading club, library or anything literary thing that can be complete without this book

There were also other great writers that were challenging the entire notion of literature of their respective era. George Orwell’s Animal Farm changed the way satire worked & Catch 22 by Joseph Heller gave new perceptive to the war fictions.

Book cover of Animal Farm

From the sub-continent flavor, R. K Narayan made international strides with The Guide and the house of Mister Bishwas did the same for V.S Naipaul in early 60s.

I will love to hear your favorite modern classic books.


The Modern Classics Series

This is my latest Blog series where I want to discuss the influence and the love of the Modern classics in art, popular culture and mainly literature.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. a p a r n a says:

    Good collection there! 🙂


    1. Thank you Aparna 🙂


  2. pins & ashes says:

    Catch 22 is a treat.. Not a big fan of the mocking bird even though I like atticus finch.. Catcher in the rye is one of my all time go to books 🙂


    1. Thank you for your comment. Catcher in the Rye is such a fantastic book. I have not read any other book with similar qualities. Also i feel pity for those people who have not read Catch 22. That book evolved to the war fictions

      Liked by 1 person

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