Millions, probably billions, of books have been published since the dawn of the printing press. Nearly all have faded into oblivion.
What do you think makes a book a classic?
I think there are two kinds of classics: literary classics and fun classics.
On the literary side, we have Macbeth, A Tale of Two Cities, Pride & Prejudice...virtually every book you've read in school.
On the fun side, we have the Little House books, Little Women, Judy Blume, and more.
I think both literary and fun classics have a timelessness to them. The issues they raise are universal. Also, as time passes, the settings become quaint and nostalgic. Think of our love for regency era romance or the pioneer era in the U.S. The literary works can be eternally admired for the authors' technical skills in writing, the symbolism the books raise, and more. The fun books aren't bogged down in complicated or dated writing. Many of these are feel good books that transport the reader into another world.
Interestingly, some books that we now consider classics were not critically received upon publication. Charles Dickens' works for example were incredibly popular, but not considered intellectual enough for literary circles.
Which books do you think will still be popular when we have grandchildren?
Definitely Harry Potter. I think that will be the greatest children's literary classic from our era. In 100 years, Hogwarts will feel just as real and contemporary as it does today.
Maybe John Green's books. The Fault in Our Stars is the only one I've read, but it was so thought provoking that I think that readers will get a lot out of it for years to come. Thirteen Reasons Why? I haven't read it yet. How about Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak? I'm not sure about that one. I consider books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Giver as classics already since they're about 20 years old.
The Hunger Games? Maybe. The Mortal Instruments series? Mmmm...probably not. Twilight? Maybe, but I lean towards not. Surprising, I know, considering that I'm one of the ultimate Twilight fans. But even for me the Twilight star has started to dim. I still love the series and will defend it against its critics, but I don't see myself reading Twilight in ten or twenty years and being as in love with it - not in the same way that I do with Harry Potter.