Sunday, January 5, 2014
Will Your Book Be Read In 2114?
Which books will be read a hundred years from now? Authors always hope to write a book that is a best-seller, that wins awards, that significantly changes the lives of many people. They want their words to bring them fortune and fame, and for their books to live beyond the life of the author. But few books of today or of the past shall be read in the future.
Most books are not timeless. The thing that makes many books significant is that they appeal to the times they were written in. The books find a way, through language, mores, politics, reference points, and the reigning beliefs of the day, to strike a nerve in the psyche of the public. That feeling can’t last forever in a world that changes swiftly and often.
A book about coffee is not as significant as one about major inventions, such as rocket ships. Something is new only once, and then its success produces superior clones and the spawning of entirely new things. One invention or historical event or thought replaces another. What was amazing last century is not at all interesting today.
The books that cut to human nature and explore values, emotions, and powerful concepts, such as love, freedom, death, and family will have a chance at lasting longer than most books.
Sci-fi books capture our attention until reality exceeds or fulfills the book’s promises. Other books go out of style, such as certain cookbooks. Same with health books, as science creates new treatments or presents new information that makes old books outdated.
Some books give us glimpses into parts of history that are not so well documented otherwise. Others may still entertain us, but not inform, challenge, or rattle us the way they were meant to. We look at older books, and evaluate past ideas to see if any hold currency in our lives today. Everything goes out of style – even being human.
One day, the world will be changed dramatically by some major event -- an asteroid, revolutionary invention, an alien landing, a war, a natural disaster, or disease – and our perspective on life will be irrevocably changed that the books published previous to the event will seem so foreign to us, much the way an adult looks back at how he or she may have seen the world when they were six years old.
No one knows what will have staying power, or what will be tossed with tomorrow’s newspaper, so keep writing whatever you feel is important, interesting, or commercially viable. Still, you can’t help but have an eye on the future and wonder if anything you just created will mean a damn thing to the next generation.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.