A few months ago, while attempting to pack things away for my move to my new apartment, I found an old article printed on yellowing, recycled paper, on “Cult Books.”
Quite an interesting article, it first tries to define what cult books are, then lists novels accepted my most people as being “cult books.”
After doing a little research online, I found the original article.
So what exactly is a cult book?
The article (and many other articles on the topic) tries to identify what makes a book a ‘cult’ classic. Cult books are books that shape individuals, even generations. They are books that changed and defined people’s views and lifestyles. Books can become ‘cult classics’ even if they weren’t bestsellers back in the day, though everyone has heard of them.
While browsing online search results for cult books, these titles recur most frequently:
- Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
- The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell
- Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
- The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
- The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
- The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
- Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
- The Stranger – Albert Camus
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach and Russell Munson
And so on…
I’m guessing that list gave a clearer idea of what cult books are, as I’m sure many have read those books and can even come up with a list of their own favorites.
This got me thinking about new cult books in the making – books that are defining the new generation. The Harry Potter series, perhaps, or Eat, Pray, Love or god forbid, Twilight?
What books do you think will eventually become a cult classic (if not already)?