When a Mr A. Hitler, of One, Unter Den Linden Strasse, Berlin, was burning all of those books in his thousand year Reich, I wonder which twentieth century books he thought would survive on their merits for a thousand years in his empire? Having thought about this for 72 milliseconds, here's my top ten for those books which will survive into the glorious 'Totally Voluntary Human Society' of 3007:
Socialism (by Ludwig von Mises, the book which in 1922 predicted the inevitable collapse of communism)
Mein Kampf (by Mr A. Hitler, the book which will survive due to its suppression by democrats)
Lord of the Rings (hey, I know I should get out more, but it's a great book!)
Errrrr...... struggling ......
East of Eden (a far better book than the film ever was)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (I've read this about 50 times now, and it gets better each time)
The White Goddess (Robert Graves's book on prehistory which describes how the modern day socialist thinks with his glands)
Errrr...... really struggling ......
Conceived in Liberty (a tale of hope, by Uncle Murray, which will inspire the creation of the 'Totally Voluntary Human Society')
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (which will be hailed by the future Lunar colony for its unbelievable accuracy)
Slaughterhouse-Five (a warning from history, by Kurt Vonnegut)
Errrr...... desperately struggling ......
Harry Potter (can you beat those sales figures? - the free market never lies)
I don't think much else will make it from the twentieth century into the thirtieth century, but one or two of those in the list above may get there. I feel almost certain that "Socialism" will survive the chaotic information shredder of time, a book that, like Obi Wan Kenobi, will become more powerful with age.
So what would be your list? How have I betrayed my utter lack of education by missing out your obvious contenders? I had the horror of studying Chaucer, Browning, and Shakespeare, at school, which almost put me off for life. What books realistically do you think will still be in the canon of the well-educated human, in a thousand year's time, from the twentieth century?
My guess is, it will be a list a lot shorter than ten.