I thank both diogenes and ArnikaMarie for the answers, and for RGraf for asking the question. I've wondered the same thing myself. I love to read, omnivorously, but don't really have the critical facilities to determine. I re-read Dickens' "Great Expectations" as comfort fiction when I'm feeling down, just because I love that story. Also, one of my perennial favorites, is Dostoevsky's "The Idiot". And "The Brothers Karamazov", of course.
John Gardner wrote a book, "The Wreckage of Agathon"; also, "Grendel". and those works have disappeared from the public purview, though I thought they were classics at the time I read them. John Gardner became passe. New writers were born and found a market...
I'm not talking about bestsellers whose works are written as pure entertainment, a movie of the mind you can carry about with you when you visit the dentist or sit on a plane; I'm talking about writers of literature.
It seems that they, too, have flesh of grass.