I'm often struck by the opening sentence of a novel or short story. It can draw me in and set expectations for what's to come. This isn't always true, of course, but a story's first line is the author's opening salvo.
Will 21st century authors produce any classics? As the number of books of fiction produced each year approaches staggering numbers, classics bookshelves must find themselves frustrated in their search for the needle in the proverbial haystack.
Great literature, because it asks big questions and communicates big ideas, stays relevant, even if it is very old. You will be richer, wiser, and smarter if you make classic literature a regular part of your life.