Literature

Best Books to Read

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961): “The elegantly styled classic story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special – and ultimately dangerous – relationship with six of her students.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (1961): “In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early … Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner.”

Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker (1962): “Dorothy Baker’s entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic.

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962): “Bold and illuminating, fusing sex, politics, madness and motherhood, The Golden Notebook is at once a wry and perceptive portrait of the intellectual and moral climate of the 1950s — a society on the brink of feminism — and a powerful and revealing account of a woman searching for her own personal and political identity.”

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (1962): “An ingeniously constructed parody of detective fiction and learned commentary, Pale Fire offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures, at the center of which is a 999-line poem written by the literary genius John Shade just before his death.”

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963): “Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time.”

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (1963): “At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document.

Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (1963): “Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves ‘the Club.’ Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira’s astonishing adventures.”

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima (1963): “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea tells the tale of a band of savage thirteen-year-old boys who reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call ‘objectivity.’”

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré (1963): “With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carre brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment.

A Personal Matter by Kenzaburō Ōe (1964): “A Personal Matter is the story of Bird, a frustrated intellectual in a failing marriage whose utopian dream is shattered when his wife gives birth to a brain-damaged child.

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe (1964): “After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seashore, an amateur entomologist is offered lodging for the night at the bottom of a vast sand pit. But when he attempts to leave the next morning, he quickly discovers that the locals have other plans.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley (1965): “In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley.”

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1965): “The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge.

Stoner by John Williams (1965): “William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known.”

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966): “On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces … As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy.”

About the author

Steven

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Subscribe to our newsletters

Join our mailing list to be among those lucky ones that receive our latest stories first.