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Another book list: 60 years of books

I know. I’m to the point of addiction with these things. And you’d think I’d know better, particularly when the list comes from England, counts Twilight as the best book of 2005 and has already selected a best book of 2009.

That said, here’s the best 60 books of the past 60 years, at least according to The Times. This time, books I’ve read are in bold while those I started but never finished are underlined. Plainly, the books from the mid to late 1970s are in my wheelhouse.

1949 — Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

1950 — The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

1951 — The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

1952 — Pigs Have Wings, P. G. Wodehouse

1953 — Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

1954 — Lord of the Flies, William Golding

1955 — Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

1956 — The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Dodie Smith

1957 — Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

1958 — Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene

1959 — The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa

1960 — To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (I suppose one of these days I just better read this book!)

1961 — Catch 22, Joseph Heller

1962 — The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

1963 — The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

1964 — Funeral in Berlin, Len Deighton

1965 — Dune, Frank Herbert

1966 — Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

1967 — Towards the End of the Morning, Michael Frayn

1968 — 2001, Arthur C. Clarke

1969 — The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles

1970 — Play it as it Lays, Joan Didion

1971 — Americana, Don DeLillo

1972 — Watership Down, Richard Adams

1973 — Crash, J. G. Ballard

1974 — Fear of Flying, Erica Jong

1975 — Salem’s Lot, Stephen King

1976 — Even Cowgirls get the Blues, Tom Robbins

1977 — A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick

1978 — The World According to Garp, John Irving

1979 — Smiley’s People, John le Carré

1980 — Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess

1981 — Lanark, Alasdair Gray

1982 — The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende

1983 — Waterland, Graham Swift

1984 — Money, Martin Amis

1985 — Love in The Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1986 — Tourist Season, Carl Hiaasen

1987 — More Die of Heartbreak, Saul Bellow

1988 — Mother London, Michael Moorcock

1989 — Sexing the Cherry, Jeannette Winterson

1990 — Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard

1991 — The Famished Road, Ben Okri

1992 — The Secret History, Donna Tartt

1993 — Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh

1994 — How Late it Was, How Late, James Kelman

1995 — Northern Lights, Philip Pullman

1996 — Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt

1997 — Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

1998 — The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami

1999 — Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee

2000 — The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

2001 — The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen

2002 — Atonement, Ian McEwan

2003 — The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

2004 — The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst

2005 — Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

2006 — The Road, Cormac McCarthy

2007 — A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

2008 — Netherland, Joseph O’Neill

2009 — The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters


I would sooner read a time-table or a catalogue than nothing at all

W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up

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