Fiction #1s of the 1960s

Fiction #1s of the 1960s

I’m finding CNN’s 1960s series interesting…although I’m betting they don’t do one on books of the 1960s. 😉

So, I thought I’d do a post on that.

Now, covering all the important books of the 1960s would be too wordy…even for me. 😉

After all, that was the start of the New Wave of science fiction. It was the blossoming of Marvel Comics. It was To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Portnoy’s Complaint, Catch 22, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Bell Jar, and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, just to name a few.

In order to put a focus on it, I decided to look at the New York Times #1 fiction bestsellers for the 1960s…which I could do at the

Hawes Publications site

I was also interested in how many of them are available in the USA Kindle store, so I’ll note that as well.











There you go!

Well, I’m quite pleased to say that none of the available books had text-to-speech access blocked!

I’m also pleased with how many of the books are available. The prices, by the way, probably run around eight to eleven dollars…more than they were in paperback back then…hm, I’m guessing that’s not terribly out of line with a hardback then, although it may be higher than they were.

I would also say I’ve at heard of most of them, and read some. 🙂

How about you? Any other 1960s favorites you care to share with me and my readers? How many of these have you read? Feel free to comment on this post to answer.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


11 Responses to “Fiction #1s of the 1960s”

  1. Connie Abbitt Says:

    I graduated from high school in 1963 and was pretty busy for a long time. Yet I somehow managed to read almost all of these! I’m very surprised. Thanks, I enjoyed this.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Connie!

      Great! I’m glad you liked it. I don’t always read books when they are released, so I suspect that I’ve read more books that were released before I was an adult than after…

      • Connie Abbitt Says:

        Hi, Bufo,
        I never thanked you for telling us about amazon smile. I’ve been using it for awhile now.

  2. Carolyn perreau Says:

    do I need to specify with each book the amazon smile or once I pick a charity is it good til I change it?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Carolyn!

      It’s good until you change it. I’m glad you are looking at using your shopping to help others! You’ll find it’s quite easy.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I’ve read 8 of the books you have listed. There’s a nice list of “best” books of the 60’s at Goodreads.

    Out of that list, I’ve read 50, and many of those are my favorite books ever. My top 10 out of that list, in no particular order and for no particular reason are:

    “Up the Down Staircase”
    “Catch 22”
    “Flowers for Algernon”
    “Cat’s Cradle”
    “The Incredible Journey”
    “James and the Giant Peach”
    “Stranger in a Strange Land”
    “To Kill a Mockingbird”
    “The Feminine Mystique.”
    “Silent Spring”

    But then that means I left out “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Where the Wild Things Are” and…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      It shows us that “best selling” and “best” aren’t always the same. 😉

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of lists like these. That said with one or two exceptions all the titles are familiar to me. What’s interesting to me is that I read everything on the list from 1960-63; one from 64; one from 65, and then nothing else! (:grin). I was in college and graduate school from 1963-1970 — so presumably I was reading syllabus-mandated titles??? Not!!! I think as a blasé college student I had moved beyond the mundane tastes as arbitrated by best seller lists (:grin).

    Missing? The only thing that comes to mind is “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

    I wonder what a “best” 1960’s list might be like if put together today (with current sensibilities in mind) — to me the 1960’s (especially the early years) seems like another universe when viewed from today’s perspectives — it was the acme of US post-war influence and prestige. In retrospect it seems like we were optimistic, happy, and so very very naïve.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Well, this one is not a subjective list…it’s objectively based on books that got to the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller fiction list. I did check: it does look like Hawaii was number one for the entire year! At least, it was in January and in December.

      I tweeted out to CNN for them to name me a decade which DIDN’T change the world. 😉 I ran in my head through all of the 20th Century ones, and I could name world changing events for all of them…

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Well, I’ll rise to the challenge of finding some “quiescent” 20th century decades :grin. Upon reflection that wasn’t the sixties — even in the early years we had the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, and (for an expatriate school kid in Europe) OAS terrorists.

        However, I’ll put forward some relatively quiet US decades: 1900-1909; 1920-1929 (it’s hard to deal with fixed decades — the crash happened in 1929, but most of the impact was in the 30’s); much of the fifties seem in remembrance (although I was but a child) to have been benign. Also both the 80’s and 90’s seem largely untroubled (I don’t count the Clinton impeachment as particularly important).

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Interesting! My sense here is that you may be equating “changed the world” with “troubles”. That’s not how it flows in my mind (not surprising for such an optimist), although of course, conflict does change things significantly.

        I tend to think of pop culture, science, and technology as being big factors.

        From 1900 to 1909:

        * The rise of the internal combustion automobile (not invented in this decade, but popularized during it), particularly the Model T
        * The Wright Brothers flight (and subsequent heavier than air vehicles)
        * The Great Train Robbery, and the development of real narratives and complex stories for movies
        * The great increase in the use of home phonographs, particularly with the Victrola
        * Amateur photography really grows with the Brownie
        * The Oz series…I still see so much innovation here in the creation of a world and a series of books, and how super popular they were
        * If you do want to look at conflicts, you can’t omit the Russo-Japanese War, and how it changed Japan’s image in the world. You did specify US decades…but I hadn’t limited it to that 😉

        1920 to 1929

        * I think you do have to count the stock market crash as changing the world in the 1920s…we see the impact of that change in the 1930s, but it happens in the 1920s
        * Talkie movies!
        * The Jazz Age
        * The “Roaring Twenties” with all their odd fads…including crossword puzzles
        * Great literature, including Winnie-the-Pooh, Siddhartha, and The Prophet (all still having an impact today)
        * Science fiction really grows internationally, with Metropolis and R.U.R. being two stand-outs (especially for robots)

        1950 – 1959

        * A real explosion of youth culture (although we’d had a different version in the 1920s): rock and roll, comic books, drive-in movies…television really became popular during the 1950s as well (although it was around commercially in the late 1940s)
        * Marilyn Monroe, James Dean…
        * Sputnik!

        1980 – 1989

        * Home computers
        * Videogames
        * The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future…and other movies without “Back” in the title 😉
        * So much music! New Wave, Hip Hop…”it’s still rock and roll to me”

        I think I’ll stop there…I could do this all day. 😉 I suspect here that we are just approaching it from different angles. When CNN called The Sixties the “decade that changed the world”, I just found that a somewhat meaningless designation. 🙂

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