80 books of the Eighties

80 books of the Eighties

CNN’s documentary series The Eighties

The Eighties

starts tonight, and I’m working on a big post on another blog of mine, The Measured Circle, about all kinds of geek-friendly content in that decade (and it was quite a decade!). I probably won’t get that done by tonight, but the series will run for some time. I’m hoping to get another post done that will take a lot less time for TMC, but I wanted to do something here as well. 🙂

That said, here are eighty books (in no particular order) from the 1980s!

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  5. Watchmen by Alan Moore (graphic novel)
  6. It by Stephen King
  7. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  8. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
  9. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  10. Maus by Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)
  11. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  12. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  13. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  14. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  15. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  16. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  17. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
  18. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
  19. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
  20. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
  21. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
  22. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  23. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  24. The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett
  25. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
  26. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInierney
  27. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
  28. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
  29. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (Bourne #1)
  30. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
  31. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  32. The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
  33. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  34. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
  35. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
  36. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  37. Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
  38. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  39. Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
  40. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  41. 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clare
  42. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (graphic novel)
  43. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  44. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
  45. The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark
  46. Schindler’s List by Thomas Kenneally
  47. A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (Inspector Lynley #1)
  48. Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
  49. Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
  50. Sphere by Michael Crichton
  51. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
  52. The Postman by David Brin
  53. The Cat Who Walks  Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein
  54. Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov
  55. Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent
  56. And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts
  57. Dawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (The Belgariad #1)
  58. The Snow Queen by Joan D.  Vinge
  59. City of Glass by Paul Auster
  60. Superfudge by Judy Blue
  61. …And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
  62. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis (Dragonlance Chronicles #1)
  63. Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake
  64. Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz
  65. Continental Drift by Russell Banks
  66. The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
  67. Proof by Dick Francis
  68. Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale
  69. Noises Off by Michael Frayn
  70. Watchers by Dean Koontz
  71. Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy
  72. Growing Up by Russell Baker
  73. When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware #1)
  74. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  75. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  76. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
  77. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
  78. Sarum by Edward Rutherford
  79. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
  80. North and South by John Jakes

I think I probably personally sold every one of those as the manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore. 🙂 I’ve heard of all of them, and read many of them.

How about you? How many of them have you read? Any of these that are complete strangers to you? 😉 What other books from the 1980s do you especially remember and/or would recommend? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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.


4 Responses to “80 books of the Eighties”

  1. Zebras Says:


    I’ve read 7 and never heard of about 21 of them. I think I’ve seen about 14 of them in some kind of movie or TV form over the years.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Interesting that you’ve seen twice as many adaptations as you’ve read the original sources. I suspect that your read to watch ratio may be considerably higher than most people. I’m sure that there having been a movie or TV show influences my choices. I like to think that movies and TV shows can lead people to read the books…I’m sure I’ve read a book because I knew a movie or TV show was in development.

  2. Phink Says:

    I read Lonesome Dove in 2014. I read westerns every once in a while and most times I get reminded of why I don’t read them. Some are good but most I don’t care a whole lot for. However, Lonesome Dove was an incredible book. I rated it 9.28 out of 10 and anything over a 9 under my rules is an excellent book and one of the best of all-time in my literary world. I use 5 to 6 categories and average them for my rating and it’s all 100% how much I enjoyed it. It can be expertly written and still get a low grade from me.

    Another caught my eye. I saw Noises Off at our non profit dinner theater in Pocahontas, AR a few years ago. It was an excellent play. I loved it. I never knew it was also a book. I’ll probably add that to my wish list once I read the synopsis.

    If Noises Off is ever being performed near you consider going to see it. I’m sure it would have rated 9+ if I rated plays LOL.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I’ve read some good Westerns, but there is a tendency in any strongly defined genre that works can be written and chosen for publication with some…less exacting requirements for publication.

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