90 books of the 1990s

90 books of the 1990s

Sunday at 9:00, CNN will debut

The Nineties

the latest in the Tom Hanks/Gary Goetzman/Mark Herzog pop culture decade documentaries.

It might seem odd to do a documentary on the 1990s, but most of it was more than twenty years ago. In the 1970s, did the 1950s seem like the “olden days”? Sure, that’s why Happy Days worked. In the 1950s, did they think the 1930s were old? Teenagers certainly did…and that wasn’t even a term in the 1930s. 😉

While the previous decadocumentaries (so to speak) haven’t done much with literature, and I’m expecting this one to focus even more on TV, movies, and tech, there were big books and big things (Amazon launch! World Book Day first celebrated!) happening.

Here are 90 books from the 1990s (in no particular order):

  1. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy (fourth Jack Ryan novel, made into a movie); The Sum of All Fears; Executive Orders; Rainbow Six
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (hugely successful; the sequel The Lost World also came out in the 1990s)
  4. An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne
  5. Neanderthal by John Darnton
  6. L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy (adapted in 1997)
  7. The Stand (The Complete and Uncut Edition) by Stephen King (the book originally came out in 1978, but this was a publishing event…there was even a very limited special edition); Nightmares & Dreamscapes; The Green Mile
  8. Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
  9. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  10. The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum (third in the series)
  11. The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow (Turow’s second novel)
  12. Primary Colors by Anonymous (later revealed to be Joe Klein)
  13. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (still a very popular graduation gift)
  14. Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (non-fiction by the author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about seeing endangered species)
  15. Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future by Dougal Dixon
  16. An American Life by Ronald Reagan (it was a top ten bestselling “autobiography”, although rumored to be with a lot of ghostwriting by Robert Lindsey)
  17. I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy (a non-fiction sequel to I Am Not Spock)
  18. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (a real touchstone of the 1990s, and quite controversial)
  19. Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture by Douglas Coupland (this novel popularized the term “Generation X”)
  20. The Golden Compass (AKA Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman (first of His Dark Materials)
  21. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (kicked off a successful book series, which was later adapted for TV)
  22. The Firm by John Grisham (this was the author’s breakaway hit…it was Grisham’s second book, but the first one to be a New York Times bestseller); The Pelican Brief; The Client; The Chamber; The Rainmaker; The Runaway Jury; Hackers; The Partner; The Street Lawyer
  23. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
  24. About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  25. Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (the first of the Pendergast series)
  26. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (a highly publicized sequel to Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)
  27. Heartbeat by Danielle Steel; Jewels; Mixed Blessings; Accident; The Gift; Wings; Five Days in Paris; The Ghost; The Ranch; Special Delivery; The Klone and I; The Long Road Home; Mirror
  28. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  29. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  30. The Children of Men by P.D. James
  31. Grace Notes by Bernard Maclaverty
  32. Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan; How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  33. Blindness by Josè Saramago
  34. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (AKA Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) by J.K. Rowling (1st in the series)
  35. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  36. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (first in the series)
  37. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  38. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  39. Men Are from  Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray
  40. The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré
  41. Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
  42. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (first published in the USA in the 1990s)
  43. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  44. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  45. The Boggart by Susan Cooper
  46. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  47. Star Wars books by Kevin J. Anderson (Champions of the Force, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Search, Darksaber); many other people were writing Star Wars novels, too
  48. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Gamer
  49. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  50. The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
  51. Absolute Power by David Baldacci
  52. Intensity by Dean R. Koontz; Seize the Night
  53. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  54. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  55. The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
  56. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett; Feet of Clay
  57. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  58. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  59. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  60. Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell
  61. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  62. Paradise by Toni Morrison
  63. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
  64. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  65. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
  66. The Color of Water by James McBride
  67. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Robert
  68. Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear (and others)
  69. Blood Work by Michael Connelly (first of the Terry McCaleb books)
  70. Sharpe’s Triumph by Bernard Cornwell (and others)
  71. Holes by Louis Sachar
  72. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephon Chbosky
  73. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  74. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  75. The Ant Bully by John Nickle
  76. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1st of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books)
  77. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  78. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  79. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  80. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  81. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  82. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #1)
  83. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  84. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  85. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  86. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
  87. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  88. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  89. Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) by Terry Goodkind
  90. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

That’s ninety! Well actually it’s more than that because I threw in some extras. 🙂

Quite the decade!

Do you have special memories of books published in the 1990s? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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3 Responses to “90 books of the 1990s”

  1. Phink Says:

    The most important book I’ve ever read I picked up in the 90’s. I have mentioned on here before something many of your readers probably find hard to believe. I read my first book cover to cover at 27 years old. I faked book reports in school or simply refused to do them taking a 0 if my grade could support a 0, which most times could not. To that stupid kid back then afford it meant keeping a 60 which was the lowest D possible and enough to go to the next grade. I was lazy, had no discipline, no desire to do much, and no direction. Thankfully I eventually matured.

    I say sometimes at that point is when my real education started. 75% of things I now know about history for instance I learned after I started reading.

    That book was Guns of the South and I’ll forever be grateful to Harry Turtledove. I’ve thought of writing him a few times but never have. By the way it’s also one of my favorite books I’ve ever read.


  2. Phink Says:

    The 8th best book I’ve ever read was Jurassic Park. I loved this book and a couple years ago re-read it and still love it. The first part of the book is very boring and reads like a text book explaining DNA in much more detail than I cared to learn. I’m thinking that last around 10% of the book. Then, however it takes off and is a wonderful read. It’s my 5th favorite all-time “non Potter” book and my 3rd favorite work of fiction. In other words the top 5 consist of 3 Potter books and 2 non-fictions.

    And, just in case someone is wondering what my two favorite non-Potter books are they are “Washington: A Life” by: Ron Chernow and “A Higher Call” By: Adam Makos. If I remember correctly Amazon customers rated that one either 4-5 stars something like 95 or 96% of the time and why I originally read it. Neither came from the 90’s however.

  3. The Geeky Nineties | The Measured Circle Says:

    […] 90 books of the 1990s […]

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